Over 40 nutritious side dishes to bring to summer cookouts, BBQs, and parties including salads, pasta dishes, vegetable sides, and dips. Plus, get the recipe for a fresh and simple summer fruit salad.

Summer fruit salad in a bowl with gold serving spoon

Summer is officially in full swing, and it’s time for cookouts and outdoor parties with friends and family. While classic cookout dishes like potato salad and corn have their place on the table, sometimes you want a more creative and healthier side dish to munch on with your burger.

As a Registered Dietitian, I love making and sharing healthy side dishes at cookouts. This recipe round up has you covered for all your side dish desires! Find recipes for pasta salad, green salads, vegetable sides, dips, and more.

Best types of healthy side dishes to serve at a cookout

Whether you’re hosting or bringing a side dish to a friend’s BBQ, there are so many delicious side dish recipes to choose from. Most cookouts will have main entrees off the grill like hamburgers, veggie burgers, salmon burgers, hot dogs, grilled chicken, or grilled kebabs. So, you’ll want to make sure your side dishes compliment a variety of protein choices. Some healthy cookout side dish ideas include:

  • Salads
  • Pasta dishes
  • Vegetable sides
  • Grain based recipes
  • Dips
  • Fruit salads
Summer fruit salad in a bowl with gold serving spoon

It’s also a good idea to serve appetizers or finger foods for guests to enjoy while the main meal is on the grill. I love to prepare a healthy dip recipe and serve it with chips, pita bread, and crunchy raw veggies.

What makes a recipe a good option for a cookout side?

It’s important to consider a few things when deciding on a recipe to make for a cookout side dish. Follow these simple guidelines to choose cookout side dish recipes:

  • Easy to prepare ahead of time. A recipe that doesn’t need to be eaten right away is ideal for a summer cookout.
  • Tastes good cold or at room temperature. Most cookout side dishes will be served room temperature or directly from the fridge. Choose recipes that don’t need to be served hot.
  • Yields enough to feed a group. If a recipe normally only serves 3-4 people, you may want to double it for a cookout so everyone can have a taste. If you aren’t the host, check in with them to see approximately how many guests will be eating.
  • Appeal to people with different dietary needs and preferences. If friends and family have different dietary needs, it’s nice to have one or two options that everyone can enjoy together.

Food safety tips for summer cookouts

When hosting or attending a summer BBQ, it’s super important to practice good food safety! Warm summer temperatures make it easy for foodborne bacteria to thrive, which can cause unwanted food poisoning.

  • Food safety starts with safe preparation. Wash your hands frequently when preparing a recipe, especially if handling raw meat or fish. Thoroughly rinse raw fruits and vegetables in water before you cut them and add them to recipes.
  • Avoid cross-contamination. Use separate knives, cutting boards, and utensils for high risk foods like raw egg, raw meat, poultry, and seafood. Keep these raw foods separate from other foods when stored in your refrigerator. Use separate, clean utensils and bowls for serving your prepared foods.
  • Cook food to the proper internal temperature. Check using a food thermometer. Here are the minimum internal temperatures needed to kill off harmful foodborne bacteria:
    • 145 degrees F for whole cuts of meat and for fish
    • 160 degrees F for ground meat, like burgers
    • 165 degrees F for poultry
  • It’s important to keep side dishes within certain temperature ranges as well:
    • Keep hot foods hot at or above 145 degrees F
    • Keep cold foods cold at or below 40 degrees F

As a general rule of thumb, do not leave food out for over two hours, or over one hour if the temperature is above 90 degrees F. When in doubt, throw leftovers away if they’ve been sitting out for longer.

Below, find over 30 healthy summer cookout side dishes!

