Make your summer extra bright and colorful with these side dish recipes!
Welcome to summertime! It’s the most colorful season around, filled with everything from bright and vibrant clothing to a range of beautiful flowers. It’s not all about aesthetics, either. The bounty of fruits and vegetables available during the summertime makes it the best season for eating the rainbow. If you want to take advantage of all the fresh produce, but aren’t sure where to start, check out these 55 Healthy Summer Side Dishes!
Deliciously Healthy Side Dish Ideas for Summer or Any Occasion
From backyard barbecues to sunset parties, summer is filled with outdoor celebrations. No one likes to show up to a party empty-handed, but you don’t want to bring the same dish as someone else, either! We have over 50 ideas for healthy summer side dishes, so you’ll have more than enough inspiration all season long. They make for the perfect side dish for a bbq or cookout, but they also make great snacks. And, if you’re looking for a potluck dish, look no further.
So, throw on a colorful bathing suit and get ready to cool down with these healthy summer side dishes. Your friends and family will love their light but bold flavors.
Healthy Summer Side Dishes
1. Southwestern Brussels Sprout Coleslaw
As far as I’m concerned, Brussels sprouts never go out of season. They’re most abundant between August and March, so be on the lookout to make this healthy summer side dishes recipe for later summer parties. I love whipping up this healthier take on your typical coleslaw to put on the picnic table next to some of our Mediterranean Grilled Eggplant Burgers with Cheese!
2. 15-Minute Gazpacho Recipe
Gazpacho is a cold soup made of fresh, raw, blended vegetables. This super simple 15-minute Gazpacho recipe from our friends at PureWow is one of the yummiest we’ve ever tasted! It combines tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, basil, bell pepper, and more!
3. Zucchini Rice Recipe
At one time cauliflower rice was all the rage, however, zucchini rice has recently taken center stage. This ridiculously easy, low-calorie side dish will be a hit at your next Summer cookout! So yummy!
4. 15-Minute Zucchini Noodle Tomato Salad with Balsamic Dressing
I love, love, love using zoodles in healthy summer side dishes! They’re great for both adults and kids because they give you that pasta texture that we all crave every now and again, while not giving you all of the carbs of that pasta. This easy-peasy zoodle recipe of ours. It’s super refreshing on a hot summer day!
If you’re as big of a fan of zucchini noodles as I am, don’t forget to check out our Zucchini Noodles with Pistachio Pesto and our Chicken Parmesan Over Zucchini Noodles.
5. Gluten-Free BLT Pasta Salad
Pasta salads are a huge part of the summer life, but not everyone is a fan. For example, my brother doesn’t really like the stuff, but he’s a huge fan of bacon. I made this recipe for our last family party, and he must have eaten half the bowl! That makes this Gluten-Free BLT take on pasta salad a winner in my book.
6. Keto Fathead Low Carb Pizza Rolls
When Sugar-Free Mom creates a recipe for healthier pizza rolls, that means you’ll have a side dish that’s actually kid-friendly! I think we can all agree that pizza never goes out of season, both for kids and adults, but too often adults are worried about how pizza will affect bikini season. Luckily, these pizza rolls are swimsuit-approved – they’re low-carb and made with nutritious ingredients.
7. Rainbow Salsa
Talk about eating the rainbow: this SkinnyMs recipe places every color together in a bowl! Throw in some non-GMO, organic tortilla chips and you’ve got yourself a perfect summer BBQ side dish!
8. Cold Asian Noodle Salad
In the summer, anything that has the word “cold” in the name is a good thing. And, trust me, the fact that this Lexi’s Clean Kitchen recipe has the word “cold” in it is not the only reason it’s a good thing. It’s also so full of veggies, flavor, and, of course, color!
9. Carrot Cashew Pate Cucumber Canape
This is one of my favorite healthy summer side dishes to bring to a party. It’s not only full of flavor and a big hit, but I also get to say that I made “carrot cashew pate cucumber canapé!” I just feel so sophisticated and classy saying it. Shout out to Keepin It Kind for creating this tasty recipe.
10. Maple Baked Beans
Who doesn’t like eating baked beans at a backyard barbecue over the summer? I know I do. What I don’t like, though, is those store-bought baked beans that are full of unnecessary amounts of salt and sugar. Come to think of it, I also don’t like taking hours out of my day to make homemade baked beans, either.
You might be wondering what the happy medium is…well, it’s our Maple Baked Beans recipe (AKA your summer barbecue savior)!
11. 3 Ingredient Spicy Barbecue Tofu
This is one of those healthy summer side dishes that doesn’t have to be eaten by just vegetarians. The Big Man’s World created this veggie-friendly dish, but even carnivores will love it. In fact, when I made it for a family party at my boyfriend’s house, his sister didn’t even know it was made with tofu! The spicy barbecue flavors are all you’ll taste (in SUCH a good way).
