No-Cook Side Dishes For Summer Barbecues And Weeknight Dinners

As outdoor temperatures rise and rise, the last thing you want to do is spend an afternoon indoors melting in the kitchen. That's why our favorite grilling recipes exist, after all. But then, there's the matter of side dishes. Sure, you can grill some veggies and call it a day, but if you want something to balance out your burgers, grilled chicken and grilled salmon, then no-cook side dishes should be a staple of your go-to summer menu.

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Whether you're just whipping up an easy weeknight dinner or heading to a barbecue at a friend's house or park, these no-cook summer side dish recipes taste fantastic and will keep your kitchen cool.

Pineapple, Walnut and Carrot Salad

If you grilled some pineapple the night before and aren't sure what to do with it (beyond serving it with some leftover ham), turn that sweet, syrupy fruit into this refreshing, crunchy salad. If you don't have grilled pineapple, canned pineapple chunks will work just fine.

For the Pineapple, Walnut and Carrot Salad recipe, click here.

Caprese Skewers With Pesto

One of the best foods to pack for a picnic, these easy caprese skewers are a fresh and easily snackable side for any outdoor gathering.

For the Caprese Skewers With Pesto recipe, click here.

Creamy Garlic Salad

Sometimes, all you want is a simple side salad, and this one is basic without being basic. A super garlicky homemade dressing takes this romaine, cucumber and mushroom salad to another level. This salad pairs well with any grilled meat, but we like it best with a perfectly grilled steak.

For the Creamy Garlic Salad recipe, click here.

Fresh Guacamole

One of our all-time favorite dips, guacamole is a summertime must. Whether you serve it with tortilla chips as a side or appetizer or choose to put a couple of spoonfuls on your grilled fish tacos, you can't go wrong with this fresh guac recipe.

For the Fresh Guacamole recipe, click here.

Baby Kale and Goat Cheese Salad

Creamy, tangy and salty, goat cheese makes any salad better, including this simple kale salad. Top with a homemade vinaigrette of your choosing, serve with grilled fish or chicken and enjoy.

For the Baby Kale and Goat Cheese Salad recipe, click here.

Creamy Tricolor Slaw

Hear us out – mayonnaise-based sides, like this creamy cabbage and carrot coleslaw, are technically among the worst foods to bring to a cookout. After all, sun and mayo do not mix. But if your barbecue is at a friend's house or you're cooking at home, this classic dish is worth serving – as long as you keep it indoors.

For the Creamy Tricolor Slaw recipe, click here.

Shrimp Cocktail Salad

Shrimp cocktail is one of those retro recipes that never goes out of style. In this twist on a classic, shrimp is served with avocado and lime in tall glasses for a party-ready appetizer or side. Although this recipe calls for you to cook shrimp, you can very easily use precooked shrimp.

For the Shrimp Cocktail Salad recipe, click here.

Brussels Sprout Salad With Pear and Pomegranate

Though they're best known for being roasted, Brussels sprouts are a really good base for a salad. These tiny cabbages have a crunchy, slightly waxy texture that's surprisingly satisfying. Shred those sprouts, toss them with some pear and pomegranate, and you'll be good to go.

For the Brussels Sprout Salad With Pear and Pomegranate recipe, click here.

Creamed Cucumbers

Cucumbers are plentiful in summer gardens, so it can be hard to know what to do with them all. This simple, old-fashioned side of creamed cucumbers is the perfect remedy.

For the Creamed Cucumbers recipe, click here.

Cucumber Salad

If you're not a fan of creamed cucumbers, this simple cucumber salad uses a vinegar-based dressing, making it an ideal side dish to bring to outdoor barbecues held.

For the Cucumber Salad recipe, click here.

Easy Watermelon Salsa

If you've picked out the perfect watermelon, eat a few slices as-is, but be sure to save some for this refreshing and light watermelon and jicama salsa — pair with something substantial, like ribs for a balanced meal.

For the Easy Watermelon Salsa recipe, click here.

