The Cookout Side Dish Round Up

Warm weather always gets me thinking about barbecue food grilled hot dogs, hamburgers, steaks, smoked meats… the list goes on and on.

 

Love baked beans? Learn how to make them from scratch, using dried legumes and a sweet, sour, and savory sauce! We share the recipe: https://foodal.com/recipes/grains-and-legumes/slow-cooker-baked-beans/
Photo credit: Nikki Cervone

Of course, with any of your favorite barbecued meats, you have to serve up some killer sides to go alongside them. Baked beans, coleslaw, potato salad, macaroni salad, pasta salad – these are a few of my favorite things!

Don’t have any go-to recipes for these traditional side dishes?

Look no further, because I have some delicious recipes to share with you today. I hope you enjoy this cookout side dish round-up!

Slow Cooker Baked Beans

Baked beans are a staple of the outdoor cookout. I like to make mine in a slow cooker, so I don’t have to worry about keeping an eye on them.

Slow Cooker Baked Beans | Foodal.com

Slow Cooker Baked Beans – Get the Recipe Now
This version features molasses and apple cider vinegar, to give it a rich but tangy taste. Both of these ingredients also feature heavily in many BBQ sauces, keeping your overall ingredient list shorter.

 

Utlmtimate Loaded Potato Salad With Feta and Bacon

Tired of your ordinary potato salad?

Try this loaded version. Mix the lovely (and I do mean lovely) taste of bacon with a bit of feta and you have something that your guests will rave about.

Try this loaded potato salad! It's tasty enough that you could even use it for a main mea!

Feel free to experiment with various cheeses or cheese blends, and make this recipe yours. This one is great to load up into your picnic basket for an outdoor excursion.

Get the recipe here on Foodal.

 

Asian Coleslaw

Tired of your average mayonnaise or vinegar based coleslaw? Try this version. The soy sauce and sesame oil gives it a totally different taste.

Recipe for Asian Coleslaw | Foodal.co

Rather than breaking out the food processor to shred the cabbage and carrots, I normally just buy them pre-shredded at the market.

Asian Coleslaw Recipe | Foodal.com
Asian Coleslaw
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Asian Coleslaw Recipe | Foodal.com
Asian Coleslaw
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Ingredients
  • 1 16- ounce package of coleslaw mix*
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Sesame oil
Servings:
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Instructions
  1. Heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the ginger and garlic and sauté for two minutes.
  2. Transfer the ginger and garlic to a large mixing bowl and add the brown sugar, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, and sesame oil. Using a whisk, mix the dressing well.
  3. Pour in the bag of coleslaw mix and toss to combine. Chill until ready to serve.
Recipe Notes

*You could, of course, shred your own cabbage and carrots, but why would you?

Asian Coleslaw Recipe | Foodal.com

 

 

My Favorite Macaroni Salad

This is a very tasty version. You can garnish with diced bell peppers if you’re feeling extra fancy.

My Favorite Macaroni Salad | Foodal.com
My Favorite Macaroni Salad
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My Favorite Macaroni Salad | Foodal.com
My Favorite Macaroni Salad
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Ingredients
  • 4 cups elbow macaroni
  • 1/2 cup spicy pickle relish
  • 1/4 cup diced pimentos
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 tablespoon sugar add some more if you want
  • 1/4 cup milk
Servings:
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Instructions
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil, and then cook the macaroni until tender, about 10 minutes.
  2. Drain and rinse under cold water, and then transfer the macaroni to a large bowl and chill in the fridge for a few minutes.
  3. To make the dressing, mix together the mayo, vinegar, salt, pepper, and sugar. Add enough of the milk that the dressing is loose enough to coat the macaroni well.
  4. Take the macaroni out of the fridge and add the pickle relish, pimentos, and chives to the bowl. Pour over about ¾ of your salad dressing and toss it all together. If the salad seems a little dry, add more dressing until you reach your desired level of creaminess.
  5. Chill your macaroni salad for at least two hours before serving.
Recipe Notes

My Favorite Macaroni Salad | Foodal.com

 

Ranch BLT Pasta Salad

Who doesn’t like the taste of a bacon, lettuce, and tomato? And ranch? It’s almost like bacon – great on everything.

Recipe for Ranch BLT Pasta Salad | Foodal.com

Use any kind of pasta that you happen to have on hand – the particular variety really doesn’t matter, though I prefer using a corkscrew or elbow macaroni, or maybe some small shells, rather than a spaghetti type.