40+ healthy summer cookout sides

potato, green bean, and tomato salad in a bowl with gold mixing spoons, surrounded by small bowl of tomatoes and parsley

Herby Potato and Green Bean Salad with Tomatoes

This French-style no mayo potato salad deserves a spot on the picnic table at your next cookout! It’s got tender potatoes, crunchy green beans, and juicy cherry tomatoes, plus TONS of fresh herbs. It’s easy to make – you’ll use the same pot of water to blanch the green beans and boil the potatoes. Toss everything in a simple vinaigrette and serve as a versatile side dish to any meal! Ready in 30 minutes or less.

bowl with corn and black bean avocado salad with silver serving spoons on a striped tea towel, surrounded by some ingredients

Quick & Healthy Corn and Black Bean Salsa with Avocado

This black bean and corn salsa recipe with avocado is a healthy, easy dip to serve as a flavorful appetizer or snack. Made with canned beans and canned corn, it’s a snap to put together in about 10 minutes! Pair this fresh and zippy salsa with tortilla chips, or use it as a topping for tacos, burrito bowls, and more.

kale pasta salad before being mixed up in a bowl

Quick & Healthy Mediterranean Kale Pasta Salad

This cold kale pasta salad is brimming with kale and other yummy Mediterranean ingredients including artichoke hearts, feta cheese, and sun dried tomatoes. It’s an easy and healthy vegetarian dish you can prep ahead of time for lunches, cookouts, or gatherings. Ready in 30 minutes or less!

bowl with raw cauliflower salad and silver serving spoons, surrounded by grey dish towel and ingredients

Herby Shaved Raw Cauliflower Salad with White Beans

This raw cauliflower salad recipe is a fantastic healthy side dish to make when you’re tired of green salads (or don’t want to turn on the oven). Raw cauliflower is shaved or sliced in a food processor and tossed with tons of fresh herbs, white beans, green olives, parmesan cheese, and a homemade white balsamic vinaigrette. No cooking required and ready to eat in about 20 minutes!

white bowl filled with kale slaw salad, surrounded by a few ingredients and a white napkin with a fork and knife

20-Minute Crunchy Kale Slaw with Apples

This kale and apple slaw is a delicious side dish for any meal. It’s got a cravable crunchy texture and is filled with nutritious ingredients including kale, green apples, cabbage, carrots, and almonds. It’s tossed in the most delicious creamy tahini apple cider dressing that everyone will love!

large bowl of strawberry kale salad with gold serving spoons

Strawberry Kale Salad with Goat Cheese

This strawberry kale salad with goat cheese and farro makes a light, healthy, and satisfying meal. It’s loaded with nutritious ingredients and flavor.

Burrata panzanella salad in a bowl surrounded by loaf of bread, grey dish towel, and a tomato

Burrata Panzanella Salad

This burrata panzanella is an Italian bread salad with juicy tomatoes, crunchy toasted bread, fresh basil, and creamy burrata cheese. It’s a simple and delicious summertime side dish ready in under 30 minutes. The best summer panzanella salad, elevated with creamy and rich burrata cheese! Wondering “what is panzanella“? It’s an Italian bread salad, made

Kale and romaine salad in a bowl sitting on a white dish towel, surrounded by some of the salad ingredients and gold salad spoons

Simple Kale and Romaine Salad

This simple kale and romaine salad is the perfect side salad to serve with any meal. It features a delicious homemade parmesan vinaigrette! It’s easy to make and ready to eat in about 15 minutes. As a Registered Dietitian, I love to throw together a simple side salad to have with pretty much any meal.

beet and feta cheese salad in a bowl with a beige dish towel on a light grey backdrop

Nutritious Roasted Beet Salad with Feta Cheese

This simple beet and feta salad recipe features delicious and nutritious roasted beets. Roasting beets in the oven amplifies their sweetness and leads to the perfect fork-tender texture. They are perfect paired with creamy feta cheese, fresh dill, and a homemade white balsamic vinaigrette! You’ll love this easy and healthy beet salad recipe as a side dish with any meal.

Citrus, beet and burrata salad on a white plate with gold serving spoons surrounded by bowls of ingredients and dressing

Citrus, Beet, and Burrata Salad (Gluten Free)

This citrus, beet, and burrata salad is the perfect easy salad recipe to showcase winter produce this season. It’s packed with nutrients like antioxidants, vitamin C, and folate. Serve this as a tasty side dish with your holiday meal, or with any weeknight dinner! I have yet to eat a burrata salad I don’t love

Tomato Avocado Cucumber Salad

This tomato avocado cucumber salad celebrates the freshest summer produce! It’s SO easy to make, fresh, delicious, and healthy. Sometimes, the best dishes come together accidentally without a recipe, and become a favorite. This is one of those dishes! I made this tomato avocado cucumber salad without a plan, using ingredients I had on hand

