Our Favorite Summer Side Dishes

Picture this, you have a gathering with friends and family coming up and you said you would bring a side dish to help out. Now it’s the day before the event and you still are not sure what you want to bring, uh-oh… Don’t worry we have recipes for some of our favorite summer side dishes ready for you to use! Keep reading to see what the Spoonful bloggers love to make.

Carrot Fries – Alex Bosse

Absolutely nothing beats fresh roasted vegetables in the summer. Not only are they super easy to make, as well as nutritious and delicious, but they are so versatile! No matter what vegetable you have sitting around at home, chances are it can likely be combined with oil and your favorite spices to be roasted to perfection and used as a side dish to one of your favorite summer meals. One of my favorite recipes is our Carrot Fries recipe. If you’re looking for an alternative to potato fries or just want something a little lighter, and maybe a tad bit sweeter, look no further than this recipe. With the fries being baked and cooked with olive oil, it offers a healthier alternative to regular fries. Like the recipe notes, it is fun to use different shades of carrots including yellow, white, orange, and red. This recipe and any roasted vegetable recipe are a great way to get kids involved in the kitchen and have autonomy at the grocery store when picking out different vegetables.

Corn BreadAlex Gayton

One of my favorite recipes to make any time of year is corn bread! I love cornbread because you can keep it plain or spice it up by adding various ingredients like jalapeno peppers, green chilies, or cheddar cheese. I personally love plain corn bread with butter, it’s a loved classic side for any barbeque. Visit our recipe website for the Corn Bread printable recipe PDF and recipe video.

Mexican Street Corn Salad – Kate McCarty

I love fresh corn in the summer but corn-on-the-cob is admittedly a bit messy to eat at a party. This corn side dish avoids the need to provide dental floss to your guests by making the popular Mexican street corn into a salad. Cut the kernels off the cob, give them a quick sautee to add some color, and then mix with the dressing. I found cotija cheese at my local grocery store but if you have trouble finding it, you can use feta cheese instead. Maine corn should be here soon enough, but for the now, you’ll find some corn from the Southern US in stores.

Kale Chips – Kate Yerxa

While kale chips are not a traditional side dish, they are a great recipe to make during the summer. This Kale Chip recipe is a favorite of mine for many reasons. First, it’s fun to make! If you have little hands that can help you in the kitchen massaging the kale with oil is a great job for young children. Second, you can change up the seasonings to your liking. This recipe suggests using different types of herbs or Parmesan cheese to provide a different twist on kale chips. Lastly, this uses all that kale you decided to grow but didn’t know what to do with!  

Maine Seaweed Salad – Kathy Savoie

This is a new favorite for me and my family, Maine Seaweed Salad from one of our local seaweed harvesters Maine Coast Sea Vegetables located in Hancock, ME. I knew it would be a hit with my young adult crowd since they all enjoy sushi that is wrapped in seaweed. Rest assured that this dish will not only be colorful and delicious but also unique! You can also get creative and add any vegetables you may have on hand. Just slice or dice them up nice and small so they blend in well. Enjoy!

Layered Salad – Kayla Parsons

This layered salad recipe is easy to assemble and an instant favorite for many. Even as someone who has always been a self-proclaimed pea-hater, there’s just something so refreshing about the combination of cold peas, crisp lettuce, and green peppers; especially when it’s a side dish for savory cookout entrees. This layered salad is a rendition of my grandmother’s recipe, which originally uses sour cream (instead of the greek yogurt), regular mayonnaise, and 12 (yes, precisely 12) strips of bacon. Greek yogurt has a similar texture and taste to sour cream, but contains additional protein and contains fewer grams of saturated fat per serving. Using bacon bits and olive-oil based mayonnaise also reduces the saturated fat content. This recipe is reminiscent of so many memories for me, from working in the kitchen all morning to prepare for American legion luncheons with my grandmother, to relaxing family cookouts. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do. Check out Spoonful’s National Salad Month blog for additional salad ideas.

Layered Salad Recipe


  • 1 head of Iceberg Lettuce, chopped
  • ½ green pepper, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 package of frozen petite peas
  • 1 cup of grated cheddar cheese
  • 8 ounces of plain greek yogurt
  • 8 ounces of olive oil-based mayo
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar
  • ½ cup of Soy Bacon Bits


  1. Layer the ingredients in the following order (from bottom to top) in a large serving bowl: chopped iceberg lettuce, chopped green pepper, chopped onion, and frozen peas. 
  2. Mix together greek yogurt, mayonnaise, and sugar in a separate bowl.
  3. Add yogurt mixture to the top of the layered salad.
  4. Sprinkle the top with cheddar cheese and bacon bits.
  5. Refrigerate overnight and serve the following day.

Read the Let’s Get Grilling blog post for grilling food safety tips!


By Spoonful Bloggers