Ranch BLT Pasta Salad Recipe | Foodal.com
Ranch BLT Pasta Salad
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Ranch BLT Pasta Salad Recipe | Foodal.com
Ranch BLT Pasta Salad
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Ingredients
  • 8 ounces curly pasta (rotini radiator, etc.)
  • 1 bottle ranch salad dressing or make your own
  • 1 pound chopped bacon cooked and drained
  • 2 cups chopped lettuce Romaine is my go-to
  • 1/2 cup diced sun-dried tomatoes*
  • 1 cup cubed cheese Mozzarella, Swiss, or even a white Cheddar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Servings:
Units:
Instructions
  1. Cook your pasta according to the directions on the package, and then drain well.
  2. Toss the noodles and dressing together in a large bowl and refrigerate until chilled.
  3. Add the bacon, lettuce, tomato, and cheese to the cold pasta and toss to combine.
  4. Season with a little salt and pepper, and enjoy!
Recipe Notes

*You could dice fresh tomatoes too, but I love sun-dried tomatoes.

Ranch BLT Pasta Salad Recipe | Foodal.com

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About Ashley Martell

Ashley has enjoyed creative writing since she was six years old, when she wrote her first short story. She majored in English literature at the University of Montevallo. After years of professional work, she is now a stay-at-home mom of three, who uses her craft to write about her life and adventures in and out of the kitchen.

52 thoughts on “The Cookout Side Dish Round Up”

  1. Side dishes are a life saver for me as a vegetarian. I often am only left with side dishes to create a meal in a restaurant or tend to eat more of them when I eat out.

    I like pasta salads as they are easy to add things to or to change the sauces. You can have a creamy one, tomato one or an oil based sauce.

    • I can definitely identify with that. I do still eat poultry and fish, but when I go to meat-heavy cookouts or parties I’ll end up creating a dish full of sides and salads. It does exercise the creativity, haha.

  2. Being that memorial day weekend has arrived and I have to bring a cookout side dish, I am glad that I came across this article because I know there is going to be the traditional side dishes that everyone is going to aspect at the cookout. But I am going to put a twist to the side dishes and bring two of these. I’m thinking about the macaroni salad and the loaded potato salad.

  3. Yay, side dishes! I am always looking for more new sides to try, so I’m excited to see this. These all look delicious too. I will definitely has to test run that potato salad. Mmmm!

    Every one of these sounds good to me. Now I want to make some of them for our cookout coming up Monday. I’ve already done the shopping, but I may have to go ahead and throw in a couple addons.

    Thanks for all these great ideas. Keep the side dishes coming, please!

    • Yessss! Please keep the side dishes coming! I couldn’t agree more. Side dishes give a meal so much variety and flavor! I love the baked beans recipe, it looks so delicious. I’ve always just used Bush’s canned beans, so I’m excited to try making the whole thing myself. Thanks for the ideas!

  4. Some of these could be mains!
    I like to add a can of beer to my beans. Typically a non-hoppy stout or something malty and sweet. Right now Mill Streets Vanilla Port is my go to bean and chili beer. Might not be available in your market.
    I really like how light and simple the ‘slaw is. I’m going to save that one for my next bath of pulled pork sammies.

    • I’ve been dying to make my own beans instead of buying the cans, and I love cooking with beer… does adding a can make it liquidy? Do I have to adjust another ingredient?

      • Hey so adding the beer doesn’t really make it watery, as long as you are cooking it long enough it should thicken up properly. One can or half a pint can is enough to do the trick. I imagine if you added more then that it would water it down a bit.
        I have made it new a few times and I have learned that you cannot use a hoppy beer. The hop bitterness can negatively effect the taste.
        What you want is a malty beer, not a hoppy beer. Sam Adams Boston lager and Yuengling are great American beers to cook with and Mill Street Vanilla Porter is an awesome Canadian one to use.

  5. Wow, these recipes look delicious! I love having lots of sides in the house, because I tend to cook a main dish a couple of times a week, then swap out the sides, so I don’t get bored. I’m definitely going to pick up some ingredients and try out at least a few of these. You can’t go wrong with cheese, bacon, potatoes, and slaw mix!

  6. The baked beans recipe looks great – I usually do mine with chopped onion and red pepper and some smoked sausage so I’m definitely ready to try a variation. Thanks!

