Who doesn't love a good cookout? And while it may be easy to use healthy proteins on the grill, coming up with healthy side dishes can be a little more difficult.

Choosing flavorful, healthy side dishes helps you and your family maintain optimal health and wellness this summer season!

For your next summer cookout, skip the traditional potato salad, high-calorie coleslaw, and mac and cheese and choose healthy side dishes instead to keep your meals nutritious.

Use the recipes below to prepare flavorful, healthy side dishes your friends and family will love!

13 Amazing Healthy Side Dishes

1. Cucumber Greek Salad

Instead of higher-calorie dishes to complement grilling recipes, consider this mouth-watering cucumber Greek salad recipe as a healthy side dish instead!

Ingredients

  • 2 cucumbers, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 of a red onion, sliced
  • 4-6 Roma tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 cup of crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons of dried oregano
  • Black olives, pitted and sliced to taste
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Combine tomatoes, cucumbers, and onions in a large bowl.
  2. Mix the olive oil, lemon juice, and oregano in a smaller bowl.
  3. Pour the dressing over the vegetable mixture and stir.
  4. Season your salad with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Sprinkle olives and feta cheese on top of the salad and combine well.
  6. Refrigerate your salad and serve it when you're ready!

Nutrition Information

  • Calories per serving: 103
  • Carbohydrates: 4 grams
  • Protein: 2 grams
  • Fat: 8 grams
  • Fiber: 1 gram

Servings: 8

2. Grilled Corn On The Cob

What better way to enjoy healthy side dishes than by choosing a grilled corn on the cob recipe during your next summertime cookout!

Ingredients

  • 4 ears of corn
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat your grill to medium heat.
  2. Remove husks from the corn.
  3. Brush each corn ear with olive oil.
  4. Place the corn on the grill.
  5. Cook it for 10-15 minutes, turning the corn occasionally
  6. Remove the corn from the grill, let it cool, and enjoy!

Nutrition Information (not including olive oil)

  • Calories per serving: 77
  • Carbohydrates: 17 grams
  • Protein: 3 grams
  • Fat: 1 gram
  • Fiber: 2 grams

Servings 4

3. Nutritious Refried Beans

Instead of purchasing refried beans containing animal fat as an ingredient, prepare this nutritious, homemade refried beans recipe instead!

Ingredients

  • 3 cups of dry pinto or black beans, rinsed
  • 9 cups of water
  • 1 onion, peeled and halved
  • 1/2 fresh jalapeno pepper, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of minced garlic
  • 5 teaspoons of salt
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons of fresh ground pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon of ground cumin

Instructions

  1. Place the beans, onion, jalapeno, garlic, cumin, salt, and pepper in a slow cooker.
  2. Pour water over the mixture and stir.
  3. Cook the mixture on high heat for about 8 hours and add additional water as needed.
  4. Strain the beans but reserve the liquid.
  5. Mash the beans, adding reserved liquid as needed until you reach the desired consistency.

Nutrition Facts

  • Calories per serving: 139
  • Carbohydrates: 25 grams
  • Protein: 9 grams
  • Fat: 1 gram
  • Fiber: 6 grams

Servings: 15

4. Sesame Green Beans

If you're looking for a crowd-pleasing, tasty but healthy side dish recipe for your next summer cookout, consider this sesame green beans recipe!

Ingredients

  • 1 pound of fresh green beans, cut into pieces
  • 1/4 cup of chicken broth (use low-sodium if you'd like)
  • 1 tablespoon of sesame seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • Black pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  2. Add the sesame seeds.
  3. When the seeds begin to darken, stir in the green beans.
  4. Cook and stir the beans until they turn bright green.
  5. Cover the mixture and cook it for about 10 minutes until the beans turn tender-crisp.
  6. Uncover the mixture and cook it until the liquid evaporates.
  7. Serve and enjoy!

Nutrition Information

  • Calories per serving: 78
  • Carbohydrates: 9 grams
  • Protein: 3 grams
  • Fat: 5 grams
  • Fiber: 4 grams

Servings: 4

If you'd like to try a variation of this sesame green beans recipe, consider green beans with hazelnuts and lemon instead!

5. Instant Cauliflower

If you're in the mood for a healthy side dish that's savory, flavorful,  and loaded with fiber and essential nutrients, consider this instant cauliflower recipe for your next cookout instead of potato salad.

Ingredients

  • A small head of cauliflower
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 3/4 tablespoons of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of Italian dressing
  • 1 teaspoon of lemon zest
  • 1/8 teaspoon of garlic powder

Instructions

  1. Chop the cauliflower into florets.
  2. Add it to an instant pot with water and lock the lid.
  3. Seal the pressure release handle.
  4. Cook the cauliflower on high pressure for about three minutes.
  5. Vent the remaining steam from your instant pot.
  6. Open the lid of the pot, remove the cauliflower, and drain any liquid.
  7. Toss the cauliflower with the remaining ingredients and serve it to friends or family.

