It’s summertime and the cooking should be easy. When the weather heats up, the last thing you want is to do is slog away in the kitchen making an elaborate dinner. These easy, low-stress sides deliver big on healthy flavor without all the fuss. From no-cook, crunchy salads to herby whole grain sides, here’s what you should be serving alongside all things grilled, baked, and roasted this summer.
Shaved Zucchini-Fennel Salad
When the weather heats up, summer squash is everywhere. To take advantage of this bounty, work this easy salad into your summer side rotation. Taking just minutes to put together, thin ribbons of zucchini and bright, crunchy fennel are tossed in a lemon-vinaigrette and studded with salty cheese and red onion.
Radicchio Salad with Corn & Roasted Red Peppers
This no-cook, crunchy salad has the perfect mix of fresh seasonal vegetables and pantry staples. Sweet corn kernels, ripe cherry tomatoes, black beans and roasted red peppers create the base of this Southwestern side. Just before serving, add bold, bitter radicchio leaves and butter lettuce and toss it all in a kicky cumin-lime dressing.
Lemony Carrot Salad
This picnic-friendly salad combines shredded carrots with fresh dill and scallions and comes together in minutes. Serve this salad with baked Almond-Crusted Tilapia for an easy Paleo meal.
Minted Peas & Rice with Feta
Need a side dish that pairs well with all kinds of proteins? This is the one. Bright, spring ingredients like peas and mint are tossed with fiber-rich brown rice and crumbled feta. Add some shredded rotisserie chicken, lemon-garlic shrimp, or roasted pork tenderloin for a hearty meal or stir in some canned chickpeas for a quick, well-rounded lunch.
Cauliflower & Couscous Pilaf
Bite-sized cauliflower florets are simmered in a base of stock, orange juice and currants in this Moroccan-inspired side dish. Whole wheat couscous is added and steamed right in the same pot to infuse the flavor into the grains. While the pilaf is steaming, sear a few cumin-dusted salmon fillets for an effortless weeknight dinner that comes together in under 30 minutes.
Spanish-Inspired Tomato Salad
When tomatoes are at their peak, this salad is the perfect recipe to highlight their sweet and acidic flavor. Chunks of tomatoes are tossed in a Garlic-Paprika dressing with salty capers, toasted breadcrumbs, and fresh chopped parsley. Grill up a few pieces of country bread and rub with garlic to scoop up this sweet and savory salad.
Snow Peas with Creamy Ranch Dressing
In this simple riff on cole slaw, crunchy slices of snow peas stand in for cabbage and are tossed in a tangy buttermilk dressing. Finely chopped red onions add spice and bright color. Have peak spring ingredients like snap peas, green beans, or a head of lettuce on hand? They’d be great additions to this lively side.
Lemon-Herb Roasted Beets
Tender, fresh herbs and lemon zest create the flavor base in this easy beet recipe. Toss peeled and diced beets in the vinaigrette and roast in the oven until golden brown and tender. Have any leftovers? Toss together this Fennel, Citrus & Roasted Beet Salad.