Healthy Summer Side Dish Recipes

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

Staff Picks

Sunomono (Japanese Cucumber Salad)

Rating: 4.5 stars 6
This version of sunomono uses more readily available English or slicing cucumbers, but if you live near an Asian market you could substitute Japanese cucumbers. Some recipes call for salting the cucumbers first, but we found that squeezing them in paper towels removed enough excess moisture without adding additional sodium. This Japanese-inspired salad is cool, crisp and simply delicious.

Blueberry-Peach Salad with Sesame-Ginger Balsamic Vinaigrette

In this installment of Diaspora Dining, Jessica B. Harris' series on foods of the African diaspora, fresh summer fruit stars in a salad that's perfect for serving at your Juneteenth barbecue. 
By Jessica B. Harris

Quick Cucumber Kimchi

Rating: 4 stars 9
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.
By Jamie Purviance

Smashed Cucumber Salad with Lemon & Cumin

Rating: 5 stars 3
Don't skip salting the cucumbers in this quick cucumber salad recipe—just 10 minutes pulls out some of their excess moisture, concentrating the flavor and keeping the salad from being watered down. Serve this smashed cucumber salad at a summer cookout alongside burgers and hot dogs.
A portrait of Carolyn Malcoun
By Carolyn Malcoun

Cucumber-Yogurt Salad

Rating: 5 stars 3
A refreshing accompaniment to a main course of meat or fish, this cucumber-yogurt salad also makes a tasty filling for pita bread. If the cucumbers are grated instead of chopped, this mixture can be served as a dip.
By EatingWell Test Kitchen

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.
By EatingWell Test Kitchen

Macaroni Salad with Creamy Avocado Dressing

Rating: 5 stars 1
Give classic pasta salad a fresher, more flavorful spin. This fast pasta dish calls for avocado to replace some of the mayonnaise, which makes it extra creamy. Whole-wheat elbow macaroni and fresh vegetables lighten up this healthy pasta salad that you'll be making all summer long.
By Carolyn Casner

Tomato Salad with Lemon-Basil Vinaigrette

Rating: 5 stars 8
Seek out several varieties of heirloom tomatoes for this simple salad. Sweeter and juicier than conventional tomatoes, they add the perfect pop of color.
By Diabetic Living Magazine

Easy Steamed Zucchini

Rating: 1 stars 1
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.
By EatingWell Test Kitchen

Zucchini & Mushroom Sauté

Rating: 4.5 stars 5
Serve this simple side dish with grilled turkey burgers. Other fresh herbs, like thyme or oregano, work well too.
By EatingWell Test Kitchen

Tropical Cucumber Salad

Rating: 5 stars 9
Combine cucumber, avocado and mango with a salty-sweet dressing for a taste of the tropics.
By EatingWell Test Kitchen

Vidalia Onion & Cucumber Salad

Rating: 5 stars 4
For this old-fashioned Southern cucumber and onion salad, thin slices of cucumber and onion marinate just long enough to develop a touch of tanginess without any sharp bite. Serve with sweet dishes like barbecue to lend a refreshing balance.
By Virginia Willis
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Inspiration and Ideas

20 Easy Side Dishes for Summer Get-Togethers
These recipes are bright, healthy and can be paired with any main dish.
23 No-Cook Side Dishes for Summer
As the weather heats up, turn to one of these no-cook side dishes to stay cool.
Chickpea & Potato Hash
Rating: 5 stars 8

The eggs cook right on top of this chickpea and potato hash--cook them a few extra minutes if you prefer hard-set eggs. Serve with warm pita bread and a cucumber salad with mint and yogurt.