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, 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.
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.
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
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.
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.