12. Summer Caprese Salad
Two Peas & Their Pod took the well-known Caprese salad and gave it an exciting, summery twist. Want to know what that twist is? You’ll have to try out the summer side dish recipe to find out! Okay, I will give you a hint: it’s just peachy!
13. Chickpea Mediterranean Rice
Chickpeas are the main ingredient in hummus and (last time I checked) nothing really beats hummus. The chickpeas in this recipe give this healthy hummus an extra crunch while also loading it with tons of nutritional value. Just some of the amazing health benefits of chickpeas include:
- Tons of fiber
- Good source of vitamin B6
- Can lower bad cholesterol
- Good source of vitamin C
- High in protein
- Good source of iron for vegetarians
14. Summer Vegetable Torte
This vegetable torte by A Family Feast is BEAUTIFUL. The first time I made it, no one was around to see it. So, I took a million pictures from every possible angle and sent them to all my friends. I needed to share the beauty (and, maybe, I was also a bit proud of myself for creating something so pretty).
15. Grilled Summer Squash with Feta
When What’s Gabby Cooking says “with Feta”, she REALLY means with feta! As someone who loves cheese, I think it’s the perfect touch to a simple summer squash recipe. It makes this one of those incredibly tasty but healthy summer side dishes.
16. Loaded Southwest Corn and Zucchini Skillet
Zucchini and summer go together like two peas in a pod. If you’ve never tried growing your own zucchini, it’s a must! Last summer, I grew my own zucchini and they tasted so much fresher than the zucchini I bought at the supermarket.
As much as I am encouraging you to grow your own zucchini, using store-bought or farm stand zucchini will not take away too much from how DELICIOUS this recipe is! It’s the perfect way to switch up how you cook the summer veggie, and makes for an A+ summer side dish.
17. Cucumber Quinoa Salad
Cucumbers are my absolute go-to vegetable during the summer. They’re just so refreshing in the summertime, thanks to that high water content to ward off dehydration. Not only that, but their cold crunch is just unbeatable. You’ll enjoy all of that in this summer salad by Gimme Some Oven.
18. Vegan Mac and Cheese Bites
Mac and cheese is always a great addition to any meal. It’s even better when it’s healthy and no one at the party knows! I brought these Vegan Mac and Cheese Bites by A Virtual Vegan to a get-together with my friends, and everyone loved them…even my friend who swears that health food tastes bad!
19. 5-Ingredient Pesto Pasta Salad
Let me make it even easier for you to decide whether you should make this refreshing summer side dish. Let me tell you the five ingredients that this SkinnyMs recipe calls for:
- Whole wheat rotini pasta (chickpea pasta and quinoa pasta work great, too!)
- Roasted red peppers
- Low-fat provolone cheese
- Baby Spinach
Yup, that’s it! That’s how easy is that? It’s always my go-to when I have to bring something to a summer party.
20. Low Carb Cauliflower Mock Potato Salad
Whenever I think of pasta salad, I can’t help but think of its cousin: potato salad. They’re both just such great healthy summer side dishes. This potato salad recipe by Sugar-Free Mom is low-carb, keto, gluten-free, sugar-free, grain-free, and nut-free. So, it’s perfect for so many types of diets!
21. Rainbow “Raw-Maine” Taco Boats
You probably guessed that I would say this, but I’m going to say it anyway…Rainbow! All those colors makes this a perfect side dish for summertime. Minimalist Baker really outdid herself with this one and created an amazing Taco Tuesday side dish for summer.
22. Instant Pot Corn on the Cob with Chipotle Sauce
Along with zucchini, corn is also another summer favorite of mine! There’s nothing like sitting down outside at a family dinner while watching the sun set with a juicy corn on the cob in your hand. I especially love it when it has chipotle sauce drizzled all over it!
23. Easy Hot Corn Dip
Why not stick with the summertime-fine summer food of corn? It’s full of fiber and it makes for a great Easy Hot Corn Dip by The Pretty Bee. I’ve served and eaten this dip with all different kinds of crackers and chips, and have yet to find something that it doesn’t taste good with!
24. Fried Corn Cakes with Cilantro Avocado Cream
I’m sorry, I’m sorry. I’ll stop with the corn side dish recipes after this one…maybe.
This is yet another recipe by The Pretty Bee that is amazing during the summer months. The corn cakes are delicious enough on their own, but once you add the avocado cream sauce…there’s no going back. It is a serious struggle to not eat all of them yourself!
25. Strawberry, Avocado, and Spinach Salad
Almost every time I make this summer side salad, I end up eating so much of it (because it’s SO good), that I don’t leave room for dinner. And, you know what: I never even regret it!