Peach Caprese Salad with Heirloom Tomatoes (Gluten Free)

This peach caprese salad shouts “SUMMER!” from the rooftops. Filled with fresh peaches, heirloom tomatoes, and basil, it’s a super quick recipe to make with summer produce. It’s so easy to eat more produce during the summertime! Everything is so fresh, delicious, and abundant. From zucchini to corn to tomatoes, I love it all. Two

Authentic Greek Horiatiki Salad (Gluten Free)

This horiatiki salad is an authentic Greek dish that you won’t ever want to stop eating! Made with the freshest summer vegetables, olives, and feta cheese, this recipe is simple but so impressive. Newsflash: you’ve probably been doing Greek salads all wrong! If you’ve been to Greece, you’ll know that the horiatiki salad is the

Corn, Avocado, and Tomato Salad with Strawberries and Goat Cheese

This corn, avocado, and tomato salad just screams summer, with plenty of fresh produce, tangy goat cheese, and fragrant basil. It’s the perfect easy side dish to accompany your next dinner al fresco. Summer, can you please stay forever? I love the longer days, warm breezes, evening walks, and the bounty of summer produce. Ben

Burrata Salad with Tomatoes and Melon

This burrata salad is super simple to whip up. This recipe will impress your guests with its vibrant colors and delicious summer flavor! Burrata + tomatoes = the hottest couple of the summertime. The juicy tomatoes pair so well with creamy and rich burrata, especially with a little basil and balsamic. I love adding fresh

Watermelon Feta Salad with Cucumber and Mint

This watermelon feta salad is the most refreshing summer side dish. It’s the perfect post-beach or 4th of July Barbecue treat! All you need is five simple ingredients, one bowl, and 20 minutes to get this on the table. Raise your hand if you could eat an entire watermelon in one sitting…I know it’s not

bowtie pasta salad in a colorful blue serving bowl surrounded by some ingredients in small bowls

Cold Bowtie Pasta Salad with Feta Cheese and Spinach

This cold bowtie pasta salad (or farfalle pasta salad) is perfect for cookouts or an easy weekday meal. Cooked and cooled al dente bowtie pasta is tossed with crumbled feta cheese, chopped spinach, green olives, sweet roasted cherry tomatoes, and pesto sauce – yum! Make your own pesto or use store-bought. It’s an easy, crowd-pleasing recipe that comes together in 30 minutes or less.

serving bowl of tri color pasta salad surrounded by ingredients with two serving spoons in the bowl on a light grey backdrop

Healthy Tri-Color Pasta Salad with Spinach Basil Sauce

This tri-color rotini pasta salad is served cold, making it perfect for summertime gatherings. It features my popular spinach basil green sauce, which uses a whole bag of spinach (!) and provides vibrant green color and a pesto-like flavor. Toss cooked and cooled tri-color rotini with the homemade sauce along with cherry tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, and mini mozzarella balls for a nutritious and delicious cold pasta salad.

Greek tortellini salad mixed together in a large mixing bowl with wooden salad spoons surrounded by some ingredients

15-Minute Vegetarian Greek Tortellini Salad

This vegetarian Greek tortellini pasta salad is filled with lots of nutritious crunchy vegetables, cheese tortellini, kalamata olives, and feta cheese, all tossed a creamy homemade Greek yogurt dressing. Served cold, this tortellini salad is a delicious and filling weeknight meal (or cookout recipe for summer parties) that takes just 15 minutes to make!

bowl of taco pasta salad with a silver fork on a light grey backdrop surrounded by ingredients like avocado, bowl of cheese, and cilantro leaves

Vegetarian Cold Taco Pasta Salad

You’re going to love this taco pasta salad recipe! It’s a cold pasta salad made with nutritious taco-inspired ingredients (corn, black beans, cilantro, avocado – yum)! Toss everything in a creamy homemade taco salad dressing. This crowd-pleaser vegetarian recipe comes together in 30 minutes or less. Perfect for summer cookouts!