    • Just to report back, I made the beans this afternoon! They were a great success and there were no leftovers. They were just right with chicken legs, marinated in chilli BBQ sauce and some chunks of crusty bread. In fact, these beans would make a fantastic low-cost main course served with a jacket potato.

        • Don’t feel bad. I wasn’t sure either. I think it’s just a British term for what many people call a baked potato.

          Yep, looked it up. It’s a baked potato. I guess the skin is the “jacket.” 🙂

          I’ve heard of serving loaded baked potatoes as a main course, but I haven’t tried it. Maybe if I added lots of choices for loading up the potato. At my house, I would have to include some meat though. At least some ham or something, or it wouldn’t count as dinner. haha.

  7. I have to admit being Irish I have never heard of a cookout so I have no idea what it is. However these look amazing and such simple ideas to create such a tasty side dish for a bbq (which might be what it is ?! )

    I normally love anything that is prepared in a slowcooker as it is so simple to prepare as it involves very little thought and energy.

    The loaded potato salad is something I have never tried. I have had loaded potatos and I love them but I never thought of making it into a salad dish. I aways just associated it with a warm cosy meal on a cold winter evening so this is a great summer version !

    • Yes, a cookout is indeed a bbq. It’s so funny how even when you speak the same language there are so many words and phrases that don;t really make sense. Loaded potato salad is the best! You have to try it at your next “cookout”!

  8. I have got to try that Asian coleslaw. The dressing sounds really similar to what we use for one of my favorite dishes, somen salad. All of these look delicious (and adaptable), but I already have the ingredients on hand for the coleslaw. Thanks for the ideas!

  9. I never really considered making baked beans from scratch. This may be a silly question, but is homemade significantly better than the canned version? Side dishes such as this have always been an afterthought for me.

  10. I came into this post thinking that I knew exactly which side dish was my favorite. I’m not so sure after reading through some of these recipes, though! If there’s a steak involved as the main food, I’ll eat just about anything that goes along with it, or anything that doesn’t necessarily go with it. I’ve made a few of these dishes, but these ideas sound better than what I did.

  11. These are all lovely ideas. I might substitute the bacon on the potato salad for fried onions or shallots. The ranch BLT pasta salad looks like it’s to die for! Healthy, yet wonderfully flavoursome! I’ve never tried asian coleslaw though. I’ve never liked regular coleslaw though.

  12. So many great recipes! I think many people enjoy some of the sides as much as the main dish. The mac salad recipe with vinegar (or pickle juice) is one we make triple batches of due to its popularity.

    I make potatoes in foil at my cookouts. They are simple to make, can be made ahead of time, and can be put on the grill basically anywhere so there is always room for them. They’ll be fine right next to the coals on the lower grate if need be.

    Simply dice potatoes and toss in oil. Season well with salt, pepper, chives, basil, rosemary, or whatever herbs you like or have. You can even use italian dressing or similar oil based marinades but avoid any with sugar because sugar burns quickly. Put potatoes onto a square foot piece of foil and roll it up like a burrito long and thin with tucked in ends. Double wrap if placing right by the coals. Use as many tubes of potatoes as you need and put them wherever there is room. Cook until the outside of the foil is charred and the potatoes have been sizzling for 30-40 minutes (you can hear them cooking away) turning once or twice.

  13. Ohhh I do love some feta cheese in potato salad!! Very Greek-style, and what’s better than a Greek feeling when going to a grillfest? 🙂

    • I’ll actually have to try some feta in potato salad because I’ve never had it prepared that way. However, I definitely share your love for feta cheese! I could eat that stuff on virtually anything, especially pizza, which is where I tend to put it with some beef or a bunch of other meat toppings!

      • Wow, that’s intriguing. I’ve seen pizza menus including feta cheese, but I’ve never tried it out myself… Do you put it on the pizza before it goes in the over, or at the end of the cooking, or right before serving, like aragula and other such toppings?

        I think it’d go amazingly with spinach pizza at the very least! Hmmmmm!

  14. All of the sides you proposed look incredibly delicious! I don’t have complete access to my kitchen as a teen, however I will definitely take some time to show these recipes to my mom. I definitely want to try the Ranch BLT Pasta Salad. Yum! Moving on, as you mentioned slow-cooked beans, I couldn’t help but think of one of my favorite entries: Corn! I LOVE sweet corn and it really goes great with cookout food. Very easy to cook too. That would be my only addition to the list.

