5 Summer BBQ Sides

Tis the season to BBQ!

While most people want to know what’s going on the grill, we’re all about those sides. If you’re sick of bringing the same old same old to your neighborhood BBQ or want to make sure your spread is the stuff of legends, reworking the classics, or even looking for unexpected flavors is the way to go.

We pulled together five recipes that do just that. Our Broccoli Bacon Salad and Black Bean & Corn Salad level up the flavors of these BBQ favorites. While our Garlic Lover’s Wedge and Chinese Smashed Cucumbers aren’t plates you, or your guests, are likely to see at their next cookout. And finally, nothing says you take BBQing seriously like showing up with homemade pickles.

What We Love About These Recipes:

Chinese Smashed Cucumber Salad

This salad is the perfect balance of crispy, cool, spice that is somehow very refreshing. Don’t be intimidated to make your own chili oil, we promise that it’s easier than you think AND, after making this salad, you can use your leftover chili oil in other recipes.

Savory Broccoli Bacon Salad

If anything could make your kids eat some veggies, it’s got to be bacon. This is a classic BBQ side dish that usually leans into sweetness and while we love that take, we’ve bumped up the flavor with the addition of green onions and garlic. Another thing we love about this recipe is that it does keep in the fridge for a few days, so you can make ahead of your event.

Garlic Herb Wedge Salad

Firstly, can we just say that this feels fancy? Cause it does feel a little more refined. You may be used to getting a wedge salad at your favorite steakhouse, but we swear this is not the heavy Caesar salad that you know and love. This is a fresh and herby plate that can stand up to any grilled meat and is easier to put together than you think.

Homemade Pickles

What says you take your burgers seriously better than tossing those flimsy store-bought dills and showing up with a jar of crisp and crunchy cucumbers you made with love. While you might think they are tough to make, which is why you buy them in the store, we promise they are easier than you think. And, they will keep in the fridge for up to a week, but we can’t promise that they’ll last as long.

Black Bean & Corn Salad

This is a fast and easy BBQ classic for a reason. We didn’t feel the need to change this one up too much, but we did give it a honey kissed lime vinaigrette and added some avocado to add a little more oomph.

Homemade Pickles

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. Kirby cucumbers
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 large sprigs fresh dill, very roughly chopped (you just want it to fit in the jars)
  • 1 c. water
  • 3/4 c. apple cider vinegar (white vinegar works as well)
  • 1 tbsp. kosher salt

Directions:

  1. Make your pickle brine: In a small saucepan, combine water, vinegar, and salt. Bring to a boil and stir until salt is dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
  2. Trim the ends of the cucumbers and slice into spears. Pack into 2 (16-oz. glass jar along with your garlic, and dill.
  3. Pour your pickle brine over the cucumbers, seal jar, and shake. Let cool completely on the counter, then refrigerate until cold.
  4. Wait at least 2 hours before you dig in but know that the longer you wait, the more zing they’ll have. We waited 24 hours before eating.

Black Bean & Corn Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 (15-oz.) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 c. frozen corn thawed
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1 jalapeño, seeds removed and finely chopped
  • 1/2 c. quartered cherry tomatoes
  • 1/4 medium red onion, diced
  • 1/4 c. freshly chopped cilantro
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Juice of ½ Orange
  • 2 Tbsp. avocado oil
  • 1/2 Tbsp. raw local honey
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 c. crumbled cotija

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, combine beans, corn, avocado, jalapeño, tomatoes, onion, and cilantro.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together lime juice, orange juice, oil, honey, and cumin. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Pour dressing over salad mixture and toss to combine.
  4. Top with your crumbled cotija and some additional fresh cilantro.


