It’s Summertime Cookouts season, friends, and it’s time for family picnics, neighbourhood pottery and backyard barbecues. So don’t be afraid to set aside the regular price and get creative! Like the ones I’ve included here, all kinds of healthy Summertime Cookouts and delicious side dish ideas don’t require much time or effort and are perfect for mild, warm weather.

Tips for a Successful Barbecue in Summertime Cookouts

Tips for a Successful Barbecue in Summertime Cookouts

  • Guess what others will bring. Another guest will likely arrive with a bag of tortilla chips and a tub of salsa, baked beans, or pasta salad. Again, avoid copying standard cooking sides.
  • Think light and bright. Go for lots of veggies without heavy sauces or dressings. Salads with mayonnaise or sour cream must stay cold, which can be tricky at outdoor parties.
  • Go for the season. Summertime Cookouts are the high season for fruits and vegetables, so centre your meals around the prize. Add tons of fresh herbs for flavour.
  • Please keep it simple. Fresh, seasonal produce is so delicious that you don’t have to worry. Instead of baking strudel, put together slices of peach and blueberry from the farmer’s market on a beautiful plate.
  • Just wings. The following are not more recipes than suggestions for combining ingredients and flavours. That’s the beauty of working with seasonal materials.
  • If you don’t want to cook, make exciting choices. Bring hummus and flavoured veggies (cherry tomatoes, sweet garden carrots, cucumber slices) instead of chips and salsa. Or prepare a plate of assorted olives, roasted red peppers, pickled mushrooms, cherry tomatoes and mini balls of fresh mozzarella.

Quick and Easy Summer Bbq Side Dish Recipes – Summertime Cookouts

Tomato and Melon Salad

In a large serving bowl, combine chunks of fresh vine-ripened tomatoes and seedless watermelon or melon—season with salt and pepper before drizzling with good olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Add a large handful of chopped fresh basil or parsley. Before serving, add a little crumbled feta cheese if desired.

Corn and  Cherry Tomato Salad

Cut the kernels from 3 or 4 cobs of fresh sweet corn in a bowl. Add half a litre of cherry tomatoes; Season with salt and pepper. In a small saucepan, combine three tablespoons of olive oil and one tablespoon of minced garlic. Transport to a boil and cook for one tiny. Pour the hot garlic oil over the vegetables and toss lightly. Add a large handful of chopped fresh herbs.

Whole Grain and Tomato Salad

Cook a cup of pearl farro or barley according to package directions. Strain and transfer to a serving bowl. Add 2 cups chopped ripe tomatoes, one minced garlic clove and chopped red onion to taste—season with salt and pepper. Drizzle with good olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Add a large handful of chopped fresh herbs.

Grilled Watermelon and Shrimp Skewers – Summertime Cookouts

Another fruit that gets a delicious smoky flavour on the grill is watermelon. Skewer it with marinated shrimp for a healthy dinner that takes just minutes to prepare.

Start by marinating the shrimp with lemon zest and juice, mint, thyme, chilli flakes, garlic, salt and pepper. Then, you can use flat metal skewers or soak the bamboo versions for 30 minutes.

Thread the watermelon pieces onto six to nine skewers, and do the same for the shrimp. Grill the skewers until charcoal marks appear on the watermelon and the shrimp through is cooked.


Finish your Summertime Cookouts meals with a healthy peach basil sorbet for dessert. You will need frozen peaches, maple syrup or honey, coconut milk and basil leaves. Process peaches in a food processor and add additional ingredients until smooth, then freeze.