26. Collard Green Spring Rolls + Sunbutter Dipping Sauce
Don’t let this Minimalist Baker recipe name fool you. This recipe is not just for the springtime. It’s definitely a summertime must! These rolls are quick and easy to make, are gluten-free, and are super nourishing, thanks to all of the veggies wrapped up inside.
27. Watermelon, Kale and Feta Salad
This salad by What’s Gabby Cooking is a simple combination of fruits and vegetables. To be more specific, it’s a combination of fruits and vegetables that are revitalizing – especially during the summer!
28. Spicy Mango Salsa
Sweet, spicy, appealing – what more could you ask for? Sometimes I want some salsa, but I want it with a twist. That’s when I turn to this original SkinnyMs recipe!
29. Herbed Israeli Couscous Salad with Tomato and Mozzarella
Even if you don’t like couscous, take my word for it and try this recipe by Rachel Cooks. I promise you will start to like couscous…maybe even love it. This salad is served cold, making it a great summer side dish.
30. Mizuna with Blueberries & Herbed Feta
In this post, Brooklyn Supper also talks about what’s important in life. She brings up internet jealousy (something we’re all familiar with, I’m sure), and how we should be focusing on other things in life – things worth putting our time and energy into.
For me, those things include reaching out to all of you in hopes that I can help you improve your health in any way and also, making healthy summer side dishes like this one! Just a little food for thought (literally).
31. Easy, Healthy Refried Beans
My family never had refried beans growing up. The first time I ever had them was at one of my boyfriend’s summer family parties back in high school. I remember being so hesitant to try to them for a couple of reasons. First of all, I was super health conscious and wasn’t sure what was in them. Second of all, they didn’t look very appetizing.
Lo and behold, I tried them and loved them. Unfortunately, though, my liking toward them did not make them any healthier. Fortunately, though, this recipe of ours does!
32. Roasted Mexican Street Corn
Hey, remember when I said I’d stop with the corn recipes? Well, I’m sorry, but I lied.
This recipe by Damn Delicious just NEEDED to be included on this list. I mean, how sad would you all be if I didn’t throw a Mexican street corn recipe in on here? This killer recipe is great for any summer evening – but especially a Taco Tuesday summer evening!
33. Clean Eating Oven Roasted Mushrooms
I actually love eating these mushrooms all on their own as a side to most meals, but they also taste great on top of burgers and sandwiches! This summer side dish is great alongside those cheeseburger and hot dogs.
34. Healthy Blueberry Zucchini Cornbread Muffins
Monique, creator of Ambitious Kitchen, blew my mind with her rendition of cornbread muffins. Not only is this an anytime treat, it’s also perfect for breakfast or dinner. You’ll love whipping up this healthy recipe to go along with a filling Summer Salad. These extra moist muffins are also kid and husband friendly. 🙂
35. Strawberry Poppyseed Pasta Salad
I know what you’re thinking: a pasta salad with fruit in it?! Yup! If you’re thinking something negative, you won’t be after trying out this Six Sister’s Stuff recipe. Fruit and summer go together so this recipe and summer go together too!
36. Red Lobster’s Cheddar Biscuits
Maybe it’s the fact that I’m constantly thinking of the ocean in the warmer months, but I always crave seafood more over the summer. This SkinnyMs recipe is one of my go-to side dish recipes during the summer when I’m cooking shrimp, or salmon, or crab, or lobster…or really any seafood!
37. Blueberry & Apricot Super Salad
This super summer salad by Green Kitchen Stories is made using one of my all-time favorite foods: blueberries. There are so many health benefits of blueberries, but just to name a few, blueberries are:
- Low in calories
- Loaded with antioxidants
- Can lower blood pressure
- Improve cognitive function
On top of that, the raspberry mint dressing that goes along with this salad is out of this world!
38. Rainbow Vegetable Kebabs
Oh yes, we have another recipe with the word “rainbow” in it, here. I hope you’re starting to see it as a summer side dish theme!
These kebabs by Damn Delicious are so easy to make, it’s hard to believe they would be so yummy. I love making these as sides to meat-filled kebabs. Nothing says a good summer night like a chicken kebab in one hand and a Rainbow Vegetable Kebab in the other.
39. Slow Cooker Garlic and Thyme Mashed Potatoes
You might associate mashed potatoes with hearty winter meals, but I think they go perfectly with summertime heat. Especially this healthy summertime version which turns out light and fluffy – every time!
40. Citrus Salad
This salad by Green Kitchen Stories calls for 10 citrus fruits such as oranges and grapefruit…talk about refreshing! On top of that (which already sounds heavenly over the summer), it also calls for a cinnamon yogurt dressing that’s really just the cherry on top.
41. Pomegranate Avocado Salad with Candied Walnuts
I can’t help but look at this salad like it’s a bundle of flowers after I make it. The recipe was created by Half Baked Harvest and it tastes as yummy as it looks beautiful. It’s bright red, orange, and green colors are sure to brighten up any summer dinner spread!
