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14 Healthier Side Dishes for Your Summer BBQ

Thanks to Minute Maid® Pure Squeezed for sponsoring this post. Click here to see more of the discussion.

“Summertime, and the living’s easy”

Summer.

School’s out, the sun’s out, and the BBQ pits are out.

As soon as the weather turns warmer in our neck of the woods,  the BBQ pits shed their winter coats and the smell of BBQ smoke mingles in the air with the sounds of laughter and the sizzling sound of meat hitting the grills.

BBQing in Texas is a way of life.

In Texas you BBQ for birthdays, holidays, parties, and any other day that ends in ‘Y’.

Everyone in Texas has the secret ingredient that makes their sauce the best, their rub the spiciest, their meat the juiciest, and their BBQ the best.

The holy trinity of BBQ in Texas includes Brisket – Sausage- Ribs.

Barbecue Brisket and Sandwich

The lesser shown, but equally delicious, BBQ participants are Pork, Chicken, Shrimp and Fish.

One thing about summer is it’s hot – in Texas it’s hotter than hot – it’s sidewalk scorching, mind-meltingly hot, and yet the BBQs don’t stop.  The grills keep getting lit, the kids keep playing, and we keep eating and celebrating summer and life.

There’s a freedom to getting out of the house, setting up the pop up tables and folding chairs and cooking and eating outside under blue skies with the sounds of kids playing in the yards echoing off the concrete.  There’s something to the fresh air that increases the appetite, and gets you munching.

Summer BBQs are filled with more than just the main meat hot off the grill, there’s also all the traditional, delicious side dishes like potato salad, baked beans, coleslaw, and chips that just complement the smoked/grilled meat so well.  I love every bit of summer BBQ food – it’s as comforting and filling to my soul as it is to my stomach, however – we, like many of y’all, are trying to eat healthier and fresher.

I still want my ribs slathered in BBQ spice, my brisket with it’s crisp crust and smoke ring, and my spicy sausage with mustard – I also want the yummy sides that inevitably show up at the summer BBQ.

Because I want my BBQ and I want to be able to eat it, too I polled some of my favorite food bloggers for their favorite lighter and healthier summer BBQ side dishes.

Thanks to them, I’m starving, and I have 14 delicious side dishes that will leave your friends and neighbors begging you to host the next summer BBQ.


  • 14 Healthy and Lighter Side Dishes for your Summer BBQ 1 of 15
    14 Healthy and Lighter Side Dishes for your Summer BBQ
  • Lighter Coleslaw 2 of 15
    Lighter Coleslaw
    Whether you use it to top your barbecue sandwich, or eat it as a straight side dish; coleslaw is an ever present and very traditional bbq side dish. If you love coleslaw, but want a lighter, healthier version then you must check out Rachel Cooks' recipe for Reduced Fat, Creamy Coleslaw
  • Skinny Potato Salad 3 of 15
    Skinny Potato Salad
    Perhaps the most iconic side dish for the summer BBQ is potato salad. Bakeaholic Mama has an absolutely delicious looking Skinny Grilled Potato Salad that can be made with or without grilled chicken.
  • Quinoa Fruit Salad 4 of 15
    Quinoa Fruit Salad
    Delicious and refreshing, this Quinoa Fruit Salad with Honey Lime Dressing would be an absolutely wonderful addition to any Summer BBQ. Get the Recipe on Two Peas and Their Pod
  • Grilled Avocados with Black Bean and Sweet Corn Pico 5 of 15
    Grilled Avocados with Black Bean and Sweet Corn Pico
    I think this is my new favorite appetizer and side dish. Grilled avocados are absolutely amazing, and healthy! A Southern Fairytale
  • Brown Sugar Brussels Sprouts 6 of 15
    Brown Sugar Brussels Sprouts
    I know what you're thinking, brussels sprouts aren't exactly typical BBQ fare, but I can't imagine anyone turning down these delicious Brown Sugar Bacon Brussels Sprouts. Get the recipe on Savory Simple
  • Broccoli Salad with Currants and Almonds 7 of 15
    Broccoli Salad with Currants and Almonds
    Fresh broccoli with currants and almonds, tossed with a delicious citrus-y, zingy, creamy yogurt dressing. This would be a yummy addition to any BBQ. Get the recipe on Savour-Fare
  • Spicy Grilled Corn 8 of 15
    Spicy Grilled Corn
    Summer corn is absolutely wonderful. It's bursting with flavor and is easy to find and is a perfect summer BBQ side dish. Get the Spicy Grilled Corn recipe on Mama's Gotta Bake
  • Watermelon Salad with Ricotta Salatta 9 of 15
    Watermelon Salad with Ricotta Salatta
    Ice cold watermelon, citrus, mint, ricotta salatta, and red onion combine to create an unforgettable and one of a kind side dish. Get the recipe on Cooking in Stilettos
  • Grilled Corn Salad with Avocado, Tomato and Lime 10 of 15
    Grilled Corn Salad with Avocado, Tomato and Lime
    Fresh flavors of summer combine with sweet grilled corn, ripe tomatoes, avocados, cilantro and citrus in a side dish that is bursting with flavor. Get the recipe on Liv Life
  • Black Eyed Pea Ceviche 11 of 15
    Black Eyed Pea Ceviche
    Making this before the BBQ is the key. That allows all the fresh wonderful flavors to combine into an incredible side dish that just might possibly eclipse the main dish! Get this Black Eyed Pea Ceviche recipe on Fork You - No Fork You
  • Tomato Cobbler 12 of 15
    Tomato Cobbler
    Okay it's not a side dish, but how could you possibly say no to this delicious summer Tomato Cobbler from Smith Bites.
  • Crock Pot Balsamic & Honey Carrots 13 of 15
    Crock Pot Balsamic & Honey Carrots
    A crock pot recipe at a BBQ?!! It's not blasphemy, I swear. Especially when it saves you time, keeps you from heating up the kitchen AND delivers a recipe as delicious and memorable as these Crock-Pot Balsamic & Honey Carrots The Realistic Nutritionist.
  • Oven Roasted Radishes with Peas and Dill 14 of 15
    Oven Roasted Radishes with Peas and Dill
    Every BBQ needs a burst of color and a dish that takes everyone by surprise. I have a feeling that this Oven Roasted Radishes dish from Around My Family Table will definitely fit the bill.
  • Grilled Potato Salad 15 of 15
    Grilled Potato Salad
    This is not your average potato salad. Grilled potatoes with charred onions and peppers and tossed in a light and healthy vinaigrette. Get the Grilled Potato Salad recipe on Crumb

 

 

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