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10 Last Minute Summer Sides to Bring to Any Cookout

Spending more time outside and less time in the kitchen doesn’t have to mean skimping on delicious meals. These easy favorites like pasta salad and baked beans celebrate the flavors of the season without a ton of work, so you can get back to summer fun. We’ve got 10 classic crowd-pleasers that can be made at the last minute or up to a day ahead, perfect for when you’re packing a picnic, throwing down on the grill, or just lounging in the shade.

Gluten-free Pasta Salad with Herb Vinaigrette

The complex flavor of this easy homemade green vinaigrette might make you rethink bottled dressing forever. Green onions, parsley, garlic, and Dijon bring major flavor to gluten-free penne noodles tossed with the colorful pop of radishes and grape tomatoes.

Cowboy Beans

This trail-inspired recipe is sure to satisfy serious appetites. Two kinds of beans with ground beef and the giddy-up of jalapeño, BBQ sauce, and coffee make a hearty side that easily works as a meal.

Easy Orzo Salad

Served warm, cold, or room temp, this eye-catching orzo salad is a rainbow of color and flavor. Chewy orzo, crunchy spinach, red onion, corn, and tangy feta come together for a simple but centerpiece-worthy side.

Grilled Corn on the Cob with BBQ Butter

We found a way to make peak-season corn on the cob even tastier. An easy compound butter made with brown sugar, spices, lime juice, and the heat of red chili flakes perfectly complements naturally sweet ears hot off the grill.

Southern-style Potato Salad

You can’t go wrong with a classic. The creamy combination of potatoes and hardboiled eggs with mayo, mustard, relish, and the crunch of celery is a time-tested cookout favorite.

Quick and Easy New England-style Baked Beans

Molasses and smoky bacon are the keys to this Bostonian favorite, a sweet-savory pot of white beans hailing back to colonial times. We’ve dialed up the flavor and swapped in canned beans for quick cooking.

Fusilli Pasta Salad with Artichokes

Artichoke hearts, arugula, tomatoes, and goat cheese bring Mediterranean flare to this easily adaptable pasta salad tossed with red wine vinaigrette. Swap in any of your family’s favorite veggies, cheeses, or dressings for a homerun side dish with endless pasta-bilities.

Slaw with Lime Vinaigrette and Tortilla Strips

This colorful slaw ditches the mayo for a lighter take that’s perfect for picnics. Cabbage, carrots, scallions, and tortilla strips tossed with lime juice, honey, and garlic makes a crunchy, stand-alone side that’s also tasty on tacos and enchiladas.

Texas Caviar

Everything is bigger in Texas, including flavor. This colorful “caviar” of black-eyed peas, black beans, and corn dressed up with peppers, red onion, and cilantro serves triple duty as a side dish, salad, or chunky salsa.

Macaroni Salad with Crushed Chips

Classic macaroni salad gets an explosion of color and crunch in this Americana-inspired side. Crushed blue corn tortilla and red beet chips make a tasty topping for creamy noodles studded with bell pepper, celery, and onion.

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