8 Simple Make-Ahead Sides for Your Summer BBQ
Barbeque season is upon us and with it comes the clinking of ice, the wafting of delicious chargrilled scents, and the complex problem of how to cater for a whole party's worth of people eating in a garden. Whether you're the kind of person who just shoves a load of sausages on the barbie and hopes for the best, or you have five types of meat, two fish, and a variety of marinated veg sizzling away, every barbeque needs some tasty side dishes to keep everyone happy.
The whole attraction of a barbeque is how easily you can cater for lots of people, so finding side dishes that don't tie you to the kitchen all evening is a must. The best sides are ones you can make ahead of time and then pop on a table outside for everyone to help themselves to.
Crisps with homemade dips, a variety of salads, and slaw to heap on everything will make any barbeque a huge success. We've rounded up some of the best (and easiest!) make-head recipes for you to serve at all your cookouts this summer, so read on for some delicious inspiration.
Salads are the perfect summer food and this is especially true of barbeques, where they add a delicious freshness to what can quickly become a meat fest. They are also perfect for making sure the vegetarians have plenty to eat and tempting the kids to eat something other than hotdogs smothered in ketchup. With that in mind, we've picked the kind of tempting summer treats that feel more like a tasty indulgence than a healthy aside.
Pesto Caprese Pasta Salad
- 2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
- 2 cups flat parsley leaves
- 1lb dry fusilli or rotini pasta
- 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus some for sprinkling
- 1/2 cup white balsamic vinegar
- 1 shallot, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 tsp kosher salt, plus more to taste
- 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
- 8oz small fresh mozzarella balls, halved
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, seeded and halved
- 1/2 cup chopped green olives with pimientos
- In a large heavy pot, bring well-salted water to a boil. Cook pasta just until al dente, according to instructions, taking care not to overcook. Drain fully, but do not rinse. Transfer to a large serving bowl and sprinkle with a bit of olive oil, tossing so pasta is thinly coated.
- In the bowl of a food processor, combine the basil, parsley, olive oil, vinegar, shallot, garlic, salt, pepper. Pulse until finely chopped. Pour dressing over pasta and toss until evenly coated. Add more kosher salt and fresh black pepper to taste. If not serving immediately, wrap tightly and chill.
- When ready to serve, toss in the mozzarella halves, tomato halves, and olives, to combine well. Serve. Leftovers may be covered and chilled for up to 3 days.
Source: The Girl Who Ate Everything
Shredded Kale, Tomatoes, Feta and Mint Salad
- 1 pound flat-leaf kale (about 2 bunches)
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1 tsp kosher salt, plus more as needed
- 2 medium garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp cider vinegar
- 2 tsp Dijon mustard
- 12oz red or yellow cherry tomatoes, halved
- 6oz cheese, crumbled (about 1½ cups)
- 2 medium scallions, thinly sliced (white and light green parts only)
- 2 tbsp thinly sliced fresh mint leaves
- Wash and dry the kale. Cut out and discard the tough stems. Arrange the leaves into stacks, slice crosswise into ¼-inch ribbons, and place in a large bowl. Add 2 teaspoons of the oil and ½ teaspoon of the salt and gently squeeze and toss the leaves with your hands until they're coated with the oil and have softened slightly.
- Place the garlic and remaining ½ teaspoon of salt on a cutting board and drag the side of a chef's knife across them at a 15° angle until a smooth paste forms.
- Transfer the garlic paste to a medium, nonreactive bowl, add the vinegar and mustard, and whisk to combine. While whisking continuously, add the remaining oil in a slow, steady stream until fully incorporated.
- Add the dressing to the bowl with the kale and toss to coat the leaves. Add the tomatoes, feta, scallions, and mint and toss to combine. Taste and season with salt as needed. Serve immediately.
Dill Potato Salad
- 3lbs new potatoes, halved
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1/3 cup mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup fresh dill, chopped
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 6 scallions, thinly sliced
- Kosher salt and black pepper
- Fill a large saucepan with 1 inch of water and fit with a steamer basket. Steam the potatoes until tender, 15 to 18 minutes; let cool.
