4 Sides That Will Revamp Your BBQ Game Plan

In a BBQ, the best sides win.

by Fatherly
Originally Published: 

This story was produced in partnership with Kroger’s® Private Selection® and Simple Truth® ingredients for the Perfect BBQ.

Summer’s here and the grill is hot. But even the staunchest of grillmasters will tell you: a BBQ may be carried by meats and main dishes, but it’s nothing without good side game. And while mashed potatoes are amazing, a bowl of starchy carbs isn’t always ideal for a hot day in the backyard. Side salads, once the most boring of pot-luck options, deserve a fresh new look to complete your cookout spread. We’ve teamed up with Simple Truth® to put together some side dishes that avoid the post-meal slog with pure, simple ingredients and vibrant flavors. These dishes are all super easy, super affordable, and most importantly: they’re delicious.

Tomato and Watermelon Salad

Nothing says summer like watermelon; they taste like vacation. Gourmet Chef Brooke Williamson helped us elevate our favorite fruit by tossing with tomatoes and mozzarella cheese. The result is a refined salad that will have the whole family smiling like it’s the first day of a three day weekend. Check out Brooke’s 1-minute method here. Total time: 30 MIN Serves: 10


  1. In a small bowl, whisk oil and vinegar. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine tomatoes, watermelon, red onion, mozzarella and basil.
  3. Add the vinaigrette and combine it well. Season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately, refrigerating any leftovers.

Fajita Pasta Salad

Pasta salad is a staple of the picnic table, but if you’re just drenching penne noodles in that white creamy stuff, people will pass it over. Spice it up with some Tex-Mex inspired spins for a more exciting option. This recipe is great because it’s flexible. Swap the chicken for more beans or throw some bell peppers in there. It’s all delicious!

Prep time: 20 MIN Cook time: 30 MIN Total time: 50 MIN + 1 HOUR MARINATING TIME Serves: 8


  1. Season chicken with salt and Seasoning Rub on all sides. Place inside a large, zip-top bag. Use a meat mallet or rolling pin to pound chicken to about 1⁄4 inch thickness.
  2. Squeeze juice of 1⁄2 lime into the bag. Add oil. Seal and massage liquid into the meat. Marinate in refrigerator at least 1 hour, or up to overnight.
  3. Heat grill to medium-high. Discard marinade and grill chicken approximately 6 minutes per side, ensuring a safe internal temperature of 165°F. Chop chicken into bite-size pieces. Set aside; keep warm.
  4. Meanwhile, prepare pasta according to package directions. Drain and immediately add frozen corn to hot pasta. Transfer back to pasta pot. Add beans, tomatoes, and onions. Stir to combine.
  5. To make the dressing, blend yogurt, 1⁄2 avocado, cilantro, 1⁄2 teaspoon salt, cumin, and juice of remaining 1⁄2 lime in a blender until completely smooth.
  6. Gently heat pasta mixture on stove until warm. Remove from heat and transfer to a serving bowl. Add chicken. Toss with dressing. Top with remaining 1⁄2 avocado. Serve, refrigerating any leftovers.

Crispy Chickpea and Orzo Salad

Speaking of pasta salad, Chef Brooke showed us a more gourmet upgrade that uses orzo for a fluffier, richer take. Add some crunch with roasted garbanzo beans and a creamy Goddess dressing, and you’ve got a pasta salad that won’t take up all of your leftover containers. Pro tip: To avoid clumping, wash, drain well, and toss with oil before cooking. Check out Chef’s recipe here.

Prep time: 10 MIN Cook time: 45 MIN Total time: 55 MIN Serves: 4


  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Place garbanzo beans on a clean dish towel and gently pat dry. In a small bowl, combine beans, oil, salt, paprika, and garlic powder; toss to coat.
  3. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Pour garbanzo bean mixture in even layer. Roast 40–45 minutes, gently turning every 15 minutes, until crisp and lightly browned.
  4. Add orzo to a large serving bowl. Top with tomatoes, cucumber and beans. Serve with dressing, refrigerating any leftovers.

Keto Ice Cream Sundaes

Okay, with three salads on the books, you deserve a treat. Sanding by the grill on a hot summer days demands ice cream. So for our final side item, we’re giving the greatest BBQ the curtain call it deserves with a keto-friendly dessert that harnesses the power of the greatest flavor combination known on this earth: chocolate and peanut butter.

Prep time: 5 MIN Cook time: 8 MIN Total time: 13 MIN Serves: 2

  1. Set sauté pan over medium-low heat. Toast nuts, stirring occasionally, 5–8 minutes until browned and fragrant.
  2. Stir peanut butter powder and water to create drizzle.
  3. Divide ice cream evenly between two bowls. Drizzle with peanut butter and sprinkle with nuts. Enjoy, freezing any leftovers.

Simple Truth® provides all-natural ingredients for fresh meals suitable for any diet. With clean snacking staples to meatless alternatives to your favorite Summer staples, the simple truth: is eating well doesn’t have to mean boring eating. So spruce up your BBQ with a selection of affordable and inspiring ingredients from Simple Truth®.

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