Bowl of caprese orzo salad with cherry tomatoes, basil leaves, and basil vinaigrette surrounding the bowl

Caprese Orzo Salad

Make this easy caprese orzo salad recipe for a simple and delicious side dish tonight. Mixed with homemade basil vinaigrette, it’s a great make ahead recipe, too! This caprese orzo pasta salad is bursting with cherry tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, and fresh basil. The simple flavors work wonderfully together when mixed with orzo pasta and a

Healthy Roasted Vegetable Pasta Salad in a large bowl with wooden mixing spoons

Healthy Roasted Vegetable Pasta Salad

Make this healthy roasted vegetable pasta salad for dinner tonight, or your next outdoor cookout! Made with simple, nutritious ingredients, it’s easy to make and will satisfy everyone. Looking for an easy and healthy recipe to bring to all your summer cookouts? This healthy roasted vegetable pasta salad is perfect for just that! It’s filled

Kale Pesto Pasta

Whip up a batch of this kale pesto pasta for an easy, delicious, and filling weeknight meal. This dish comes together in under 30 minutes, and will satisfy everyone. Everyone needs a good pesto recipe in their back pocket. It’s an easy sauce to make, and can really elevate all sorts of meals. I would


Green Sauce for Pasta Recipe

This vibrant spinach and basil green sauce for pasta is a delicious way to get your greens in. Make it tonight for an easy weeknight dinner win, or meal prep a batch for a week of healthy eats!

Pasta Salad with Roasted Vegetables and Tuna

This easy pasta salad is an easy, light and refreshing recipe for warmer weather. The addition of canned tuna in olive oil gives this meal a delicious and filling boost of protein. Make it for dinner tonight and have leftovers tomorrow! I’m all about light, fresh, and filling meals these days. Once the days get

Bowl of romesco potato salad with golden serving utensils

Romesco Potato Salad

If you’re not a fan of traditional, mayo-heavy potato salad, this romesco potato salad is for you! Soft potatoes are tossed in an addicting homemade romesco sauce for an flavorful summer side dish. Hot take: traditional potato salad doesn’t do it for me. I don’t love mayonnaise, and most potato salads I’ve tried lack flavor

Plate of grilled eggplant slices with feta cheese and herbs with a gold serving fork

Grilled Eggplant with Feta Cheese and Herbs

These light and fresh grilled eggplant slices are soft, tender, and are a perfect healthy side for a summer cookout. They’re even more delicious topped simply with feta cheese, fresh herbs, and lemon juice! As a Registered Dietitian, I look forward to all the fresh produce in abundance in the summer. I love to grill

hand dipping a sweet potato fry into ketchup from a plate of fries

Sweet and Smoky Baked Sweet Potato Fries

These baked sweet potato fries are loaded with sweet and smoky flavor! Seasoned with cinnamon and smoked paprika, you will want to make them again and again. They are so simple to make, and everyone will love them. I love sweet potatoes in pretty much every form. Roasted whole, mashed, in baked goods, and especially

Roasted Broccoli with Lemon Tahini Sauce

Bring your broccoli to the next level with this creamy, dreamy lemon tahini sauce! Everyone will love this healthy, addicting side dish. Do you have a favorite vegetable? I have to say mine is broccoli. I love it sauteed, steamed, on top of pizza, and tossed in pasta. Now, I ESPECIALLY love it drizzled with

vegan pesto cauliflower

Pesto Cauliflower

Pesto tastes amazing on just about anything, and cauliflower is the perfect vehicle! This simple side dish features this versatile vegetable and a homemade vegan pesto. Have you made homemade pesto before? If not, now is the time! This vegan pesto is incredibly flavorful and easy to make. I love making homemade sauces, including pesto.

Moroccan Spiced Cauliflower

This Moroccan spiced cauliflower dish is the perfect combination of sweet and spicy, thanks to dates and ras-el-hanout spice. Everyone will love this side! Cauliflower is one of my favorite vegetables to experiment with. It’s become one of the best loved vegetables, because it can easily be transformed to pizza, rice, and even mac and

small bowl of red quinoa salad with a fork

Quick & Healthy Red Quinoa Salad with Feta Cheese

This cold quinoa salad with feta cheese, chickpeas, vegetables, and fresh herbs is made with red quinoa and will be your new favorite healthy lunch recipe! Learn how to quickly cool down cooked quinoa to make a cold quinoa salad so the raw vegetables stay crunchy. Ready in under 30 minutes, this salad is perfect for meal prep and makes 4-6 servings.