Nutrition Information

  • Calories per serving: 100
  • Carbohydrates: 8 grams
  • Protein: 3 grams
  • Fat: 7 grams
  • Fiber: 3 grams

Servings: 4

6. Baked Asparagus with Parmesan

This mouth-watering, baked asparagus with parmesan recipe is sure to be a hit with friends and family of all ages. Serve it as a healthy side dish at your social gathering.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound of asparagus
  • Olive oil cooking spray
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/4 cup of shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Cut the bottom ends off of the asparagus.
  3. Place the asparagus in an oil-lined baking dish.
  4. Spray oil on top of the asparagus.
  5. Sprinkle the asparagus with Parmesan cheese, salt, and garlic powder.
  6. Roast the mixture in the oven for about 12 minutes or until you can puncture the asparagus with a fork.
  7. Serve and enjoy!

Nutrition Information

  • Calories per serving: 46
  • Carbohydrates: 5 grams
  • Protein: 4 grams
  • Fat: 2 grams
  • Fiber: 2 grams

Servings: 4

7. Cabbage Steaks

Swap high-calorie side dish recipes with this mouth-watering cabbage steaks recipe instead!

Ingredients

  • 1 head of cabbage
  • 2 tablespoons of minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Cut the bottom off of the cabbage and cut it into 1-inch-thick slices.
  3. Arrange cabbage slices in a single layer in a casserole dish.
  4. Bake the cabbage for about 45 minutes or until you can easily pierce it with a fork.
  5. Let it cool, serve, and enjoy!

Nutrition Information

  • Calories per serving: 94
  • Carbohydrates: 12 grams
  • Protein: 3 grams
  • Fat: 5 grams
  • Fiber: 5 grams

Servings: 6

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8. Baked Sweet Potato Fries

Instead of regular fries, mac and cheese, or potato salad this summer season, choose the following baked sweet potato fries recipe instead.

Serve the recipe with your favorite grilled meats and vegetables.

Ingredients

  • 2 large sweet potatoes, cut into wedges
  • 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon of pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon of paprika

  1. Place the sweet potatoes and oil in a large bowl and toss.
  2. Sprinkle the mixture with paprika, salt, and pepper.
  3. Arrange the potatoes in a single layer on your baking sheet.
  4. Bake them until the potatoes are golden brown (about 18-24 minutes), turning them over occasionally.
  5. Cool the potatoes for about 5 minutes, serve, and enjoy!

Nutrition Information

  • Calories per serving: 287
  • Carbohydrates: 46 grams
  • Protein: 4 grams
  • Fat: 10 grams
  • Fiber: 7 grams

Servings: 4

9. Mayo-Less Herb Potato Salad

Instead of traditional potato salad containing mayonnaise, try this healthy, mayo-less herb potato salad recipe in its place!

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds of small red potatoes, sliced
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • 1/3 cup of chopped parsley
  • 1/3 cup of chopped green onions
  • 2 tablespoons of Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 3 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of sea salt
  • Ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Combined the sliced potatoes and salt in a large saucepan or Dutch oven.
  2. Cover the potatoes with 1 inch of water and bring them to a boil over high heat.
  3. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook the potatoes for about 5-6 minutes until you can easily pierce them with a fork.
  4. Reserve about 1/4 cup of the water and drain the rest.
  5. Place the potatoes in a large mixing bowl.
  6. In a food processor or blender, blend together the olive oil, parsley, green onions, Dijon mustard, lemon juice, garlic, and black pepper.
  7. Pour in the reserved cooking water and process the mixture until it's blended.
  8. Drizzle the potatoes with the olive oil dressing and stir to combine.
  9. Let the mixture rest for about 10 minutes, tossing it every few minutes while the potatoes soak up the dressing.
  10. Add celery to your bowl with a few tablespoons of additional green onions and chopped parsley.
  11. Toss the mixture again and season it with salt and pepper to taste.
  12. Cover and refrigerate the mixture until you're ready to serve it.

Nutrition Information

  • Calories per serving: 195
  • Carbohydrates: 26 grams
  • Protein: 3 grams
  • Fat: 10 grams
  • Fiber: 3 grams

Servings: 6

10. Roasted Brussels Sprouts

This flavorful roasted Brussels sprouts recipe pairs well with just about any main dish of your choice. It's loaded with fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds of Brussels sprouts
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon of pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Place the Brussels sprouts on a large baking sheet.
  3. Drizzle them with olive oil and sprinkle them with salt, pepper, and other spices of your choice if you'd like.
  4. Gently toss the Brussels sprouts until they're well coated with oil.
  5. Spread them in a single layer on your baking sheet.
  6. Bake the Brussels sprouts for about 20-30 minutes until they're slightly crisp on the outside.
  7. Season with additional salt and pepper if you'd like, serve, and enjoy!

