Here we go! It’s finally feeling a whole lot like summer and we could not be happier. And what comes with summer? Lots of barbecueing and grilling. But what’s a good steak, flattened chicken, or burger without a few stunning sides?
Here we’ve rounded up our top five summer side dishes. We promise they will add a hit of flavour to any dish you grill up this summer.
#1 Cherry Tomato & Arugula Salad
If there is one thing we know, it’s that some foods just naturally pair totally amazingly together, while other foods just do not seem to work. As for the case of plump and sweet cherry tomatoes and bitter and fragrant baby arugula leaves, its a match made in heaven.
Don’t believe us?
Try one of our favourite summer side dishes. It’s a cherry tomato and arugula salad. Sound easy? That’s because it is. Cherry tomatoes, arugula, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and a sprinkle of flaked sea salt is all that you need to create one of the best summer sides.
#2 Chunky Herbed Roasted Potatoes
Everyone makes roasted potatoes. But the question is, are you taking the necessary steps to take your spuds from so-so to seriously amazing? To us, a perfectly roasted potato is tender (but not mushy) on the inside, perfectly golden and crispy on the outside and seasoned, well perfectly. And really, there are just a few simple things you must do to create seriously delicious roasted potatoes:
- Make sure your potatoes are dry—not soaking wet—before you dress them with olive oil and the seasonings. This will ensure your potatoes roast, not steam, while they’re in the oven.
- Season your potatoes very well, a tiny pinch will not do. We recommend using a full tsp of flaked sea salt (not the table variety) and 1/2 tsp of freshly cracked black pepper.
- Add some vavavoom by adding other fresh ingredients, for example, here we’ve used lemon zest, smoked paprika, freshly chopped herbs, and freshly grated Parmesan. We promise if you follow these simple steps, you’ll have perfectly roasted potatoes each and every time.
#3 Cucumber, Radish & Dill Slaw
As far as summer side dishes go, coleslaw has a bad rap. Too often thought of as slimy, soggy, or drenched in fatty mayo-based dressings, most people steer clear of this traditional dish. But, we think coleslaw is making a comeback, and this bright and fresh cucumber, radish, and dill slaw is going to prove it. The best thing about this recipe is that it can easily be doubled, tripled, or even quadrupled, depending on how many guests you’re expecting. So it can feed as many people (expected and unexpected) that end up showing up.
#4 Lemon Roasted Asparagus
We can’t get enough of asparagus at this time of year. Its bright green, purple, and even white stalks grace the shelves at every farmer’s market and grocery store. And for good reason, asparagus is not only seriously delicious, but it’s one of the easiest and quickest veggies to prep and cook too.
Simply rinse fresh asparagus spears—they should be plump, firm and free of any bruising—under cool running water and pat very dry with clean paper towels. Next remove the woody ends, which can be done either holding the asparagus between your thumb and forefinger and bending until it naturally snaps off (an oddly satisfying experience), or by chopping the woody ends off using a sharp knife. Then, spread on a parchment-lined baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, sea salt, red chili flakes (if you like a hit of spice), and lemon zest. We also like to lay whole lemon slices over top of the asparagus, which not only adds even more bright citrus flavour to the asparagus, but yields gloriously caramelized lemon slices to boot. Finally, roast in a hot oven for 8-15 minutes and you’ve got the perfect spring side dish.
#5 Heirloom Tomato Caprese Salad with Grilled Avocado
What’s better than a caprese salad? A caprese salad with grilled avocado.
That’s right, you heard us. We’ve upped-the-ante of one of summer’s most loved salad’s by adding glorious slices of avocado that have been grilled to perfection. Never heard of grilling an avocado before? Well you’re really missing out. Avocados have a firmess that stands up well to grilling (we suggest using a just-ripe avocado for this, rather than one that’s super soft already,) and the grilling helps create even more of that buttery-richness that has us all clamouring for them in the first place. Wondering what other veggies you could try grilling this summer? Check out our article on grilled vegetable ideas featuring five overlooked veggies that are perfect for grilling!