8 Quick No-Cook Summer Sides

watermelon salad

In the heat of summer, the last thing we want to do is post up in front of the hot stove making dinner every night. But that doesn’t mean you have to compromise on putting together a flavorful, home-cooked meal. This round-up of refreshing recipes will help you make side dishes that highlight seasonal produce without breaking a sweat. 

Corn, Arugula & Tomato Salad

This salad is the perfect example of the mantra “if it grows together, it goes together.” Corn kernels are cut right off the cob and tossed in a shallot vinaigrette with sweet cherry tomatoes and peppery arugula. Set the shallots aside to pickle in the vinegar while you grill these Rosemary-Salmon Skewers and toss the salad just before serving.

Zucchini and Asparagus with Parmesan and Pine Nuts

Your peeler is the workhorse for unique prep technique in this Italian-inspired side dish.  Thin ribbons of raw zucchini are tossed with asparagus, salty bits of Parmesan and crunchy pine nuts in an easy lemon dressing. Bake this easy One-Pan Roasted Garlic Chicken for a flavorful, no-fuss dinner.

Cole Slaw with Poppy Seed Dressing

Crunchy coleslaw is a summer staple, but mayo-based dressing can’t handle the heat. This version is tossed in a tangy honey-mustard vinaigrette with sweet apples and scallions. Serve this slaw with these Oven Fried Chicken Thighs for a healthier take on a Southern summer meal.

Tomato and Watermelon Gazpacho

Summer is the time to make Gazpacho when ingredients are at their peak. The balance of sweet watermelon and acidic tomatoes in this recipe makes for a refreshing addition to any meal. Grill this Eggplant & Portobello Sandwich for a light alfresco meal. Head’s up that cold soups usually need more assertive seasoning, so don’t be shy with the heat and vinegar; it will mellow out as the soup chills.

Snow Peas with Creamy Ranch Dressing

Buttermilk adds tang to the lightened-up dressing in this refreshing salad.  We suggest doubling the dressing to drizzle over green salads and as a dip for carrots and cucumbers. Snap peas make a great substitute for if you can’t find snow peas at the market.

Lemony Carrot Salad

Carrots are a staple in our crisper drawer, so we’re always looking for new ways to use them. Here, shredded carrots are tossed with dill and scallions in a lemony dressing. Not into dill? This salad is easy to customize. Swap in cilantro and rice vinegar to top these Asian Salmon Burgers, or add cumin, lime juice and pepitas for classic Southwestern flavor.

Crunchy Bok Choy Slaw

Most recipes call for bok choy to be sautéed, but this member of the cabbage family also makes a delicious raw slaw.  Make sure to toss the salad just before serving to keep bok choy crunchy. Bake up some Sweet & Sour Turkey Teriyaki Meatballs and steamed brown rice to serve alongside this salad in a healthy grain bowl.

Watermelon Salad with Feta and Olives

This colorful, Insta-worthy salad is the perfect choice to bring to a picnic or summer party. Refreshing chunks of watermelon are tossed with briny olives, feta, and bright herbs in a lemony dressing. Eating at home?  This easy pork tenderloin is an easy choice to round out the meal.

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