“Summertime, and the living’s easy”
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, and ribs.
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 10 delicious side dishes that will leave your friends and neighbors begging you to host the next summer BBQ.
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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 & Their Pod.
4. 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! Try these from A Southern Fairytale.
5. 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.
6. 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 from The Domestic Front.
7. Watermelon Salad with Ricotta Salata
Ice cold watermelon, citrus, mint, ricotta salata, and red onion combine to create an unforgettable and one of a kind side dish. Get the recipe on Cooking in Stilettos.
8. 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.
9. 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.
10. 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.