10 Best Side Salads for Summer BBQs, Potlucks, and Parties

Need an awesome side dish for your next summer get-together? Look no further! We've got suggestions ranging from classic macaroni salad to Asian coleslaw!

10 Best Side Salads for Summer

Potlucks really are the best, aren’t they? It seriously boggles my mind that you only have to make one dish and then end up tasting a fantastic variety of other dishes. Minimal effort with maximum rewards!

I’m going to let you in on a little secret . . . I love bringing new dishes to potlucks! There’s just something so satisfying about having people come up to you after they’ve enjoyed every last bite of your side dish and ask you for the recipe.

In choosing the recipes for this round-up, I wanted sides that go beyond the traditional and get everyone’s taste buds buzzing. Each one of these sides really is meant for summer potlucks because they’re quick and easy to make.

I’m going to sound like a broken record, but it’s all about minimal effort in making the sides and maximum rewards with flavor, right? The hardest thing for you will be deciding which one to make!

  • Mom's Easy Macaroni Salad

    Easy Macaroni Salad Recipe in a bowl for serving
    Elise Bauer

    It seems that every potluck/BBQ/picnic needs some sort of macaroni salad... so what exactly sets this apart? The chopped red pepper, of course! It brings in a fabulous crunch that ties the whole salad together.

  • Pasta and Bean Picnic Salad

    Pasta Bean Picnic Salad
    Sheryl Julian

    The name certainly says it all, but what it’s not telling you is that this salad is made without mayo! It has a light vinaigrette so you don’t have to worry about it feeling too heavy.

  • Caprese Corn Salad

    caprese corn salad
    Elise Bauer

    I think we can all agree that we adore a good caprese salad... so let’s take it to the next level with grilled corn, shall we? It’s an easy way to use up all that garden bounty, but in a new way!

  • Watermelon Salad with Feta and Mint

    Watermelon Salad with Feta and Mint
    Elise Bauer

    Do watermelon and salty cheese really go together? Yes, yes they do – especially when you throw a little mint into the mix. It’s one side salad that people will take notice to.

    Continue to 5 of 10 below.
  • Greek Pasta Salad

    Gluten Free Greek Pasta Salad
    Sabrina Modelle

    This has all the bright and zesty flavors of your favorite Greek salad but is way better suited for potlucks because of the pasta. You can even make this gluten-free by subbing the rotini pasta for a lentil-based pasta.

  • Asian Coleslaw

    Asian Coleslaw dressing
    Elise Bauer

    I love the idea of coleslaw, but sometimes I want something with a little edge to it, and the dressing on this coleslaw is just the ticket. Serve it with burgers or alongside fish and shrimp.

  • Panzanella Bread Salad

    Panzanella Bread Salad in a glass serving bowl
    Elise Bauer

    First of all, a salad with bread?! Gimme all of it, please! This is a fabulous recipe to keep in your back pocket during the summer months because it uses up all that bounteous garden produce in a fun way.

  • Grape and Walnut Side Salad with Blue Cheese Dressing

    Side Salad Recipes - - colorful salad in a bowl with blue cheese dressing
    Sally Vargas

    This salad features hearty greens so they won’t be prone to wilting easily, and it has only a handful of ingredients so you can throw it together in no time at all!

    Continue to 9 of 10 below.
  • Cherry Tomato Orzo Salad

    Cherry Tomato Orzo Salad
    Elise Bauer

    Cherry tomatoes are summer’s candy, and this salad uses them up in all the right ways. If you don’t have orzo on hand, you could substitute quinoa or even couscous!

  • Cucumber Mint Quinoa Salad

    Cucumber Quinoa Salad
    Elise Bauer

    You’ve heard the expression, “Cool as a cucumber,” right? This salad is sure to produce double the coolness thanks to the cucumbers AND mint.