It’s only fitting to celebrate the unofficial end of summer, also known as Labor Day weekend, with a cookout. After all, you probably celebrated the unofficial start of summer—Memorial Day—by firing up the grill, right?
Every cookout needs an abundance of sides to go with the burgers, dogs, and chicken cooked up on the grill, and we have 21 crowd-pleasing sides for you. Choose from pasta salads, bean salads, fresh, seasonal veggie and fruit salads, and even the must-have-at-all-cookouts deviled eggs turned into a salad.
Of course, these delicious sides are good whenever you cook out, not just Labor Day weekend. Whenever you serve them, may we suggest you mix up a large pitcher of sparkling strawberry sangria to accompany your cookout dishes?
Green Goddess Pasta Salad
Green goddess salad meets your friendly neighborhood pasta salad in this vibrantly hued dressed in a riff on green goddess dressing. Using nutritional yeast in the dressing makes it vegan, but if you’d prefer to use Parm cheese, you can do that, too.
Simple Summer Tomato Salad
Summer and tomatoes go hand in hand, and by Labor Day, markets and kitchen gardens are bursting with them. Use the season’s ripest tomatoes, red onion, and fresh herbs in this salad that’s tossed in a classic vinaigrette.
This salad is full of cheese stuffed pasta, summer sausage, feta cheese, and basil. It tastes better on day 2, so it’s a great make-ahead dish. Double this recipe in hopes of having leftovers you can take for lunch when you have to return to work after the holiday.
Stone Fruit, Tomato and Cucumber Salad
The combination of peaches, plums, and cherries with tomato, cucumber, and serrano pepper works really well. The key is to dice all the fruits and vegetables on the smaller side and about the same size so for the best flavor explosion in every bite.
German Potato Salad
Toss thick-sliced potatoes with bacon, onions, herbs, and mustardy vinaigrette (made with the bacon fat!) for this version of German potato salad. Served warm or cold, it will disappear from the side dish table very quickly.
Easy Cucumber, Peach, and Basil Salad
Peppery basil vinaigrette made with honey covers this salad of crunchy English cucumbers and fresh peaches. It comes together in just 15 minutes, and it’s best served immediately.
Caprese Pasta Salad
Pasta salad takes on a caprese vibe in this salad. Choose a small-shaped pasta such as orecchiette, farfalle, or campanelle and cook it. Add in-season cherry tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, mozzarella, and basil.
Pasta and Bean Picnic Salad
There’s no mayonnaise in this spin on pasta salad. It’s full of white beans, tomatoes, celery, and onion, tossed together with a light apple cider and Dijon vinaigrette. There’s a full pound of pasta in the salad and two cans of beans, making it perfect for feeding a crowd.
Pasta Salad with Corn, Bacon, and Buttermilk Ranch Dressing
The combo of orecchiette pasta and end-of-summer corn is brilliant, particularly when tossed with bacon, bell pepper, green onions, and basil. Homemade buttermilk ranch dressing ties it all together in the most delicious way.
Black Bean Salad
Use canned black beans for ease, or cook up black beans if that’s what you prefer. Add red bell peppers, jalapeños, avocado, and corn. Lime juice and olive oil dress this salad that has the flavors of summer running through it.
Mom’s Easy Macaroni Salad
Hard boiled eggs and roasted red peppers are the secret to this mom-approved mayo-dressed macaroni salad. Add optional touches such as pickles, chopped celery, and peas to switch it up.
Deviled Egg Salad
Everyone loves deviled eggs, and this salad takes the beloved flavors and turns them into a salad of hard-boiled eggs, green onion, celery, and red bell pepper. The mayo dressing gets a kick from hot sauce, and a sprinkling of paprika on the top finishes the deviled egg vibe.
Classic Potato Salad
Sometimes, you just want the classic version of potato salad you know and love. This is it. Boiled potatoes, sour cream, mayo, green onions, celery, parsley, pickles, and bacon combine for the perfect burger or hot dog side.
Sour Cream and Onion Potato Salad
You know sour cream and onion chips? This fast and easy recipe lets you enjoy those moreish flavors in potato salad form.
Grilled Corn Salad
Grilling corn caramelizes the natural sugars in the vegetable and gives it a smoky flavor. That’s the base of this salad tossed with serrano chile pepper, zucchini, red bell pepper, and cotija cheese. Serve alongside BBQ chicken.
Easy Cucumber Salad
Need something you can throw together in 5 minutes? This is it. Chopped cucumbers (preferably English or Persian), fresh dill, rice vinegar, and salt and pepper combine quickly for a crunchy, flavorful, super-easy salad.
Classic Carrot Salad
Just four ingredients combine to make one of the summer’s brightest and most sought-after salads. Throw together shredded carrots, sliced apples, raisins, and mayo. Let them chill in the fridge for a bit. Serve and watch everyone dive in.
Pesto Pasta Salad
Basil pesto clings to spiral pasta in this salad that’s bursting with the summer flavors of tomato and fresh (or frozen) peas plus pine nuts and olives. If you want to sprinkle on a little cheese, goat cheese will do the trick.
Three Bean Salad
Open three cans of beans—cannellini, kidney, and garbanzo. Chop celery, red onion, parsley, and rosemary. Make a quick apple cider vinaigrette. Combine. It’s so simple and so delicious. Give it a few hours in the refrigerator so the beans soak up the dressing, but take it out of the fridge to come to room temp before serving.
Dad’s Potato Salad
Pickle juice is the secret to giving this potato salad tons of tang! You can choose to tell others the secret or keep it to yourself when they ask for what makes this potato salad with celery, bell peppers, and hard-boiled eggs in a Dijon and mayo dressing.
White Bean and Cherry Tomato Salad
Rosemary-infused olive oil, garlic, Parmesan, anchovies, and lemon add tons of flavor to this salad made with white beans such as great northern or cannellini and ripe, fresh plum tomatoes.