As the temperature dials up and we head into summer, it’s only natural to begin craving anything and everything that feels refreshing: a chilled glass of rosé, a crisp bite of watermelon, a bright herb, tomato, and sweet corn salad. Sure, decadent foods are always welcome no matter the season, but summer calls for all things cool, crunchy, and fresh. A healthy side dish, such as grilled artichokes or broccoli slaw, is often the perfect foil to summer’s richer main dishes like seared steak, barbecued chicken, and juicy burgers. The bounty of available summer ingredients gives ample opportunities for experimenting with all sorts of healthy salads and side dish ideas. Some of these recipes may even steal the spotlight from the main dishes at your next cookout.
We’ve rounded up some of our very best healthy side dish recipes, to provide inspiration whether you’re wandering through the farmers market or air-conditioned grocery store aisles this summer. As you plan your meals for the week ahead, as well as any barbecues and parties on the horizon, keep in mind these 20 healthy side dishes, whose fresh flavors are the epitome of summer.