Nutrition Information

  • Calories per serving: 104
  • Carbohydrates: 15 grams
  • Protein: 6 grams
  • Fat: 4 grams
  • Fiber: 6 grams

Servings: 4

11. Hearty Quinoa Salad

You can serve this heart-healthy quinoa salad recipe as a side or main dish. It's loaded with essential nutrients and is often a hit with friends and family members of all ages.

Ingredients

  • 12 cups of water
  • 1 1/2 cups of rinsed quinoa
  • 5 small cucumbers, peeled and cut into cubes
  • 1 small red onion, cut into cubes
  • 1 large tomato, diced
  • 1/2 cup of olive oil
  • 1/4 cup of red wine vinegar
  • 2 bunches of chopped mint leaves
  • 1 bunch of chopped Italian parsley
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon of black pepper
  • 4 heads of endive, trimmed and separated
  • 1 avocado, peeled and diced

Instructions

  1. Bring water to a boil in a large saucepan.
  2. Add the quinoa and return to a boil.
  3. Cook uncovered over medium heat for about 12 minutes.
  4. Strain and rinse the quinoa well with cold water.
  5.  Transfer the quinoa to a large bowl and add in onions, cucumbers, tomatoes, mint, parsley, vinegar, olive oil, lemon juice, pepper, and salt. Toss well.
  6. Spoon the mixture into the endive spears, top them with avocado, serve, and enjoy!

Nutrition Information

  • Calories per serving: 319
  • Carbohydrates: 32 grams
  • Protein: 7 grams
  • Fat: 20 grams
  • Fiber: 6 grams

Servings: 8

12. Healthy Cauliflower “Rice”

Try a savory cauliflower “rice” recipe in place of traditional white rice to create a summer side dish recipe that wows dinner guests.

Ingredients

  • 1 large head of cauliflower, cut into 1-inch florets
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • Juice from 1/2 of a lemon
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh parsley

Instructions

  1. Using a food processor, break up cauliflower florets into the texture of couscous.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  3. Add in onions and stir to coat them.
  4. Stir frequently until the onions are golden brown (about 8 minutes).
  5. Add in cauliflower and mix to combine.
  6. Add 1 teaspoon of salt and continue cooking for about 3-5 minutes, stirring frequently, until the cauliflower becomes soft.
  7. Remove the mixture from the heat.
  8. Place the cauliflower in a large bowl, sprinkle it with lemon juice, and garnish it with parsley. Season with salt and serve warm.

Nutrition Information

  • Calories per serving: 140 calories
  • Carbohydrates: 10 grams
  • Protein: 3 grams
  • Fat: 11 grams
  • Fiber: 3 grams

Servings: 4

13. Wheat Berry Salad

This wheat berry salad recipe and healthy side dish is delicious.

Get in your daily dose of whole grains and serve it with grilled chicken or fish and your favorite grilled veggies!

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups of hard wheat berries
  • 2 stalks of finely chopped celery
  • 3/4 cups of chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup of chopped dried tart cherries
  • 1 scallion, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1/2 cup of finely chopped parsley leaves
  • 2 tablespoon of lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. In a large pot, combine wheat berries and water that rests 2 inches above the berries.
  2. Bring the water to a boil and cook the wheat, uncovered, for about 1 hour until it's tender.
  3. Drain the wheat berries and let them cool.
  4. Toast the walnuts in a skillet over medium-high heat (about 2-3 minutes).
  5. In a large bowl, combine the walnuts, wheat berries, celery, dried cherries, parsley, scallions, lemon juice, and olive oil.
  6. Season the mixture to taste with salt and pepper.

Nutritional Information

  • Calories per serving: 360
  • Carbohydrates: 46 grams
  • Protein: 9 grams
  • Fat: 17 grams
  • Fiber: 8 grams

Servings: 6

GET YOUR FREE "FIT MOM" JUMPSTART

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Skip the Chips and Dips, too!

Just because you're grilling out doesn't mean you have to choose foods that contribute to unwanted weight gain.

In addition to joining the Fit Mother Project designed just for women, add the healthy side dishes above to meal plans to achieve optimal health for you and your family!

Erin Coleman, B.S. - Nutritional Science, Registered Dietician, Licenced Dietician

Erin Coleman is a registered and licensed dietitian with over 15 years of freelance writing experience.

She graduated with her Bachelor of Science degree in nutritional science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and completed her dietetic internship at Viterbo University in La Crosse, Wisconsin.

Prior to beginning her career in medical content writing, Erin worked as Health Educator for the University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Internal Medicine.

Her published work appears on hundreds of health and fitness websites, and she’s currently working on publishing her first book! Erin is a wife, and a Mom to two beautiful children.

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*Please know that weight loss results & health changes/improvements vary from individual to individual; you may not achieve similar results. Always consult with your doctor before making health decisions. This is not medical advice – simply very well-researched info on healthy side dishes.

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