  15. I am always looking for new ideas for side dishes. They are what really makes the meal and it gets boring having the same ones over and over again. I love baked beans so that will be on the list for my next bbq. I really like the look of the Ranch BLT Pasta Salad. I know it would be a hit with my family. After all you can’t go wrong with adding bacon to anything. Throughout the summer I am hoping to try all of these recipes out.

  16. You are killing me with this stuff. If these were in front of me I would be digging in even though I am already stuffed right now. Virtual food. Wouldn’t that be something if we could just take a spoon and take a taste through the virtual reality taste test. The beans I have not really made that kind of dish myself, but I’ve had other people’s. I love molasses in baked beans. My friend always did his in a crock pot and it was so good that way to slow cook them. I like dishes like all of these too because you can make them and keep them in the fridge. Pick at them when you get hungry when they are leftovers.

  17. Sides are the best part at a BBQ for me. Well, that is, AFTER the steak of course, I like that they’re usually (mentally italic the usually) the healthier options. I love the Asian coleslaw. I have yet to attempt making it this way. I have a specific sesame oil that’s a tad spicy that would go great with that.

  18. I’m a firm believer that the quality of your side dishes can make or break a barbeque. You may have the most amazing ribs but people will still remember how bland the potato salad was or if the beans were undercooked. Whenever my friends plan a cookout, I leave the grill to someone else’s care (I have not and probably will never master it) but I don’t hesitate to take charge of the sides.

    I would have to say that baked beans are my favorite. I’ve always preferred putting them in the oven, but trying the slow cooker method seems interesting. Another thing I liked was how you added the vinegar and jalapenos. I’ve never used apple cider vinegar in my recipes, but I have heard it being a tasty addition to barbeque sauces and beans. I definitely need to try this!

  19. The baked beans looked wonderful and I thought “I HAVE to make these TODAY”! And then I kept scrolling and holy cow, each of these look amazing. I can’t wait to make that coleslaw for an upcoming picnic.

  20. These are the best. When I text my son to come over, and eat I usually tell him what we’re having like the main course which is usually meat from the grill. I’ll say we got ribs and fixings. He’ll text back what fixings, and it’ll usually be one of the sides you have listed here. His favorite is potato salad, but like me he likes them all.

  21. As someone who despises regular cole slaw, I may have to give that Asian cole slaw a try. My biggest issue with regular cole slaw is the mayonnaise, which this particular recipe doesn’t have. During cook-outs, my family’s go-to side dishes are macaroni and cheese and potato bites. We prepare the potato by cooking them on the grill wrapped in foil, then by cutting them like home fries and drizzling them with different sauces. Sometimes we’ll do a cheesier sauce, sometimes we’ll do a buttery herb sauce. To be entirely honest, I often look forward to the side dishes of a cookout more than I look forward to the meat itself!

  22. I came across this article back in July and definitely took these recipes out and tried them out! It was a giant hit with my family and friends! They enjoyed every bite and demanded for more! It really was very simple and easy to prepare.

  23. All of these recipes have something new and different for me; which is very exciting. The baked potato salad is such a good idea, because the taste of baked potatoes is so much better. I love baked beans and look forward to adding some new ingredients. I also am attracted to your version of Cole slaw. It seems lighter, with great flavors.

  24. I’m always looking for something new to try, especially something new at a cookout. It seems like we always have the same old sides when we cook out. the loaded potato skins with feta cheese and bacon look amazing. I might even try that one tonight. I also like the Asian coleslaw. Will give that a try as well!

  25. The baked beans are a must in my household. A cookout is not complete without my famous baked beans. I add onions and green peppers as well as some kielbasa chopped kind of thin with some parsley to add color. This is great with the coleslaw side. This post has me waiting and anticipating Spring and Summer so we can indulge in a good cookout and all the food therein. A good cookout is my favorite to get family together…everybody wants to get together to eat.

  26. Oh wow. Now I’m officially hungry. Just looking at the baked beans, coleslaw, potato salad and macaroni salad make me drool for summer to get here so I can enjoy some of these wonderful picnic-type foods. Combine the above side dishes with hamburgers, hot dogs, and such, and we are good to go.

