Grill Recipes sides
No cookout (or celebratory meal of any kind) is complete without a few side dishes. And we're not talking limp store-bought coleslaw or bland baked beans—we take our side dishes seriously in these parts. Since you'll likely have your grill up and running already, it's a natural move to make some space for side dishes, too: grilled corn, cabbage, mushrooms, even oysters for a terrific starter. But, for the sake of ease and practicality, you need options for sides you can make ahead as well—especially chilled items that'll cleanse your guests' palates of all those charred flavors. We've got you covered with dishes like a cooling watermelon, mint, and feta salad (improved with just a couple of simple tricks) and banh mi–inspired panzanella. All that and more follows in this list of 30 delicious side dish recipes.
[Photograph: J. Kenji López-Alt]
Unless you live in a handful of Gulf or Pacific states, grilled oysters might be an unfamiliar concept. But they're a wonderful splurge for a special occasion, and particularly appropriate if you find yourself with oysters that you don't love raw. Just shuck the oysters, top them with a flavorful compound butter (try garlic-parsley, Parmesan-basil, or kimchi), and grill until the butter is melted and the liquid inside the shells is bubbling.
Grilled Green Bean Salad With Red Peppers and Radishes
Our favorite cookout salads combine the smoky flavor of grilled vegetables with the fresh crunch of raw ones. Case in point: this combo of blistered green beans, sweet raw red peppers, spicy radishes, and scallions, tossed in a simple dressing of olive oil, Dijon mustard, and lemon juice. It's not so much a recipe as it is a template: Swap in whatever vegetables you like (grilled asparagus and raw shallots? Grilled cauliflower with vinegary capers?) according to the same formula.
Grilled Skewered Shishito Peppers With Teriyaki Glaze
If you're preparing chicken yakitori for your Labor Day get-together, you'll need vegetables to accompany it, and you may as well stick to the skewer theme. Sweet green shishito peppers pair well with teriyaki sauce (homemade strongly preferred), and grilling them is fast and easy. Double-skewering them makes flipping a snap.
Grilled King Oyster Mushrooms With Bacon and Teriyaki Glaze
For a side-on-a-stick that's a bit more showy, we slice meaty king oyster mushrooms into one-inch pieces, then reassemble them on skewers, alternating the pieces with bacon. As the fat from the bacon renders on the grill, the mushrooms will be more than happy to absorb all that smoky flavor and added moisture—they won't end up dry, as so many grilled mushrooms do.
Grilled Mixed Mushrooms With Sesame Dressing
[Photograph: Shao Z.]
Here's a more basic technique for keeping grilled mushrooms juicy: Just cut them into uniform pieces and grill them over moderate, indirect heat. When grilling a variety of 'shrooms, like portobellos, creminis, shiitakes, and king trumpets, skewer each type separately to ensure even cooking. These meaty bites don't need a sauce, but basting them with a blend of mirin, sesame seeds, and soy sauce punches up the flavor and provides a little insurance against drying out.
Simple Grilled-Potato Salad With Grilled-Lemon Vinaigrette
Though a good mayo-based, traditional potato salad can be a lovely thing, once you try a grilled-potato salad, you may find it hard to go back. Here, we parboil the potatoes, toss them in a simple mixture of olive oil and herbs, and cook them over direct heat until they're crispy and well browned. Lemon halves, thrown on the grill alongside them and charred for a deeper flavor, become a tangy vinaigrette for dressing. The recipe is vegan as is, but a little bacon wouldn't be out of place if you feel so inclined.
Grilled Flatbread With Olive Oil and Za'atar
When I was growing up, my Palestinian grandmother would make tray after tray of soft flatbread, topped with olive oil and the earthy, aromatic Middle Eastern spice blend za'atar. In this version, we add yogurt to the dough to make it especially tender, and grill it until it's golden brown, charred in spots, and warmed through. Don't be shy with the za'atar, either—the bread ought to be caked in the stuff.
Grilled Scallion Pancakes
Our scallion pancakes come out great when made in a skillet, but also work amazingly well on the grill. Cooked over live fire, they develop puffier interiors and shatteringly crisp crusts—just what we're looking for in our scallion pancakes.
Grilled Tofu With Chipotle-Miso Sauce
Despite their varied provenances, salty miso and smoky chipotle are a perfect team for flavoring slabs of crispy grilled tofu. We marinate the tofu in some of the mixture before grilling and brush the rest on after to add more savoriness and spice.
Simple Grilled Asparagus
Few vegetables are as easy to grill as asparagus, or as satisfying. With a little olive oil and salt and a hot fire, you can transform the fresh-flavored stalks into an incredibly addictive finger food—charred and a bit shriveled at the top, while retaining a juicy snap. Don't forget to whip up some creamy two-minute aioli for dipping.
Grilled Cabbage With Spicy Thai Dressing
If the only way you've ever eaten cabbage at a barbecue is in coleslaw form, you're missing out. When grilled over very high heat, cabbage takes on a sweet, nutty flavor and crisps up on the outside, but keeps its crunchy center. Here, we serve it with a fiery Thai-inspired sauce made with chili, fish sauce, garlic, and lots of herbs.
Grilled Cabbage With Yogurt and Mint
For a cooling, creamy complement to a smoky wedge of grilled cabbage, try this Greek-inspired sauce of yogurt infused with olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, and fresh mint and parsley. The rich consistency of a yogurt-based sauce nicely bridges the gap between grilled cabbage and coleslaw.
Grilled Cabbage Wedges With Ginger-Miso Dressing
[Photograph: Joshua Bousel]
Here, we sauce our grilled cabbage with a powerful ginger-miso dressing that's sweet, salty, earthy, and tangy all at the same time. Its balance of flavors comes from a mixture of brown sugar, rice vinegar, sesame oil, and hot red pepper flakes.