What are Some Common Side Dishes to Serve at a Barbecue?

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  • Written By: Sheri Cyprus
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 09 October 2019
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Barbecues are a popular way to enjoy meals outdoors with family and friends. Side dishes round out the main dish of grilled meat, fish or poultry and provide much needed variety. Some great side dishes to serve at a barbecue include coleslaw, potato salad, pasta salad, fruit salad, corn on the cob and grilled garlic bread.

Grilled garlic bread makes a quick and easy alternative to a baked potato. There is no need to worry about fussing with all kinds of potato toppings or even utensils. Grilled garlic bread is a great "finger food" that accompanies any type of meat or seafood and most people enjoy it. However, take special care not to burn the bread when grilling it.

Salads make excellent side dishes and there are many types to choose from. Never leave coleslaw, potato salad, pasta salad and anything with mayonnaise out at room temperature for too long or you could give everyone at the barbecue food poisoning. Fruit salads are a good alternative to mayonnaise-based salads if they contain fruit only and no yogurt or other perishable products. These salads taste wonderful without anything added to them as long as you use at least four different fruits.


A classic grated carrot, pineapple and raisin salad makes one of the most colorful side dishes to serve at a barbecue and it contains no mayonnaise or perishable products. You simply mix raw grated carrots with canned pineapple chunks and the pineapple juice along with some raisins. Soak the raisins before using them, so that they're tender rather than chewy, by placing them in a bowl of water and then discarding the liquid.

Corn on the cob is one of the most popular barbecue side dishes, especially with barbecued steak. You could also serve corn on the cob with barbecued salmon or many other grilled dishes. It's a very messy food to eat, so it makes a great side dish to enjoy outside.


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Post 3

I like to have a fruit salad made for summer barbecues. The one that I make has cool whip, cottage cheese, orange jello, mandarin oranges, and pineapples in it. It goes great with the typical barbecue food!

Post 2

Great tips! My favorite BBQ dessert is grilled fresh pineapple with vanilla ice cream and I do use the lower fat ice cream. A chilled vegetable platter with carrot sticks and cucumber slices makes a healthy appetizer at a BBQ too.

Post 1

You can have all your favorite side dishes and change them slightly to reduce fat and sugar content. For pasta salad you can use whole wheat pasta, instead of regular pasta. Use baked chips instead of regular chips, and dip them in salsa. Far fewer calories. For dessert, substitute fresh or grilled fruit for the rich desserts. You can still have a fun barbecue with far fewer calories.

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