healthy side dishes for summer

10 Healthy Side Dishes for Summer

Every great barbecue needs side dishes to go with it. Here are 10 healthy favourites.

healthy side dishes for summer

Wondering what vegetables to serve with a special dinner this weekend?  Here are 10 vegetable side dishes that suit spring and summer.

Funny how I grew up thinking that the May long weekend was the start to summer. It’s funny, because I live in Southern New Brunswick where the average temperature in May is 16 degrees. Regardless of the weather, there was always the dare to get dunked in the river the Victoria Day weekend. But I also recall at least one May long weekend when there were snow flurries.

If you’re planning a barbecue, here are 10 healthy side dishes to go with what ever you plan to put on the grill.

10 Healthy Side Dishes for Summer

French Potato Salad (no mayonnaise)

The salad is also loaded with vegetables, so there is more flavour and texture than your regular potato salad. And the dressing isn’t mayonnaise-based so you don’t have the same hot weather storage worries.

French potato salad recipe is made without mayonaise. It's tossed with a mustard vinaigrette instead.

Strawberry Spinach Salad

Eating this pretty salad will give your the delicious hint of summer that you’re craving.

Strawberry spinach salad with molasses vinaigrette

Marinated Tomato Salad

I grew up eating this marinated tomato salad at big family parties where the food was laid out on the dining room table and served buffet style. Nestled in among the plates of ham and potato salad this salad was stunningly beautiful and added a welcomed variety to the standard fare.

Marinated tomato salad

Snow Peas & Red Pepper Salad

Leafy salads are great but sometimes it’s nice to have a salad with a bit more crunch and colour, which is just what this salad offers.


Quick Pickled Onions:

Quick pickled onions are mellow and tart with the fresh taste of lime juice and just a hint of savoury sweet from molasses.

sweet pickled onions 4

Molasses Roasted Onions

When cooked for a long time, onions develop a rich, savoury sweetness that complements meats, cheeses and anything spicy. The recipe calls for a little balsamic vinegar (or cider vinegar) which balances the sweet and gives the flavour a bright edge.

Oignons rôtis à la mélasse

Grilled Nectarine Salad

This salad is gorgeous, with a chipotle molasses dressing that has a great sweet-with-heat balance. The nectarines soften when they’re grilled and the sugars caramelize a bit, which makes them irresistible. Both the dressing and the nectarine flavours go beautifully with the fresh, creamy goat cheese that you nestle in beside the fruit.

Salade de nectarines grillées

Salad with Molasses Vinaigrette

This salad is sprinkled with peppered walnuts and dressed with a vinaigrette filled with fresh herbs.
black papper walnut salad with molasses vinaigrette

Marinated Broccoli Salad

This salad tastes especially good when it has had a chance to sit for a few hours to mellow the texture and flavour of the raw broccoli. What’s better, it can last in the fridge for a few days and maintains its crunch.

molasses marinated broccoli salad

Wild Rice & Barley Salad

The grains are tossed with an aromatic vinaigrette spiced with coriander, cumin, turmeric and cinnamon, then sprinkled with currants and toasted almonds. The salad is full of flavours and textures that are just right for fish and chicken dishes. You could also add some cooked lentils and crumbled feta to make it more substantial.

wild rice and barley salad sm

Bonus recipe: My favourite…

Carrot Cabbage Slaw

Carrot cabbage slaw with tangy orange dressing

Every great barbecue needs healthy side dishes to round out the meal. This selection gives enough variety to keep everyone happy.


  • June 9, 2017


    Love all these tasty looking options to keep the bbq season a little lighter. :)

  • September 7, 2019


    Really loved the French Potato Salad.
    It was great as leftovers with diced ham two days later!

    • September 24, 2019

      Crosby Molasses

      Hi Christine, So pleased you enjoyed the salad. Great that it lasts in the fridge.

  • May 15, 2020

    Any good,cheap sticky chicken receipe!!

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