  27. Thank you so much, those dishes looks delicious and I’ve already written down all of them. I love beans and i have a slow cooker so I’ll be making them tomorrow at last, I just need to check if Ihave all the ingredients! I also love potato salad and your loaded one looks absolutely fantastic, I can’t wait to try it out. I’m curious about your coleslaw recipe, I like soy sauce and sesame oil and I had never though to use them instead of the classic ingredients.
    And what to say about pasta salads? They are always a huge hit for my family!

  28. Baked beans!!! My all-time favorite side dish for everything. This recipe is a little different from what I’m used to as I have been using my mother’s recipe for some time now but I am so excited about this. Can’t wait to try it out.

  29. Great recipe post. These beans are the absolute best. I actually add onions sweet peppers and sausage for an extra kick. These go great with a coleslaw or potato salad. I actually pair mine most of the time with ribs and corn on the cob.

  30. I could actually enjoy the side dishes, without the barbeque! I love tapas, and the idea of being able to ‘pick’ at my food, really appeals to me and its extremely sociable. The BLT pasta salad is making my mouth water, particularly with the sun-dried tomatoes – absolutely delicious.

  31. Mmmh….I haven’t used a slow cooker to make baked beans, so I’m curious about how different they would taste…

  32. This is a great list of side dishes mainly because while they all have the typical base foods, the recipes each will add a very distinct and strong flavor that most people won´t be expecting. I think for adults these would go over really well, but I would also make sure to include the mayonnaise-boring version for kids and unexperimental adults.

  33. Great recipes! Bookmarked 🙂

    I really like the look of the potato salad recipe, I’m having a cookout in July for my birthday so these recipes will be perfect!

    Thanks a bunch for this. Awesome post 🙂

  34. Where do you find those amazing recipes, Ashley! All of them brings water to my mouth. I have no idea which one to make first but I’ll probably start with the Loaded Backed Potato salad and the Macaroni Salad. I am sure both these recipes will simply rock like the one I already tried from another one of your articles and has been a hit with family and friends. Good work. You make foodies like me happy.

  35. These recipes will definitely add color and taste to an already great eating experience. I love to grill out. I don’t even wait for warm weather. I’m always looking for ways to change up the menu. I like that these recipes add variety to the ingredients, like the Asian coleslaw. What a great way to change up a typical grilling side dish. I’m not ashamed to admit it, but I’m a total meat lover, and the loaded baked potato salad definitely looks like it belongs beside a thick hickory smoked steak. I’m already planning to add it to the menu when I fire up the grill today.

  36. They all look so good! the bean recipe actually reminds me of the one that my grandma does very often, I don’t really know the recipe of it, but it has this sightly spicy-homemade taste that is always a blessing to taste. I really liked the baked potato one, I have never thought about putting some bacon to it, it seems like a genius idea since the baked potato by itself is kind of tasteless.
    Thank you so much for sharing!

  37. I love all the different recipes, especially the baked beans one and the macaroni salad. They look so tasty.
    I am sure my kids and husband will like this as well. Thanks for sharing.

  38. I finally got around to trying the bacon and feta potato salad that is mentioned in this article. The saltiness of the bacon and the feta are wonderful in this recipe. It is so creamy and bursting with different flavors that I will definitely be putting it into my cookout side dish rotation from now on! I pretty much love most things with bacon in it anyway, but this is one of the better recipes that I have just come across online that are not of my own creation. Well done!

  39. Oh yes! You’ve hit the spot again. I can always rely on you to provide me with just the right recipe for an occasion!

    Our allotment group will be having its annual barbecue in a couple of weeks and the side dishes you list here will be perfect and, as others have mentioned earlier, will offer an interesting alternative for the vegetarians among us. As an advance experiment, I have the bean recipe gurgling gently in the slow cooker as I write. It smells wonderful and I suspect I shall be quite popular come supper time!

  40. Oh my goodness all of these look so yummy I’m drooling! I’m more of an old fashion type when it comes to my side dishes, but a lot of these recipes are making me want to go out on a limb! They all look so delicious, yet simple to make! Thanks for the post 🙂

  41. I don’t really have a recipe for baked beans since I usually buy it canned. I have never had peppers added to baked beans before but it sounds good to me. As for the baked potatoe salad, I think this is a good idea and a nice change of pace. I once had Asian cole slaw in the restaurant for the first time. It was good considering the fact that I usually don’t like cole slaw at all.

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