Easy Kimchi Slaw

If you don't have weeks to make properly pickled kimchi, this quick kimchi slaw, coated in plenty of gochujang, will make a satisfying side for your burgers. Heck, you may even find yourself topping your patties with it.

For the Easy Kimchi Slaw recipe, click here.

Spinach Salad With Tangerine-Rosemary Vinaigrette

This simple spinach salad with a homemade vinaigrette and plenty of tangerines is a great side dish for any meal but can also work as a base for grilled chicken or shrimp.

For the Spinach Salad With Tangerine-Rosemary Vinaigrette recipe, click here.

Easy Homemade Hummus

A charred chicken gyro is one of the easiest things to make on the grill, and what goes better with gyros than hummus? Honestly, what doesn't go well with hummus? With some fresh veggies or pitas, this no-cook dip pairs with any dinner.

For the Easy Homemade Hummus recipe, click here.

Marinated Tomato Basil Salad

If your cherry tomato plant exploded this summer with tons of fresh fruit (yes, tomatoes are a fruit!), then let them shine in this easy tomato salad, which uses three cups of tomatoes.

For the Marinated Tomato Basil Salad recipe, click here.

Piri Piri Cheese Cubes With Kalamatas and Toasted Pistachios

One of the best recipes for cheese lovers, these spicy cheese cubes are mixed with olives and pistachios for an explosion of saltiness. Replace your tired ol' bowl of chips with this endlessly munchable snack.

For the Piri Piri Cheese Cubes With Kalamatas and Toasted Pistachios recipe, click here.

Summer Zucchini Salad

If you find yourself with tons of zucchini but are sick of tossing it on the grill as a vegetarian grilling option, then use the light summer squash for this bright salad instead.

For the Summer Zucchini Salad recipe, click here.

Very Vanilla Fruit Salad

After eating a big plate of ribs or barbecued chicken (that isn't boring), a light, refreshing scoop of something is just what you need. This fruit salad, which has a hint of vanilla for a surprising element, is the best balance to those hefty, saucy foods.

For the Very Vanilla Fruit Salad recipe, click here.

Pineapple Avocado Salsa

One of the best salsas or dips for summer, this pineapple avocado salsa has just four ingredients. You can scoop it up with chips, but it also pairs wonderfully with similarly light entrees, like grilled fish or chicken.

For the Pineapple Avocado Salsa recipe, click here.

Fresh Tomato and Cucumber Salad

Cucumber, tomatoes and carrots are crunchy, colorful vegetables, but they're not exactly known for being packed with flavor. This salad remedies that issue with a vibrant dressing made of lime, honey and red onion.

For the Fresh Tomato and Cucumber Salad recipe, click here.

Lemongrass and Peanut Slaw

Inspired by some of our favorite Thai recipes, this coleslaw features a dressing made of rice vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil and lemongrass puree. The cabbage is certifiably crisp, but peanuts and chow mein noodles add extra crunch.

For the Lemongrass and Peanut Slaw recipe, click here.

The Best Coleslaw Ever

Bursts of umami come through in this coleslaw, thanks to soy sauce, sesame oil and peanut butter. This side is a great go-to that you can serve alongside summertime classics like hot dogs, burgers and bratwurst.

For The Best Coleslaw Ever recipe, click here.

Watermelon and Cucumber Salad

Watermelon, cucumber and mint honestly may be some of the most refreshing ingredients on Earth, and this salad just so happens to use all three of them along with briny feta. Serve beside spicy summer dishes to balance out the heat.

For the Watermelon and Cucumber Salad recipe, click here.

Spicy Conch Salad

One of the best recipes for seafood lovers, this spicy salad uses the very underrated shellfish conch as its base. The kick comes from chopped red Thai chiles and sriracha sauce.

For the Spicy Conch Salad recipe, click here.


Gazpacho is a bright refreshing Spanish soup perfect for fans of tomatoes. Serve with grilled bread as a great starter, and you'll understand why this is one of the best cold recipes for hot summer days.

For the Gazpacho recipe, click here.

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