Side Dishes to Go with Whatever You Grilled for Dinner

Summer is prime grilling season. Any main course you make in the presence of a smoky flame immediately takes on the taste of the season, but the real question is, what side dishes will you make to go alongside your burgers, steak, or grilled chicken breast? That’s where the fun really comes in.

Here are 30+ of our favorite summer sides — including everything from grilled cabbage to a colorful summer squash gratin — that play well with dinner from the grill.

1. Greek Pasta Salad

Inspired by a chopped salad, this crunchy Greek number starts by prepping the veggies into bite-sized pieces to match the small noodles. You’ll thank us when you’re eating this off a wobbly paper plate in the backyard.

2. Baked Summer Squash

When your backyard garden or CSA supplies an abundance of zucchini and summer squash, this baked dish is the perfect answer. Plus, since you’ll be outside grilling, you won’t have to worry about the kitchen being hot from the oven.

3. How To Make Homemade Sauerkraut in a Mason Jar

To be fair, this recipe does take a bit of planning, but that means you should make a big batch and always keep some on hand in your fridge — especially since it goes well with burgers as a side dish or on top of brats as a condiment.

4. Garlicky Roasted Broccoli

Roasting your broccoli leaves it a bit crunchy and smothered in garlicky goodness. Of course, you can always add lemon juice or a bit of cayenne pepper to spice it up as well. Want even more topping ideas? Try these out.

5. How To Make Super-Crispy, Oven-Baked Asparagus Fries

A burger and fries is a no-brainer when you’re out to eat, but when you have the home-court advantage, try out a batch of these asparagus fries. The crispy breadcrumb coating is a revelation. We bet you’ll never go back to your old asparagus recipes.

6. Crispy Salt & Vinegar Potatoes

For anyone who likes salt and vinegar potato chips, this recipe is the upgraded, appropriate-for-company version. Use whatever kind of small, fingerling potatoes you can find, and then try not to eat them all before they hit the dinner table.

7. How To Make Glazed Carrots

The sweet-savory combination of these glazed carrots is the perfect simple side dish for your grilling. You can customize the glaze depending on the type of burger you’re making. Just be sure to make enough so everyone can have seconds.

8. Quick Ranch Dressing

Sometimes there’s nothing better than a simple salad to go alongside your burger. When that’s what you’re in the mood for, you’ll need this easy ranch dressing recipe.

9. How To Make Crispy Baked Avocado Fries

Asparagus isn’t the only unusual veggie you can turn into a baked fry. These avocado slices are crispy on the outside, creamy on the inside, and completely irresistible.

10. Chilled Cucumber Noodles with Sesame Dressing

Put that spiralizer to good use with these cold cucumber noodles. The rice vinegar and sesame oil dressing gives it the perfect amount of kick to lighten up your meal.

11. How To Make Hasselback Tater Tots

What’s not to love about these sliced tots? Like with larger potatoes, the slices increase the amount of surface area, giving the tots an extra-crunchy texture.

12. Smoky Creamed Kale

Don’t limit yourself to kale salads this summer; we also love making this rich, garlicky, cheesy dish. In fact, try a dollop of it on top of your burger. You won’t be disappointed.

13. Slow-Cooked Cider Beans

It wouldn’t be a cookout without beans. This updated baked beans recipe might take a bit longer to make than opening a can, but we guarantee the results are worth it. You’ll be the hero of the party if you bring these to your next potluck.

14. Grilled Zucchini Rollups with Ricotta & Herbs

If you want something a bit fancier for a cookout with friends, opt for these grilled zucchini rollups. They are a cinch to assemble, but look like you spent all afternoon on them. That’s a win-win in our book.

15. Cheesy Grilled Potato Packets

Want a side dish that you can make on the grill and that involves very little cleanup? These cheesy potato packets are the answer. You can prepare them while your burger patties are chilling, and then grill them right alongside the meat.