42. Orange Glazed Roasted Carrots
The ginger and orange flavors shine out of these carrots like the sun shines down on us during the summertime. They’re so vibrant! These carrots make for a great side dish to any meal over the summer.
43. Chipotle Peach Guacamole
Every good party needs guacamole! This recipe by Two Peas & Their Pod will ensure that your party will have the BEST guacamole! Fresh peaches, chipotle peppers, and, of course, avocados – what more could anyone ask for in a summer side dish?!
44. Tomato, Peach, and Corn Salad
Two Peas & Their Pod is definitely a fan of peaches since they are just banging out these delicious, peachy summer side dishes. It’s a good thing for me because I am also a fan of peaches! They’re actually the one fruit that my boyfriend really likes, too. Even though he usually refused to eat salads, he eats this one just for the peaches.
45. White Bean and Herb Hummus
I will tell you time and time again that adding hummus to a meal only enhances it…especially when it’s our White Bean and Herb Hummus! This is the perfect, light hummus for summertime.
46. Blueberry, Melon, Feta, Fruit Salad Stacks
I love making and enjoying this side dish by Half Baked Harvest. It’s a great accompaniment to subs, sandwiches, or wraps! Since I was a kid, I’ve always paired subs, sandwiches, wraps, and anything of the kind with chips as a side dish. Thanks to Half Baked Harvest, I now have a much healthier, much more refreshing side dish to accompany one of my favorite summer lunch meals.
47. Shoestring Fries
This is yet another recipe that I love to make as a side to lunch sandwiches! These shoestring fries by The Cookie Rookie are especially a hit with the little ones over the summer. They’re even the perfect post-camp snack for them!
48. Super Easy Cauliflower Fried Rice
Chinese food is just as yummy over the summer as it is during the winter! I love cuddling up with a plate full of Asian cuisine that includes a side of our healthier fried rice anytime of the year. It’s good in front of a backyard fire pit or even in front of the TV inside after spending the day outside in the summer heat. Because our recipe is low-carb, I won’t lose any self-confidence in my bathing suit.
49. Spinach Artichoke Pasta Salad
If you want to bring something similar to artichoke dip to a summer barbecue, but also want to be a little different, you’re in luck. Two Peas & Their Pod developed a super easy to make pasta salad recipe that’s also a bit different.
50. Gluten Free Breadsticks with Zucchini
If you thought that I was done with the zucchini recipes, boy, were you wrong! This recipe by A Saucy Kitchen is one of my favorite zucchini summer side dishes. These breadsticks are delicious, gluten-free, and also dairy-free, vegetarian, and vegan!
51. Almond Orange Frisee Salad
This recipe of ours makes for a great side dish to any meal that needs some lightening up. Whether that’s a dense cheeseburger or a heavy, summery pasta dish, this salad does not disappoint over the summer!
52. Vegan Loaded Nacho Cheese Fries
Nacho cheese fries bring back so many summer childhood baseball game memories. I used to go to local games with friends all the time, and you better believe that before we got Dip n’ Dots, we got hot dogs and loaded nacho cheese fries.
Today, my body can’t handle all of that grease. Luckily, this side dish recipe by Jessica in the Kitchen provides a guilt-free version of the same unbeatable flavors without all of the grease.
53. Stuffed Avocados with Pesto, Tomatoes and Chickpeas
During the summer, it’s important to me to try to use my oven as little as possible. With that being said, on particularly hot days, this no-oven-required-recipe by A Saucy Kitchen is one of my go-tos!
54. Garden Veggie Tortellini Pasta Salad
This recipe by Peas and Crayons is great for people like me, who are still busy, busy, busy over the summer. It tastes amazing and can be made ahead of time. The last time I brought it to a summer party, I made it a day before the party and everyone loved it! After countless people asked me how I made the dish, I ended up just sending the recipe to almost everyone there.
55. Baked Asparagus Fries with Creamy Chipotle Dip
Why not end this list with a SkinnyMs recipe that makes for a great summer side dish (and, a great beach snack!). Whenever I’m craving French fries, I make these baked asparagus fries. They satisfy my cravings and leave me feeling happy without getting bloated.
Now that you have 55 different summer side dish recipes, what are you waiting for? By adding some healthy summer side dishes to your dinner table every night, you’ll add beneficial nutrients to fuel your body while also adding flavor to your day. So, hop to eating the rainbow. You won’t be upset that you did!
While you’re at it, don’t forget to check out our Facebook page and Pinterest for more healthy recipes!
This is the best collection ever!!! I love how you mix flavors and are so creative. I cook and I have never thought to mix things like peaches and tomatoes…I can’t wait to try your ideas. Thanks for sharing