Cilantro lime quinoa salad with avocado in a bowl with ingredients around it and gold serving utensils

Vegan Cilantro Lime Quinoa Salad with Avocado

This vegan cilantro lime quinoa salad with avocado is a healthy and delicious summer side dish. Make it in under 30 minutes for an easy weeknight recipe. As a Registered Dietitian, I love to incorporate lots of whole grains into my diet. Some of my favorites include brown rice, wild rice, farro, and quinoa! This

Farro Salad with Spice Roasted Vegetables and Feta Cheese

This farro salad is packed with spice roasted cauliflower and carrots, feta cheese, and a zesty, herby homemade dressing. Make it tonight for dinner and have leftovers for lunch! Grain salads – if you’ve been here before, you know I just love ’em! Grain salads end up being some of my all-time favorite recipes which

Farro Salad with Roasted Vegetables and Feta Cheese

This farro salad is the most delicious easy and healthy grain salad! It’s filled with roasted vegetables, creamy feta cheese, and crunchy walnuts, and is perfect for meal prep. I love experimenting with different whole grains in my kitchen. There are so many delicious options! Quinoa and brown rice are my usual staples, but lately

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

This vegan, gluten free Mediterranean quinoa salad is the best make ahead recipe for a healthy lunch or dinner. It’s easy to make and super nutritious. You know those meals that you just feel HAPPY eating? This is one of them for me. Everything about this Mediterranean quinoa salad just makes me feel good. It’s

Greek Quinoa Salad with Lentils

This Greek quinoa salad recipe is so easy to make! It’s a perfect recipe for a warm summer day or meal prep, and is sure to please a crowd. If I had to choose one cuisine to eat for the rest of my life, I’d pick Greek. It has pretty much everything I love –

Pesto Zucchini Quinoa Salad

Put this delicious pesto zucchini quinoa salad recipe on your meal-prep menu for the week! It’s vegan, gluten free, and so easy to make. Pesto is one of those foods that I could eat every day. It’s such a versatile sauce. I love it on pizza, pasta, toast, and even with eggs! This homemade vegan

plate of Greek yogurt ranch dip with veggie sticks and potato chips

5-Minute Greek Yogurt Ranch Dip

This flavorful ranch dip is made with protein-packed Greek yogurt and a homemade ranch seasoning blend. It takes just five minutes to prepare. It’s the perfect healthy dip for veggies, chips, or pita. Make a batch to serve at your next gathering!

a bowl of raw veggies and pretzels with a smaller bowl of greek yogurt dill dip

Healthy 5-Minute Greek Yogurt Dill Dip

This Greek yogurt dill dip is a delicious & nutritious snack or appetizer when served with raw vegetables, chips, pretzels, or pita bread. It’s made with Greek yogurt, so it’s loaded with high quality protein. You’ll love the fresh & zesty flavor of this creamy yogurt dill sauce – ready to eat in about 5 minutes!

Bowl of avocado greek yogurt dip surrounded by veggies and chips

5-Minute Creamy Avocado & Greek Yogurt Dip

This healthy avocado greek yogurt dip tastes amazing with veggies and chips or spread onto a sandwich. It features nutritious ingredients including avocado and plain Greek yogurt. Just blend everything together in your food processor to make this creamy dip in 5 minutes!

platter of veggies, pita chips, and pretzels with a bowl of yogurt dip in the center. There is a small side plate and ingredients next to the platter

Protein-Packed Greek Yogurt Spinach Dip

This healthy spinach dip recipe is made with Greek yogurt so it’s loaded with high quality protein. It’s the perfect Greek yogurt dip for veggies, pita chips, pretzels, and even as a sandwich spread. Greek yogurt spinach dip is an excellent protein-rich snack or appetizer, and takes just about 10 minutes to prepare.

