Summer Cookout Sides

7 Summer Cookout Sides That Will WOW

Summer cookouts are good, old-fashioned fun! Fire up the grill, invite a few friends over, and make some memories. Whenever possible, make simple summer cookout sides so that you can enjoy the evening and not spend all of your time in the kitchen while everyone else is outside. Here are 7 easy sides to make for a BBQ that will WOW your friends and family. 

  1. Deviled Eggs with OMG! Lemon Pepper Pretzels are a perfect summer cookout appetizer or side dish. You can make them ahead of time and keep them cool in the fridge until it’s cookout time. If you make a few dozen eggs, you can top some deviled eggs with bacon and others with chives for a variety of flavors and textures for your guests. To serve them, here comes the WOW, place your serving platter on a bed of ice instead of a slightly larger tray. This keeps the eggs cool at your cookout and looks fancy!
  2. Pesto Pasta Salad can be served cool or room temperature, which is great if you’re running low on fridge space while you prep for your summer BBQ. We like to use a short pasta – orzo, ditalini or macaroni – for this. Cook the pasta and then add your pesto; store bought is fine if you don’t want to make your own. Here’s where the WOW comes in: add lots of color! Throw in a handful of yellow grape tomatoes, dice in a red bell pepper and a carrot or two (depending on the size) for a punch of brightness and freshness.  
  3. Broccoli Slaw with OMG! Chesapeake Spice Pretzels is another side dish that you can make a few hours in advance, even longer if you don’t add the dressing right away. For this, we like to use the packs of shredded broccoli slaw you can get at the grocery store; it usually has some carrots and cabbage mixed in. For a crowd of 5 or more, you’ll need 3 bags at least. For the dressing, we like to go with a classic flavor like ranch because it pairs well with the seasoning in our Chesapeake Spice pretzel nuggets. You can use store bought dressing, but if you do, thin it out a bit with a few splashes of buttermilk. Toss everything together in a big bowl and for the WOW on top, add lightly crushed Chesapeake Spice pretzels and slivered almonds. 
  4. Veggie & Potato Packs do need space on the grill, so be sure to plan that into your cookout schedule. You can mix these up with any combination of veggies and potatoes that you like. In the center of a 8×8 square of aluminum foil, add a drizzle of olive oil and then your veggies – we like to use slices of sweet potato, red onion, broccoli and zucchini – then sprinkle salt and pepper and wrap up the pack. Grill it for 20 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. The WOW for this summer cookout side comes from the fact that each guest gets their own little parcel when it’s time to eat. 
  5. A Salad Platter is super easy to make but the looks of it give it a WOW. You’ll need a large board for this summer cookout side set up. The key for this dish is lots of color and variety of veggies. So, we say grab 2 or 3 kinds of lettuce and place them in the center of the platter. Then, add tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, bell peppers, radishes, crumbles of blue cheese, and OMG! Garlic Proutons around the board in little mounds. Then, nestle in small bowls of different dressings and let people build their own summer salad. It’s fun, interactive, healthy and delicious! 
  6. Fruit Salad with Fresh Herbs takes a simple summer cookout side over the top. The fresh herbs are the key to making this fruit salad a WOW. We think mint, tarragon or basil work best for fruit salad, but be sure to pick one! One combination we love are fresh peaches with basil; we like to drizzle on white balsamic vinegar as well with a touch of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt. A classic summer side salad is watermelon and mint; you can add some feta cheese for a touch of salt and creaminess as well. 
  7. Pretzel Salad with OMG! Sweet & Salty Pretzels adds a touch of whimsy to your summer BBQ menu. It’s a throwback recipe that is fun and makes eating dessert with your dinner acceptable. What other WOW do you need? This one is also a make-ahead option and a summer side dish you must try. 

Whether you decide to try one, two, or more of these summer cookout side dishes, we hope they help make your summer BBQ festivities more delicious and fun! 

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