I have to say that my one of my favorite things about summer is cooking outside. The summer breeze, a cool drink in your hand? What is not to love? BBQs and picnics are a great way to get outside, enjoy the weather and spend time with friends and family. Traditional BBQ dishes can range anywhere from salad, baked beans, potato salad, and plenty of desserts. I asked our dietitians to tell me what their favorite healthy BBQ side dishes were when planning for their summer festivities, check out their responses!

Take a look at our Healthy BBQ Side Dishes

1. Strawberry Fields Salad

Strawberry Fields Salad


Strawberry Fields salad is a great way to highlight the colorful, festive tasty strawberries. Click here for recipe.

2. Lentil Salad

don't feel like cooking lentil salad

Lentil Salad (photo credit Kaitlin Eckstein)


Lentils are a common ingredient used in Southeast Asian style cooking and are a great source of protein. Our lentil salad uses tomatoes and cucumbers, both which are in season during the summer! Top with some feta cheese for a yummy salad. This recipe is so easy:

Grab a package of cooked lentils from Trader Joe’s, and toss with cucumber, tomato, and feta cheese. Finish off with a drizzle of olive oil and champagne vinegar, and fresh cracked black pepper.

3. Baked Beans

healthy recipe

Baked Beans (photo credit Klara Knezevic)


Who doesn’t love a good helping of baked beans with a hamburger? Beans themselves are a great source of fiber, which can help keep your regular, and keep your cholesterol down. However, canned baked beans can often be high in sugar and salt. Check out our version, that features a surprising ingredient! See recipe here.

4. Lightened Up Coleslaw

healthy BBQ side dishes

Another BBQ favorite, but can often be high in saturated fat and sodium! Our version uses greek yogurt, which cuts down on the fat, and increases the protein! Here is our easy homemade recipe.

5. Chickpea Tomato Salad

Chick Pea Tomato Salad

Chickpeas are another great source of fiber, and are the main ingredient in hummus! Our taste side dish uses chickpeas, tomatoes and cucumbers to make a delicious, mediterranean side dish. Chickpea tomato salad recipe.

6. Mexican Street Corn Salad

healthy BBQ side dishes

Traditionally, Mexican street corn is grilled corn on the cob, that is covered in crema, queso fresco and some cayenne. This salad combines all of that into a simple, easy to make salad! Take a look at the recipe here.

7. Watermelon Feta Mint Salad

Watermelon Feta Salad

Photo credit Kaitlin Eckstein


This delicious watermelon salad recipe is and refreshing salad comes together in minutes, and pairs well with almost anything! Serve with grilled chicken and fish for a light summer meal.

8. Grilled Ratatouille

Grilled Ratatouille


Ratatouille is a traditional french side dish, that is chock full of veggies! Plus side, making it on the grill means that you don’t need to dirty another dish!

Do you want more ideas on healthy BBQ side dishes to make for your next BBQ?

Check out our searchable recipe database by ingredient, meal, condition, cooking method and cuisine! Click here for RECIPE DATABASE.

Need dessert ideas? We have you covered! Grilled peaches are the best.

grilled peach

If you would like help planning your next meals for your next BBQ, make an appointment with one of our dietitians by clicking here or calling 301-474-2499. 

Blog reviewed and updated March 2020.

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