Summer is around the corner, and that means BBQ season is in full swing! If you’re looking for some new and delicious salad recipes to add to your party menu, look no further. We’ve collected 21 of the best salads for BBQ season, ranging from simple sides to hearty main dishes.
You’ll find several BBQ side dish classics here, like black bean salad, corn salad, pea salad, macaroni salad, and potato salad. But we’ve also included lots of new and interesting ones that’ll tickle your taste buds for sure.
So get ready to fire up the grill and enjoy a summer feast with friends and family!
Must-Have Salads for BBQs
Here are a few of our favorite “essential” salads for a summer cookout. Start here, but if someone’s already making one of these dishes or you’re just feeling really adventurous, move on to the other categories.
Black Bean Salad
For a salad that pairs well with any kind of meat, try this black bean salad from Dinner at the Zoo. It’s a tasty blend of black beans, corn, peppers, onions, tomatoes, and avocado tossed with fresh herbs and a zesty lime dressing. Fresh corn off the cob will be delicious in this recipe, but you can use canned corn or frozen corn kernels that have been thawed.
Jalapeno Popper Potato Salad
Sure, you could show up to the party with a classic potato salad. That’s fine. But—what if, instead, you sauntered in with this next-level jalapeno popper potato salad from Spicy Southern Kitchen? You’ll be the BBQ MVP! Red potatoes, cream cheese, bacon, jalapeno peppers, and shredded cheese make up this delectable take on a classic. Make it at least an hour in advance to let the flavors come together.
Ramen Noodle Salad
Have you ever had ramen noodle salad? Grab the recipe from Little Sunny Kitchen and try it today! It’s a crunchy and tasty summer salad packed full of flavors. The crunchy texture from the cabbage, carrots, and ramen noodles are a welcome change from the usual salad fare. The sweet sesame honey dressing brings all the flavors together in under 30 minutes. It’s delicious chilled and also keeps well at room temperature, so it’s perfect for outdoor gatherings of all types. Sweet, salty, savory, and crunchy all in one dish—what could be better?
Five Bean Salad
If you’re feeding a crowd, this Five Bean Salad with Garlicky Mustard Sauce is easy to scale and quick to put together. It’s a combination of black beans, chickpeas, red kidney beans, cannellini, and fresh green beans. You can substitute your favorite beans in place of the others, though. One of the best things about this dish is that you can use canned beans (except for the green beans). It’s such a time saver. Put the whole thing together, including making the dressing, in about 20 minutes or so.
Veggie Salad Ideas
Go beyond lettuce and spinach with these vegetable salads that are hearty and satisfying.
Crack Corn Salad
Are you a fan of fresh summer corn? You MUST try this crack corn salad from Sweet and Savory Meals. Toss sweet corn, bacon, green onions, jalapenos and shredded cheddar cheese together with a delicious ranch dressing, and what do you get? Heaven in a bowl, that’s what. But don’t fret if you don’t have fresh corn on the cob. Canned or frozen corn kernels work, too. But if you use frozen corn, make sure you thaw it first.
Creamy Broccoli Salad
This low-carb favorite is a hit with everyone! Creamy broccoli salad is loaded with bacon, broccoli, onion, cheese, and a creamy homemade dressing made with mayo, sugar, salt, pepper, and apple cider vinegar. You want just enough to coat the salad without getting soggy. Get the recipe from Cincy Shopper.
Creamy Pea Salad
For a change of pace from the usual pasta salad or potato salad, take this creamy pea salad from Love Bakes Good Cakes to your next barbecue. The only thing you need to cook for this recipe is bacon, but you can even skip that step if you buy precooked bacon. How easy is that? If you’d like a cheesier salad, use shredded cheese in place of the cheese cubes. Fresh dill is a tasty addition to this salad, too, if you have some on hand. Once the bacon is cooked and crumbled, simply combine all the ingredients, mix, and chill.
Cucumber and Onion Salad
Cucumbers, onions, diced avocado, and grape tomatoes are tossed in a tangy dressing and topped with feta crumbles to make a delightful summer side dish. This cucumber and onion salad from Garlic Salt and Lime is light, healthy, and totally tasty. Whip up a big bowl of it in under 30 minutes. If you’re not a fan of feta, sub goat cheese instead. It’ll give the salad a creamier texture and taste.
