Healthy Summer Side Dishes Gallery

Healthy Summer Side Dishes

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. Read on for 20 healthy side dishes whose fresh flavors are the epitome of summer.

Avocado Sage Cornbread

Substituting mashed avocado for oil in this recipe retains moisture but reduces unhealthy fat content. Many cornbread recipes call for vegetable oils, such as canola and sunflower, which contain high levels of omega-6 fatty acids, which are pro-inflammatory (unlike omega-3 fatty acids, which are anti-inflammatory). In addition to being full of healthy fat, avocados are a great source of vitamins E, C, K, magnesium and potassium.

For the Avocado Sage Cornbread recipe, click here.

Broccoli Slaw Waldorf Salad

Add shredded broccoli to ramp up the nutritional value and fiber content of a classic Waldorf salad. This recipe calls for half of the usual amount of mayo and uses Greek yogurt in place of it, adding protein and calcium to the salad.

For the Broccoli Slaw Waldorf Salad recipe, click here.

Cauliflower Slaw

Who knew prunes would be making an appearance at your barbecue? This healthy version of slaw is chock-full of fiber and vitamins K and C. Did you know that one serving of cauliflower contains 77 percent of your daily vitamin C needs? Just another reason to indulge in seconds!

For the Cauliflower Slaw recipe, click here.

Chickpea Cilantro Dip

If you are looking for something to go along with your grilled chicken but are over salads, try this twist on classic hummus. This dip, served with cut-up veggies, makes a simple, healthy side dish.

For the Chickpea Cilantro Dip recipe, click here.

Chickpea, Avocado, and Pea Shoot Salad With Orange Dill Dressing

This salad has enough substance that it would make a great main as well as a side dish. If you can't find pea shoots, try swapping in watercress. Surprisingly, watercress contains protein, with nearly 1 gram per cup! Pea shoots are a good source of beta carotene, vitamin C, folate, and fiber.

For the Chickpea, Avocado, and Pea Shoot Salad With Orange Dill Dressing recipe, click here.

Diabetic-Friendly Baked Beans

Here's a healthy way to enjoy a classic summer side dish. These beans are sweetened with a combination of stevia, maple syrup, molasses, and orange juice, and pack a hearty punch of fiber, which helps keep blood sugar from spiking.

For the Diabetic-Friendly Baked Beans recipe, click here.

Eggplant and Tomato Salad With Tahini-Yoghurt Dressing

The tahini and yogurt dressing on this salad is so addictive, it just might eclipse the main dish on your plate. Although it's available year-round, eggplant is at its peak from July to October.

For the Eggplant and Tomato Salad With Tahini-Yoghurt Dressing recipe, click here.

Grilled Artichokes

Grilled artichokes are delicious enough to be the star of any barbecue, but they also make a great accompaniment to grilled lamb and steak. These artichokes are lightly steamed first, which creates a tender texture. They are finished on the grill, which gives them a flavor that is the perfect complement to the lemon butter sauce (which you can serve on the side, if you want to curb the richness).

For the Grilled Artichokes recipe, click here.

Grilled Corn on the Cob

When you think of classic summer side dishes, corn is the first thing that comes to most people's minds. Here's a foolproof recipe for grilled corn that you'll come back to all summer long.

For the Grilled Corn on the Cob recipe, click here.

Grilled Cornbread Panzanella With Avocado

Grilled cornbread might not sound healthy at first, but with the right proportions, it can be! When used as a garnish, it imparts a lovely crunch to the tomatoes, onions, and basil in this salad.

For the Grilled Cornbread Panzanella With Avocado recipe, click here.

Grilled Eggplant With Feta and Cucumber

Eggplant, also known as aubergine, contains important phytonutrients, which can help prevent disease. When grilled, the center becomes sweet and tender, and the crispy edges mix perfectly with cool cucumber and feta cheese.

For the Grilled Eggplant With Feta and Cucumber recipe, click here.

Mango, Avocado, and Black Bean Salad

What could be more summery than mango and avocado? Black beans add protein, and the lime- jalapeño dressing pulls it all together.

For the Mango, Avocado, and Black Bean Salad recipe, click here.

Peanut Butter Veggie Pasta Salad

No summer cookout would be complete without a pasta salad. This version mixes chopped broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots with whole wheat pasta, and a dash of peanut butter adds flavor while increasing the protein content.

For the Peanut Butter Veggie Pasta Salad recipe, click here.

Red Wine-Soaked Portobello Mushrooms

Big, juicy portobello mushrooms are a perfect main dish on their own, but also complement spicy grilled chicken or seared steak. Red wine, lemon juice, and Worcestershire sauce add bold flavor while keeping the mushrooms healthy.

For the Red Wine-Soaked Portobello Mushrooms recipe, click here.

Spicy Kale and Lemon Israeli Couscous

Couscous salads are great for summer cookouts: They are sturdy and stand up to long hours spent outdoors, and you can add whatever fresh produce and herbs you've found in your garden or local farmers market.

For the Spicy Kale and Lemon Israeli Couscous recipe, click here.


Though normally made with corn and lima beans, this succotash recipe has summertime flair. It combines fresh corn kernels with zucchini, poblanos, and red bell pepper.

For the Succotash recipe, click here.

Tangerine and Jicama Slaw

Jicama is part of the legume family, and originates in Mexico. Its texture is similar to a turnip, but its flavor closely resembles that of an apple, making it the perfect base for this creative slaw.

For the Tangerine and Jicama Slaw recipe, click here.

Tomato Carpaccio

Peak tomato season is a magical time, and this recipe highlights the tomato in all its sweet, juicy glory. If there ever was an official taste of summer, the tomato would be it.

For the Tomato Carpaccio recipe, click here.

Watermelon and Goat Cheese Salad

Watermelons are about 92 percent water, so they are hydrating as well as delicious! Sweet, crunchy watermelon pairs with cool, creamy goat cheese to create a spectacular side dish salad.

For the Watermelon and Goat Cheese Salad recipe, click here.

Whole Kimchi (Tongbaechu Kimchi)