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30 Best Summer Side Dishes

We’ve rounded up the 30 best summer side dishes—from pasta salads to grilled corn and everything in between, we’ve got you covered.


close up of homemade broccoli salad with creamy sweet dressing, crispy bacon, golden raisins and purple onions

While we love classic potato salad with just mayo and mustard as much as the next person, by the time July 1st rolls around we’re craving some really creative summer side dishes. You, too? Well, here are few to get you going—actually here are 30 side dish recipes, so this should get you going AND keep you going, all summer long.

Easy potato salad in a bpwl with a wooden spoon
baked beans in a pot with made with extra ketchup, mustard, brown sugar and sausage.

Your Burger Looks Lonely. You Need A BBQ Side Dish Recipe, Stat!

  • This cold, crunchy broccoli salad—studded with crisp bacon, diced red onion and chewy raisins, then tossed in a creamy homemade dressing—is what all of your summer party dreams are made of.
  • If you are a fan of both potato salad and pickles then you have to try our classic potato salad. Made with pickle juice and cucumbers for extra crunch, it's the best make-ahead summer side dish! Bonus if you make our homemade pickles too!
  • Got a couple of cans of baked beans in your cupboard, but not sure what to with them? Well these super meat-loaded dressed up baked beans are probably the very best thing you could possibly do with them.
  • We put this crisp, refreshing red cabbage and apple slaw on EVERYTHING! It’s a much lighter answer to the summer BBQ side dish question, and everyone will be grateful to see a vegetable on that loaded picnic table.
tempura green beans with curry mayonnaise on a platter
a pile of roasted zucchini with parmesan cheese on a black please

Got Summer Veggies? Here’s How to Serve Them.

  • Be everyone’s favorite person at the party with a huge side of our crispy fried green bean tempura with curry mayonnaise. It’s an absolute crowd-pleaser.
  • We’re calling it—zucchini is the new cauliflower. And our super savory oven-roasted zucchini with parmesan is the new cauliflower rice. A little crispy, super fast, and ultra-healthy, it really hits the spot.
  • We’ve perfected the art of grilled asparagus, and we’re celebrating by dressing it up with a balsamic reduction, parmesan and toasted pine nuts!
Mediterranean Pasta Salad in a bowl with feta, olives, tomatoes and arugula
Cold Thai noodle salad topped with peanut dressing, crushed peanuts, ground pork, cucumbers, basil and mint

A Summery Pasta Salad Recipe For Every Occasion.

  • This hearty, tomato-studded summer tortelloni pasta salad sits right at the top of our list of easy summer sides.
  • With briny olives, juicy cherry tomatoes, spicy arugula, purple pops of red onion, and creamy feta crumbled throughout, this Mediterranean pasta salad is as bright and sunny as a warm summer day.
  • Cooked-till-crisp ground pork, and creamy Thai peanut dressing add a hint of heft to fragrant fresh mint, basil, cooling cucumber and delicate rice noodles in this lively cold Thai noodle salad.
black plate with homemade jalapeno poppers topped with bacon and buttery panko crumbs
classic creamy hummus with olive oil and parsley

Please Pass The Easy Summer Appetizers.

caramelized french onion dip with veggies
guacamole in a bowl with cilantro and red onion and chips

Need A Dip For Your Next Pool Party?

A dip while you dip, if you will.

  • Our homemade caramelized onion dip outshines anything store-bought. Please pass the chips.
  • Cool and creamy homemade guacamole shines at its craveable best when scooped up by crunchy, salted homemade corn chips—a bite of paradise, if you ask us.
  • Our retro cream cheese shrimp dip is an old-school classic that’s primed for a comeback. Just don’t let it sit out in the sun for long—move that deliciousness back into the AC ASAP.
Elote Mexican Street Corn Salad in a bowl
4 ears of Elote Mexican Street Corn topped with fresh cilantro, chipotle mayonnaise, cotija cheese and slices of limes

Everyone’s Favorite Summer Corn Dish

  • Ever get fancy with your corn? We’ll teach you how to do it with grilled corn four ways. How about maple bourbon butter with bacon, chipotle mayo with parm cheese, spicy corn with cotija cheese or blue cheese butter with chives?
  • Mexican street corn salad with chipotle crema takes the flavors of elote—fresh sweet corn, lime juice, cojita cheese, and a mayo-based chipotle crema—and turns them into a beautiful summer salad.
  • Our take on a classic grilled Mexican street corn recipe relies on easy-to-find ingredients to create the creamy, slightly spicy, smoky corn on the cob that we crave when we think of authentic elote
  • Just three ingredients—fresh sweet corn, a pound of bacon, and a bunch of green onions—come together to make this dairy-free creamed corn recipe an easy summer side dish we just can’t get enough of.
Mediterranean Style Zucchini Fritters With Tzatziki Dipping Sauce on a plater
white bowl filled with Pesto chicken zoodle salad topped with fresh cherry tomatoes, pearl mozzarella and toasted pine nuts

Zucchini Recipes To Use Up Your Whole Summers’ Worth of Squash Bounty.

  • For all zucchini growers out there, your friends and neighbors will be sad this year when you have less bounty to share from making our Mediterranean-style zucchini fritters recipe over and over.
  • This stunningly beautiful, twisty-twirly pesto zoodle salad with fresh mozzarella, chicken and toasted pine nuts is a textural, colorful study in how to make the most of the late-summer harvest.
  • Tossed in a creamy, Asian-inspired peanut dressing, this crunchy, colorful cold Thai zoodle salad is quick, healthy and satisfying.
braised tomatoes with burrata and grilled flat bread
Pico De Gallo with Cabbage in a bowl with tortilla chips on a plater with a linen

Summer Tomatoes, Right Off The Vine.

cucumber salad with  chickpeas, onion, parsley, mint, dill and a yogurt dressing in a bowl with serving spoons
Asian chop salad with sesame seeds, red bell pepper

Summer is Salad-For-Dinner Season.

  • This cucumber salad is heavenly. It’s everything you’re looking for in a healthy summer side dish.
  • Potluck-ready and brimming with crunchy vegetables, this easy Asian chopped salad recipe makes a colorful, brightly-flavored accompaniment to almost any meal.
  • Salty fish sauce, zingy lime, a touch of creamy mayo, a drizzle of honey. Add some bright, vibrant veggies and voila! A simple, beautiful Asian slaw that perks up just about any meal.
  • This chop salad with herb yogurt dressing is a real satisfying stunner of a dinner salad. Healthy, gorgeous and so satisfying.
Thai Zucchini noodle salad with chicken, peanuts, and fresh limes in a bowl
tortellini pasta salad in a bowl with pest, basil and tomatoes

Yay, It’s Summer!

Whatever you’re making, we wish you happy potlucking, picnicking, and backyard BBQing! If you make one of these stunning summer side dishes we want to hear about it! Snap a photo of your creation and be sure and tag us @themodernproper and #themodernproper.

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30 Best Summer Side Dishes

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  • Tresa

    So many great options! So far i've tried the classic potato salad, zucchini with parmesan, Mexican street corn salad with chipotle crema and the red cabbage with apple slaw. All absolutely delicious!

    Thanks Tresa, glad you're enjoying our recipes!

  • Jenn

    Such a great list! Kind of just want to make my way through the whole list this summer!

    Thanks Jenn! Can't wait to hear how it goes!