Garlic Lover’s Wedge Salad

Ingredients:

For the Garlic Oil and Confit:

  • 1 1/2 c. garlic cloves
  • 2 c. extra-virgin olive oil

For the Dressing:

  • 1 c. yogurt (We used our own homemade whole milk Greek yogurt)
  • 1 c. parsley
  • 1 c. mixed soft leafy herbs (We used dill, mint, tarragon, and basil for a Green Goddess Inspired Dressing)
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped chives
  • 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • ½ tsp. zest
  • 2 cloves garlic confit
  • 1/2 c. garlic oil
  • 2 tsp. capers
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

For the Wedge:

  • 8 slices thick-cut bacon, cut into thin slivers
  • 1 head iceberg lettuce, romaine works as well
  • 2 tomatoes, finely chopped

For Garnish:

  • Chopped Dill
  • Chopped Chives
  • Cracked Pepper

Directions:

For the Garlic Oil and Confit:

  1. In a small saucepan, add garlic cloves and olive oil. If the cloves are not totally submerged, top with more olive oil.
  2. Heat over medium high heat until the oil has reached a bare simmer. Reduce heat to low and cook for 1½ to 2 hours or until the cloves are golden brown and can be made into a paste with a fork.
  3. Transfer oil and garlic into an airtight container and store in the fridge for up to two weeks.

For the Dressing:

  1. In a food processor or blender, combine the yogurt, herbs, lemon juice, zest, garlic oil, capers, garlic, salt, and pepper. Pulse until well combined (you may need to add a tablespoon or more of water if your yogurt was very thick).
  2. Season to taste.
  3. Store in an airtight container, in the fridge, for up to 5 days.

For the Salad Components:

  1. In a cold skillet, add your slivers of bacon and begin to heat over medium-high. Cook, stirring gently occasionally, until the fat is rendered, and pieces are crispy. Let drain on a paper towel lined plate and set aside or store in an airtight container in the fridge.
  2. To assemble, halve the head of lettuce through the core, then halve through the core again to make wedges. Cutting on a bias, remove the core from the end of your wedge. Drizzle the wedge thoroughly with dressing,
  3. Top each wedge with bacon, tomato, dill, and chives.
  4. If serving at a party, we like to set everything out for people to assemble their own salad. We’ll put the lettuce wedges on a platter or baking dish, then use small bowls for the dressing, bacon, tomatoes, and herbs.

Savory Broccoli Bacon Salad

Ingredients:

For the Salad:

  • Kosher salt
  • 3 heads broccoli, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 2 carrots, shredded
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 c. chopped walnuts
  • 6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • ¼ cup green onions (thinly sliced, 2-3 onions)

For the Dressing:

  • 1/2 c. mayonnaise
  • 3 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp. raw local honey
  • 2 cloves crushed garlic (If you made the wedge salad, the garlic from your garlic confit would be delicious)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. In a medium saucepan, bring 4 cups of salted water to a boil. While waiting for the water to boil, prepare a large bowl with ice water.
  2. Add broccoli florets to the boiling water and cook until tender, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove and drain your broccoli quickly before placing in your bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process quickly. Once cool, drain your broccoli.
  3. In a large bowl, combine broccoli, carrots, red onion, walnuts, and bacon.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, vinegar, honey, garlic, and season with salt and pepper.
  5. Pour dressing over broccoli mixture and stir to combine.
  6. Add your green onions and give your salad a quick toss before serving.

Chinese Smashed Cucumber Salad

Ingredients:

For the Chili Oil:

  • 1/2 c. avocado oil
  • 1”-piece ginger, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 Tbsp. ground chilis
  • 2 tsp. ground Szechuan peppercorns
  • 1 Tbsp. white sesame seeds
  • 1/4 tsp. Kosher salt

For the Cucumbers:

  • 6 Persian cucumbers
  • 3 cloves garlic, grated
  • 2 Tbsp. chili oil
  • 1 Tbsp. toasted sesame oil
  • Kosher salt

Directions:

Make the Chili Oil:

  1. In a small pot, heat oil until it’s just about to reach its smoke point, then remove from heat.
  2. Meanwhile, in a medium heatproof jar, combine all other ingredients. Slowly pour hot oil over the spices carefully. It will sizzle, no need to panic.
  3. Whisk to incorporate fully and let cool completely.

Prepare the Cucumbers:

  1. Cut cucumbers into three pieces, then use the flat size of your knife to smash each piece into two smashed pieces.
  2. In a large bowl, toss smashed cucumbers with chili oil, sesame oil, and garlic until evenly combined, then season with salt to taste.

Leave a comment