Memorial Day — the last Monday of May — is celebrated to honor those who gave their lives for their country. Apart from commemorating the rich history of our country, the day also marks the start of the cookout season. The grills are out, barbecues sizzling, pies baking — hosting a Memorial Day weekend typically involves a large spread. And it’s the simple, summery side dishes that can spruce up your menu even more.
From the classic salads and dips to elegant grilled sides, this list presents a variety of options that will pair with your Memorial Day meals perfectly!
A potluck classic, this salad has beans, cheese, pasta sausage, and vegetables tossed in a fantastic dressing — everything you’d want in a side dish, and then some! Its delicious flavors and textures will go well with any meal and will be a delicious addition to your cooking arsenal. Serve it with grilled chicken wings or ribs to enjoy a filling meal.
This creamy, zingy pasta salad is made by tossing pasta with various flavorful ingredients like garlic and onion, avocado, sun-dried tomatoes, chili flakes, pitted olives, chopped mint leaves, and seasonings. Top it off with some shaved parmesan and serve warm or cold. Don’t like the taste of raw onion in your salad? Instead of sauteing half of the chopped onion, saute all of it.
Veggies and fruits come together in this refreshingly sweet salad. Simply put all of your favorite luscious berries, baby spinach, toasted sliced almonds, and feta crumbles into this salad, then drizzle it with a homemade sweet and tart raspberry vinaigrette. This light, healthy, and tasty salad is perfect to pair with grilled meats.
We understand that not everyone enjoys Brussel sprouts, but this recipe will appeal to the pickiest of eaters! It’s dressed with a delectable honey-mustard dressing that goes perfectly with bacon and walnuts. You can also tailor it to complement your taste and diet preferences. Friendly tip: Keep it in the fridge for a day to infuse it with rich flavors.
Nobody does guacamole like Chipotle, which is why this copycat recipe should absolutely feature as a side dish for your Memorial Day cookout! It uses only 7 ingredients to make a dish that has the earthy flavor of guacamole, amplified by a blast of heat from the jalapenos. Serve with tortilla chips or layer it on sandwiches and toast for a tasty treat.
Dips are versatile and they add delicious flavors to just about everything! This chocolate fruit dip is no exception. Make it with melted chocolate, cream cheese, and whipped heavy cream, then top it with chocolate sprinkles, mini chocolate chips, or chopped nuts. It’s a great accompaniment to fresh fruits like strawberries, pineapples, kiwi, bananas, and apples.
Juicy tomatoes, creamy mozzarella, and earthy basil? Well, this salad is a sure-fire recipe for success. You can keep it simple with just a drizzle of olive oil and salt and pepper, or give the dish a tangy flavor by adding a balsamic reduction or glaze and topping it with dollops of basil pesto and a dusting of toasted pine nuts for crunch!
#8. Cowboy Caviar
This recipe is packed with nutritious vegetables and beans and is positively scrumptious! To make, toss avocados, black beans, black-eyed peas, bell peppers, cilantro, corn, jalapenos, onions, and tomatoes in a finger-lickin’ good homemade sauce. Serve as-is or with tortilla chips. You can also make this fresh and flavorful dip ahead of time to enjoy later.
This cucumber salad with sour cream and dill dressing will go well with any grilled main course. To make the salad, toss cucumbers and onions with a dressing made of sour cream, lemon juice, dill, olive oil, and spices. Refrigerate it for 30 minutes before serving, and garnished with more dill if you want. You can also serve it immediately to enjoy.
#10. Easy Baked Beans
In this healthier version of the traditional side dish, baked beans are made from scratch and are sweetened with maple syrup along with a hint of spice from a BBQ sauce. They also get an umami flavor from Worcestershire and some tang from ketchup resulting in a sweet, savory, smoky dish. Ready in just 30 minutes, it’s an easy side dish to put together for a large crowd.
You simply can’t have a cookout without the classic corn on the cob! This simple and fresh summer side dish features fresh corn on the cob grilled on high heat until you get that light golden color with a slight caramelization. The smokiness from the subtle charring perfectly complements the natural sweetness of the corn. Serve it hot with delicious garlic-chive butter.
#12. Easy Potato Salad
Potato salad is an American staple, so it’s only natural to include it here. This recipe delivers the creamiest potatoes with just the right consistency, which are made even more appetizing when tossed with a savory mayonnaise dressing that has a subtle chive flavor. Garnish it with some extra chives and a sprinkling of paprika to take it to the next level.
As the name suggests, this quinoa salad recipe will become your favorite. Combine chickpeas, fresh cucumber, fluffy quinoa, and other ingredients with garlic, olive oil, and lemon dressing to produce this refreshingly crisp and tasty quinoa salad. Serve it as a side dish with your favorite main courses or eat it on its own.
Bringing nostalgia to the fore, this Grandma’s recipe will rock your culinary world. Simply combine bell peppers, celery, macaroni, and onions with a mayonnaise dressing for a creamy, refreshing dish that’s full of flavor and wonderful textures. Top with some chopped green and red pepper, and serve with roasted meat to enjoy.
Cook the humble beans until they’re delectably crisp and retain some of their structure and then toss them with crispy smoky bacon and herb and garlic creamy Boursin cheese. Serve this quick and easy side with juicy baked chicken thighs, baked pork chops, mashed potatoes with cream cheese, or smoky roast potatoes to complete your meal.
The combination of flavors of grilled nectarines and prosciutto over blue cheese, fresh basil leaves, and honey is unmatched — as you will see when you make this recipe. And when it’s paired with grilled bread, it’s simply divine! You may serve this as a side dish with your favorite dip or turn it into an appetizer.
This rich, zesty dip brimming with fresh Mediterranean flavors is a must-try! The feta cheese, lemon, and herbs complement each other beautifully to make the perfect dip that can be served with crunchy veggie sticks, toasted pita chips or crackers, or any other dipper of your choice. Prefer thinner dips? Just add some water to adjust its consistency to your desired preference.
This delightful fruit salad is perfect to make on hot summer days when you don’t have the energy to spend more time in the kitchen than you absolutely need to. Simply toss all of the chopped fruits together with a sweet, citrusy, honey-glazed dressing to bring out their natural flavors and turn a simple salad into a delectable dessert-like side dish.
This is THE salad recipe for a summer treat. To make, combine chickpeas, bell pepper, cucumber, feta, fresh parsley, red onion, and tomatoes in a mixing bowl, then drizzle with a homemade lemon vinaigrette. This delicious side dish can also be served as a light lunch. Psst: This recipe freezes well, so make extra and store some for an easy lunch!
This good-for-you dish is simple to make and packs a tremendous flavor punch, making it the perfect recipe to serve at potlucks and parties. Use an olive oil and thyme mixture to coat asparagus before roasting it until slightly crisp and tender. Then, top with orange zest and a squeeze of lemon juice for a citrus kick. And voila, you’re done!
#21. The Best Coleslaw
Is a summertime meal truly complete without a big bowl of coleslaw? We don’t think so. To make, toss shredded red/purple and green cabbage and carrots in a zesty creamy dressing made with mayonnaise. Stir well to combine, then chill for an hour before serving. This creamy, refreshing side dish pairs well with any roasts or grilled meats.
#22. Twice Baked Potatoes
These potatoes are stuffed with a delectable cream cheese filling for a dish that’s as pleasing to the eye as it is to the palate! Season the potatoes with salt and pepper, then load them with toppings of your choice to customize the cheesy, crispy, and oh-so-delicious twice-baked potatoes to your taste preferences.