Hand dipping a piece of pita bread into homemade tzatziki sauce surrounded by a small plate of veggies

Tzatziki Sauce

Traditional tzatziki sauce originates from Southeast Europe and the Middle East. It’s a yogurt based sauce mixed with cucumbers, fresh herbs, garlic, salt, and lemon. It’s incredibly refreshing and versatile!
You can use tzatziki sauce as a dip with vegetables and pita, as a creamy salad dressing, a sandwich spread, or paired with grilled vegetables, tofu, fish, or falafel. Tzatziki sauce is vegetarian (contains dairy) and gluten free.

Bowl of beet tzatziki surrounded by veggie crudite and pita chips and crackers for dipping

Nutritious Homemade Beet Tzatziki Dip

This homemade tzatziki recipe uses creamy Greek yogurt, grated beets, fresh herbs, and lemon to create a dip that takes just 10 minutes to prepare! It takes just a few minutes to make, and everyone will love it! As a Registered Dietitian, it’s no surprise that I love to make all sorts of healthy homemade

The Best Homemade Guacamole

There are few better snacks than tortilla chips and guacamole. All you need is 10 minutes and 7 ingredients to make the best homemade guacamole that rivals your favorite restaurant! Stop buying store bought guacamole and make your own Guacamole is one of the best ways to enjoy avocado. It goes with pretty much everything

Bowl of greek salad hummus surrounded by crackers, parsley, and a small bowl of chickpeas

Loaded Greek Salad Hummus For a Crowd

What’s your favorite appetizer to snack on at parties? One of my go-to choices is a hummus! It’s a humble yet nutritious food, packed with plant based protein and healthy fats. You can use veggie sticks, better-for-you crackers or whole wheat pita for dipping to up the nutrition factor. Pulses, which include beans, lentils, peas

white bean dip

Dreamy Pink Beet + White Bean Dip

First recipe of 2019! I hope you all had a happy New Year’s Eve and are feeling ready to conquer any goals you may have set for yourself. I’m not huge on resolutions, but I am committed to using less plastic this year! Have you guys set any for 2019? New Years is probably the

Easy Vegan Queso with Oven Roasted Potato Wedges

You’re going to want to dip everything in this vegan queso! Made with simple, nutritious ingredients, it’s super easy to prepare. It’s downright addicting paired with these chili spiced, oven roasted potato wedges. I’m a sauce person. How about you? I firmly believe that sauces and dips can make the meal. Enter this vegan queso.

Fruit Salad (recipe below)

Fruit salad is a classic healthy summer side dish. You can use any fruit you want from pineapple to melon to grapes. I took advantage of all the summer fruits in season right now, and loaded this fruit salad up with peaches, berries, and kiwi.

Sometimes I like to add fresh mint to fruit salad. It adds incredibly refreshing flavor that compliments the sweet fruit so nicely! I don’t like to add dressing to fruit salad, because the fruit is sweet and flavorful enough on it’s own.

How to make summer fruit salad

Fruit salad is so easy to make. Just wash your fruits in cold water, chop them up, and add them to a big mixing bowl. Gently mix everything together and you are ready to dig in!

I recommend preparing this fruit salad the day you plan to serve it. You can definitely make it in the morning and put it in the fridge for a few hours before you plan to eat it.

Leftover fruit salad is good for 1-2 days in the fridge, but the fruit may soften and start to brown as it sits.

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Summer fruit salad in a bowl

40+ Healthy Cookout Side Dishes: Summer Fruit Salad

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 1 review
  • Author: Alex Aldeborgh
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: serves 4-6 1x
  • Category: side dish
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan
Save Recipe


This summer fruit salad is a healthy and easy side dish for a gathering. It’s filled with peaches, berries, kiwi and (optional) fresh mint.


  • 3 peaches, cubed or sliced
  • 3 kiwis, peeled and cubed
  • 2 cups strawberries, stems removed and halved
  • 2 cups blackberries
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped (optional)


  1. Add the fruit and mint to a large mixing bowl.
  2. Stir everything together to combine.


I recommend preparing this fruit salad the day you plan to serve it. You can definitely make it in the morning and put it in the fridge for a few hours before you plan to eat it.

Leftover fruit salad is good for 1-2 days in the fridge, but the fruit may soften and start to brown as it sits. You can add a squeeze of lemon juice to prevent browning.

Feel free to swap out the fruit for other varieties, like pineapple, melon, or grapes.