5-ingredient barbecue side dishes that are fresh, easy and delicious

Getting ready for a barbecue is enough work—once you’ve figured out the main dish, drinks and dessert, the sides can fall into afterthought territory. But before you go and buy a sad store-bought veggie tray, check out these easy five-ingredient sides for inspiration for your next get-together.

Cucumber-tomato salad

Christina Hibbs

Cucumber, tomato, mozzarella, red onion, Italian dressing—there’s nothing in here most picky eaters won’t eat, yet this 5-Ingredient Summer Salad from blogger Christina Hibbs feels like a big step up from the typical iceberg lettuce-and-tomato job we often see at barbecues. She neatly chops the tomatoes, cucumbers, and onion, then tosses it all with the dressing and mozz, making it feel like a dressier, crisper version of a caprese salad. Get the recipe.

Grilled peppers

Carrian Cheney

Don’t be surprised if these queso-stuffed beauties—dubbed The Best Grilled Peppers by Oh Sweet Basil blogger Carrian Cheney—go first at the party. Essentially made with only two ingredients, sweet banana peppers and queso fresco (plus a little olive oil, salt and pepper), they couldn’t be simpler, or tastier. Get the recipe.

Grilled corn

Chanie Apfelbaum

Before you boil that beautiful farm-stand corn, think of this Grilled Corn with Za’atar-Garlic Butter from Chanie Apfelbaum over at Busy in Brooklyn. She gives great instructions on how to grill corn, plus her recipe for a butter seasoned with za’atar, a trendy spice that is becoming widely available, and will give the corn an eastern-Mediterranean flair. Get the recipe.

Stovetop mac and cheese

Philia Kelnhofer

Barbecued meat begs for mac and cheese to go with, and this tried-and-true, white-cheddar Stovetop Mac is one of Sweet Phi blogger Philia Kelnhofer’s all-time favorite recipes. And the kid-friendly dish comes together with 10 minutes of prep and 10 minutes of cooking. Get the recipe.

Watermelon salad

Linda Spiker

Triangles of watermelon have their place, but if you’re looking for something a little snazzier, look to this crowd-pleasing Watermelon Salad with Mint and Feta from The Organic Kitchen’s . She finishes the dish with sea salt and a drizzle of white balsamic, which she finds smoother than other vinegars. Get the recipe.

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