Heat up the grill, it’s that time of year again! Warm nights, fun outdoor hangouts, insanely delicious barbecue—these are just a few of our favorite summer things! If a backyard barbecue is on your agenda (it should be!), you’ll love these totally tasty summer sides.

Let’s face it, food just tastes better during this time of year. If you’re planning a big backyard bash or a low-key hang with family, these refreshing sides are the perfect dishes to serve alongside some life-changing barbecue. Mexican street corn, pasta salads, pineapple salsas—okay, we’re drooling already. You just name a time and place, we’ll be there with hungry bellies!


The most popular grilling and barbecue holiday is the Fourth of July, with 87 percent of Americans taking part! Other popular days include Memorial Day, Father’s Day and Labor Day.


barbecue foodpasta salad

Creamy Chicken and Arugula Pasta Salad

Smoky grilled chicken is tossed alongside pasta (take your pick—we love elbow or rotini for some added texture, but any will work!), fresh arugula and cheese for texture in this standard side with a twist. Plus, the creamy dressing is loaded with flavorful herbs and is still light in texture and taste. Find the recipe here!

Mexican street corn

Mexican Street Corn on the Cob

Why make plain grilled corn on the cob when you can make elote?! This popular street food in Mexico is served with cotija cheese and chili powder for a tiny kick (you can always omit, if you don’t like heat). And don’t be afraid of the mayo⁠—it turns into a creamy sauce that blends with the chili powder and cheese. Then grab a drink, and don’t forget to squeeze some lime at the end for an extra zing! Get the recipe for this favorite!


Elotes are a popular late-night snack in Mexican culture, with street vendors all across Mexico putting their own twist on the corn toppings, like Hot Cheetos elote!


salad ingredients

Mediterranean Bean Salad

Zesty lemon juice? Check. Creamy Chickpeas? Check. Tart feta? Check. This Mediterranean bean salad is everything you want in a summer side! Super light, refreshing and easy to make. You can switch out the beans with your favorites, though we prefer chickpeas, white northern beans and black beans. Serve as a side, and then save the leftovers for lunch the next day. Try out this quick and easy recipe.

outdoor grillingcaprese salad on plate

Caprese Salad

Would this really be a CGGM roundup without an Italian dish?! We didn’t think so. Which is why Caprese was a no brainer when thinking up summer sides. The creamy mozzarella, fresh tomato and bold basil create such an effortlessly delicious dish. Then drizzle olive oil across, sprinkle salt and pepper and you’re good to go. Add this recipe to your barbecue menu.


Caprese salad originated back in the 1950s on the Isle of Capri, but quickly became a country—and global—favorite.


summer salads

Watermelon Feta Salad

Is there anything more refreshing than this watermelon salad? It’s light enough to really complement any main dish, but still holds its own with feta, mint, cucumber and onion to pair alongside sweet watermelon. You may want to make two batches, it always goes fast! Grab the quick and easy recipe here.


The first mention of a “barbecue” in America dates from 1733, when Benjamin Lynde of Salem, Massachusetts, wrote in his diary on August 31st, “Fair and hot; Browne; Barbacue. hack overset.”


sliced pineapple

Pineapple Salsa

This amazing recipe serves this tasty salsa inside a pineapple! Um, yes, please! Serve alongside tortilla chips or a bowl of your favorite veggies and you’re in business. This can be a pre-dinner appetizer or served as a side if your barbecue has a Mexican flair. Or skip the main and just eat this. This is City Girl Gone Mom—there are no rules here. Learn how to make this amazing recipe here.


Salsawhich is made up of a combination of chilies, tomatoes and other spicescan be traced to the Aztecs, Mayans and Incas.


woman grilling

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