Fresh Ideas for Summer Picnic Side Dishes
Summers are jam-packed with get-togethers! From neighborhood block parties to family reunions to weekend cookouts by the pool, your schedule is full! When you’re asked to bring a dish, do you find yourself struggling for summer picnic side dishes that go beyond traditional potato salad, macaroni salad, and cole slaw? Sure, those are classic picnic sides that everyone loves, but you want something new!
Whether your gathering was planned months in advance or it’s a spur-of-the-moment invite, we’re sharing five ideas for quick and easy side dishes for picnics that pair perfectly with summer grilling!
These recipes feature fresh summer flavors and can be prepped in about 15-20 minutes. They are perfect for when you want to spend more time at the party and less time in the kitchen.
Sweet corn and vine-ripened tomatoes are the base for this easy summer salad. Add avocados for even more flavor!
- 3/4 c. Italian dressing
- 1/2 c. yellow mustard
- 4 ears of corn on the cob (husk and silk removed)
- 1/2 lb. fresh green beans (trimmed, quartered, and cooked)
- 1 jicama (peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes)
- 2 tomatoes (cut into wedges)
- 1/2 c. fresh basil (chopped)
Nothing says summer like juicy slices of watermelon. But have you ever thought about making watermelon the centerpiece of a picnic side dish that’s refreshing in hot weather? Add feta cheese for a sweet and salty flavor combination.
- 6 c. mixed salad greens
- 3 c. seeded watermelon (cubed)
- 1/2 c. sliced onion
- 1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 1/3 c. crumbled feta cheese
- 1 dash cracked black pepper
Pasta salad can be a little bit boring, but you can jazz it up with an Italian flair! Tomatoes, artichokes, black olives, and garlic make for a memorable summer picnic side dish.
- 1 lb. angel hair pasta
- 1/2 c. olive oil
- 1 c. chopped onion
- 5 large tomatoes (cut into 1-inch chunks)
- 4 clove of garlic (minced)
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. black pepper
- 14 oz. can artichoke hearts (drained and cut in half)
- 2.5 oz. can sliced back olives
- 1/4 c. fresh basil (sliced)
Chips and fresh salsa are an easy contribution to a summer potluck. But instead of tomato salsa, try this black bean salsa.
- 15 oz. can black beans (rinsed and drained)
- 8 oz. can shopper corn
- 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes (basil, garlic, oregano flavored)
- 10 oz. Ro-Tel diced tomatoes
- 8oz. Italian dressing
- 1 medium onion (chopped)
- 1 medium jalapeno (chopped)
Take advantage of summer’s bounty of fresh produce in this easy summer salad. You may even have a few of these ingredients growing in your own vegetable garden. Grilled corn, squash and zucchini create a dish that is “summer in a bowl!”
- 2 ears of corn on the cob (husks and silk removed)
- 2 small yellow squash (cut each lengthwise into 3 slices)
- 2 small zucchini (cut each lengthwise into 3 slices)
- 2 tomatoes (chopped)
- 1/3 c. Italian dressing
- 2 tbsp. lemon juice
- 1 clove garlic
- 3 tbsp. grated parmesan cheese
- 2 tbsp. fresh basil (chopped)