Healthy Summer Side Dish Recipes

Find healthy, delicious summer side dish recipes, from the food and nutrition experts at EatingWell.

Staff Picks

Japanese Cucumber Salad

Rating: Unrated
20
This Japanese-inspired cool, crisp salad is as elegant and well balanced as it is simple.

Massaged Kale Salad

Rating: Unrated
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Here a pungent garlicky dressing is infused into kale by massaging the greens and the dressing together with your hands. Any type of kale will work in this kale salad recipe, just remember to remove the tough stems before you start.

Zucchini & Mushroom Saute

Rating: Unrated
3
Serve this simple side dish with grilled turkey burgers. Other fresh herbs, like thyme or oregano, work well too.

Easy Brown Rice

Rating: Unrated
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Here's the only recipe you need to make perfect brown rice every time! This healthy whole grain is great on its own as a side dish, or use it in your favorite recipes calling for cooked brown rice.

Chilaquiles Casserole

Rating: Unrated
172
Our version of this enchilada-style chilaquiles casserole is packed with nutritious beans and vegetables. Canned prepared enchilada sauce has great flavor and keeps the prep time quick. It can vary in heat level so find one that suits your taste. If you want to eliminate the heat altogether, try a green enchilada sauce (which is often milder than red) or substitute two 8-ounce cans of plain tomato sauce.

Quick Cucumber Kimchi

Rating: Unrated
11
While slowly fermented cabbage and pungent garlic are the ingredients most people associate with kimchi, there are dozens and dozens of other versions of Korea's national dish, featuring all manner of vegetables, such as these quickly pickled cucumbers with just a trace of garlic.

Broccoli with Balsamic Mushrooms

Rating: Unrated
1
Just a touch of butter adds silkiness to the balsamic sauce that coats broccoli and meaty mushrooms in this easy broccoli side dish recipe.

Sautéed Butternut Squash

Sautéeing butternut squash in olive oil quickly yields perfectly cooked results and slighly caramelizes the squash for extra flavor. This recipe makes a delicious vegetable side dish to pair with roasted meats.

Warm Pear & Spinach Salad with Maple-Bacon Vinaigrette

Rating: Unrated
2
Mature, larger-leaved spinach holds up better to the warm bacon vinaigrette than baby spinach in this healthy spinach salad recipe. If you don't want the spinach to wilt, let the dressing cool before tossing it with the salad.

Zucchini Gratin

Rating: Unrated
5
This delicious zucchini gratin recipe has a delectable crispy Parmesan and breadcrumb topping and is made without any butter or cream, allowing the fresh zucchini flavor to shine. Slice the zucchini uniformly to ensure even cooking.

Easy Steamed Zucchini

This foolproof way to cook zucchini is also the easiest and fastest. Just steam it on the stovetop for a few minutes and you have a healthy vegetable side dish to add to dinner. Toss with a little pesto for extra flavor.

Spinach & Warm Mushroom Salad

Rating: Unrated
2
In this hearty mushroom and spinach salad recipe, sturdier “mature” spinach leaves hold up better than baby spinach when tossed with the warm mushroom-and-bacon vinaigrette.

Inspiration and Ideas

Best Side Dishes to Bring to Your Next Summer BBQ

Want to steal the show at your next summer cookout? Make one of EatingWell's quick and easy side dishes, including recipes for coleslaw, colorful fruit salad and sweet and spicy baked beans.

Steamed Fresh Green Beans

Steaming (but not for too long!) is a foolproof way to get perfect, crisp-tender green beans, every time. This easy recipe is a great starting point for other flavors or preparations, like adding cooked green beans to a salad.

Winter Salad with Toasted Walnuts

This salad was one of the favorites chosen from over 1,000 salad recipes for our 30th anniversary issue. In 2004, Deborah Madison waxed poetic about winter ingredients, particularly nuts. “In the chill air of winter, nuts move up to center stage as do their warming, substantial, golden oils--so good with winter salad greens and vegetables, such as shaved fennel, all of which are likely to end up in a salad together,” she says. Madison suggested using a mix of lettuces that balance each other here--a mild, tender variety, such as Boston, with a more intense and sturdy green, such as escarole, for instance.