- Toss the potatoes with the sour cream, mayonnaise, dill, lemon juice, scallions, 1 teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper. Refrigerate for up to 8 hours.
Source: Real Simple
Whether they're tucking in while the barbeque warms up, staving off the hunger pangs while they wait for the next round of bangers to be ready, or absent-mindedly munching them later in the evening with that extra glass of wine, people love nothing more than crisps and dips. If you're feeling extra healthy, you can even cut up some crudités for additional dipping power.
Homemade dips always wow your guests and they're so easy to make that it doesn't make sense to buy them from the store instead. Make these delicious speedy dips ahead of time and serve them out with the drinks when everyone is arriving.
- 1 15oz can chickpeas, rinsed
- 1 clove garlic
- 1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for serving
- 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 2 tbsp tahini (sesame seed paste; optional)
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- Kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp paprika
- In a food processor, puree the chickpeas and garlic with the olive oil, lemon juice, tahini (if using), cumin, and ¾ teaspoon salt until smooth and creamy. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons water as necessary to achieve the desired consistency.
- Transfer to a bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with the paprika before serving.
Source: Real Simple
Simple Spinach Dip
- 4 pitas
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 110 ounce box frozen spinach, thawed
- 1 1/2 cups store-bought hummus (from two 8-ounce containers)
- Heat oven to 350° F.
- Brush both sides of each pita with some of the oil and sprinkle with the salt. Cut each pita into 6 triangles and transfer to a baking sheet. Bake until golden, about 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, squeeze the spinach to remove any excess water. In a food processor or blender, puree the spinach and hummus. Spoon into a dish and serve with the pita chips.
Source: Real Simple
Creamy Salmon Spread
- 8oz cream cheese, at room temperature
- 2 tbsp prepared horseradish
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh dill
- Kosher salt and black pepper
- 1/4 lb smoked salmon, chopped
- Crackers and cut-up vegetables, for serving
- In a small bowl, combine the cream cheese, horseradish, dill, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper.
- Fold in the salmon. Serve with the crackers and vegetables.
Source: Real Simple
Increasingly popular among the foodie crowd year after year, and for good reason, a decent slaw can elevate any carby comfort food to culinary excellence. They add colour and excitement to otherwise bland burgers and hotdogs, and cut delightfully through the richness of a steak.
Slaws are easy to make and perfect for using up veggies that always get left over in the fridge. Whether you like a tangy fruit-based slaw or a spicy colourful one, add a couple to your barbeque side table and bask in the compliments from your delighted guests.
- 1/2 green cabbage, thinly sliced
- 1 mango, cut into ½-inch pieces
- 1 avocado, cut into ½-inch pieces
- 2 tbsp fresh lime juice
- 1 1/2 tsp honey
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp minced fresh coriander
- 1/2 tsp minced jalapeno pepper
In a serving large bowl, combine the cabbage, mango and avocado. Toss gently to combine.
In a small bowl, whisk together fresh lime juice, honey, ground cumin and salt. While whisking constantly, slowly pour in the olive oil until combined. Stir in coriander and minced jalapeno.
Pour two-thirds of the dressing over the slaw and toss gently to combine. Taste and add more dressing, if desired. Serve.
Source: Cookin' Canuck
Apple and Poppy Seed Slaw
- 2 cups shredded green cabbage
- 1 1/2 cups shredded red cabbage
- 1/2 cup shredded carrot
- 1 Granny Smith apple, julienned
- 2 tbsp mayonnaise
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1 tbsp poppy seeds
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste.
- In a large bowl, combine the green cabbage, red cabbage, carrot and apple.
- In a large glass measuring cup or another bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, poppy seeds, salt and pepper, to taste.
- Pour mixture over cabbage mixture and stir using a rubber spatula until well combined. Cover and place in the refrigerator for at least one hour.
- Serve cold.
Source: Damn Delicious
To take the stress out of entertaining, why not prepare your barbeque sides a few days before and preserve them using one of FoodSaver's clever vacuum sealing preservation systems. They keep food fresh for up to 5x longer and the full range can be found in our online shop.