16. Grilled Cabbage Wedges with Spicy Lime Dressing

Putting cabbage on the grill might not be your first instinct, but believe us — you’re going to want to try this recipe. The spicy, citrusy dressing complements the slightly charred wedges perfectly.

17. How To Roast Shishito Peppers

Roasted or grilled shishito peppers are one of our favorite things about summer. The charred skins, the mellow flavor of most of the peppers (with a few spicy ones tossed in) — we can’t get enough. Serve them as an appetizer or a side dish.

18. Three-Bean Salad

Few things spell summer more than a classic three-bean salad. The combination of textures and flavors all in a sweet-tart vinegar dressing is enough to complete any summer meal. We recommend making enough so you’ll be able to enjoy leftovers with lunch the next day.

19. How To Cook Corn on the Cob

Corn on the cob is a staple of summer cookouts. While you can grill it, we sometimes prefer it prepared on the stovetop. Dealer’s choice! Either way, make sure you include plenty of butter and salt when you bring it to the table.

20. Spiced Oven Fries with Garlic Spread

Of course, we would never say no to French fries served alongside a burger, but we like to spice things up a bit. This oven-baked fry recipe adds a dusting of sumac, a lemony spice frequently found in Mediterranean cuisine, and swaps the ketchup for a delicious garlic spread. Your steak would be very happy with a pile of these sitting next to it.

21. Corn & Zucchini Salad with Chives

This salad is like summer in a bowl, since it makes use of two of our favorite seasonal veggies. Quickly sautéing everything gives it a bit of a caramelized flavor. The good news is that you can serve it hot from the stove or at room temperature.

22. Roasted Mushrooms with Herbs

We don’t normally think of mushrooms as a side dish in their own right, but this recipe will have you changing your tune. The perfectly roasted mushrooms are tangy and savory at the same time and double as a topping or side depending on your mood.

23. Grilled Zucchini & Grape Tomato Salad

While you’re grilling your dinner, add a few zucchini to the flames as well. Then you can chop them up and toss them with grape tomatoes, herbs, and a balsamic vinegar dressing.

24. Summer Farro Salad with Tomatoes, Cucumbers & Basil

If you have all of these herbs and veggies growing in your backyard, this salad will be your new summer favorite. It also has the added benefit of being a great vegetarian main dish.

25. How To Cook Collard Greens

When it comes to collard greens, we like to stick to tradition and cook them with a ham hock and plenty of garlic and onion in a Dutch oven. The result is the most comforting dish you could ever imagine.

26. Snap Peas with Meyer Lemon and Mint

Admittedly, this is a bit of an unusual choice for burgers, but it’s the perfect pairing for a seafood burger or any grilled fish, thanks to the lemon and mint combo.

27. Squash Ribbons

We normally serve summer squash cooked, so this raw salad of squash ribbons, basil, pine nuts, and goat cheese is a nice change of pace. Make it before you grill your mains so the dressing has time to really soak in.

28. Salt and Vinegar Cucumbers

These quick-pickled cucumbers are the perfect counterpart to things like burgers and steaks, since they’re a nice contrast to their richness.

29. Light & Easy Broccoli Salad

While this colorful slaw calls for currants, they aren’t always the easiest ingredient to find — raisins and dried cranberries are perfect substitutions.

30. The Ultimate Grilled Zucchini Salad

While you’ve got the grill fired up, toss a bunch of zucchini on it to made this easy salad. The warm slices soak up a savory oregano dressing and feta adds a dose of salty goodness.

31. Broccoli & Feta Pasta Salad

Skip your normal pasta salad recipe in favor of this updated one. It’s chock-full of sautéed broccoli, crumbly feta, and salty olives. It’s great with burgers or grilled chicken.

(Image credit: Lauren Volo)

32. Summer Squash Succotash

When you’re overloaded with zucchini, summer squash, and tomatoes, this light and fresh mix is how to serve them up with supper.

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