Forget all that tossing. Opt for this wedge salad from Healthy Recipes 101 for your BBQ instead. It’s just as easy as it sounds: chop iceberg lettuce into wedges, top with blue cheese dressing (or ranch if that’s more your style), and add your favorite salad toppings like bacon, cheese, and tomatoes.
Don’t settle for ordinary mayo-laden coleslaw. Go for this broccolini slaw from Through the Fibro Fog instead. The fresh, crisp veggies are tossed in a flavorful dressing made with fresh mint for a refreshing take on a comfort food classic. It’s vegan-friendly, but the omnivores will dig it, too. This simple slaw goes well with many different meats.
Dill Potato Salad
Creamy and dreamy, this dill potato salad has the refreshing summer flavors you need to go with your barbecue dinner. Make it healthier by subbing greek yogurt for the mayo. That keeps it nice and creamy but with less fat. The mayo, onions, lemon, fresh dill, and parsley create the perfect balance of savory and tangy in this recipe from Cubes N Juliennes.
Pasta Salad Recipes
Below, you’ll find our favorite pasta salads for BBQs. But we have a terrific list of even more pasta salads for potlucks if you’re looking for more inspiration.
Loaded Southwestern BBQ Pasta Salad
This yummy make-ahead southwestern pasta salad is loaded with flavor. You’ll be happy to know that there’s no mayo in it, so it’s perfect for picnics and BBQs. Packed with black beans, southwestern veggies, and BBQ dressing, it’s easily adaptable to your family’s preferences. Use your favorite BBQ sauce to make the dressing, from sweet sauces to smoky mesquite flavors. To make this dish from Life Currents more of a meal than a side, toss in some shredded chicken or pulled pork.
Chicken Macaroni Salad
Need to use up some leftover chicken? Try this creamy chicken macaroni salad from Maple + Mango. Add veggies like corn, bell peppers, chopped onions, and diced celery to add color, texture, and flavor. The dressing is a creamy and tango combination of mayo, sour cream, Dijon mustard, and a few other simple ingredients. This macaroni salad tastes best if you have at least an hour or so before serving to let the flavors mingle. If it will be more than a few hours until you serve it, reserve some of the dressing to mix in right before you dish it out.
Strawberry Avocado Pasta Salad
Budget Delicious has put together the most scrumptious-looking strawberry avocado pasta salad we’ve ever seen. It’s made with everyday ingredients, looks gorgeous, and tastes amazing. The spinach, pasta, strawberries, and avocado chunks are tossed with poppy seeds, green onions, and a balsamic vinaigrette for a light and refreshing side dish.
Easy Italian Summer Pasta Salad
Italian pasta salad is a go-to potluck dish for many of us. It’s easy, always delicious, and gets gobbled up in no time, so you don’t have to worry about bringing home leftovers. It’s a cold, light, refreshing side or meal all in itself. Make it vegetarian by leaving out the pepperoni. With all the delicious banana peppers, olives, tomatoes, cheese, artichoke hearts, and bell peppers, you’ll never miss the meat. Although this calls for a delicious homemade Italian dressing, you can sub your favorite store-bought version instead if you prefer.
Southern Macaroni Salad
Considered a potluck staple in the South, this classic southern macaroni salad from Quiche My Grits is a real crowd-pleaser. Elbow macaroni, fresh tomatoes, celery, green onions, cucumbers, and cheese come together in a creamy mayo, vinegar, and sugar dressing that’s seasoned just right. You don’t have to stick to these veggies, though. During peak gardening season, sub whatever you have loads of—green peas, bell peppers, and zucchini squash are all terrific in macaroni salad.
Mixed Salads (With Meat and Veggies)
If you want to make a complete meal out of your salad, try one of these meaty versions. Protein, greens, and a few surprise ingredients in every bite—what could be better?
Pulled Pork Salad
Plan on serving pulled pork at your barbecue? This pulled pork salad from Aqueena the Kitchen needs to be on your menu. It’s kind of like a deconstructed pork sandwich with the addition of loads of fresh veggies like spinach, carrots, red onions, and yellow peppers. Add some cheddar cheese and croutons and you’ve got yourself a hearty salad to pig out on.
BBQ Chicken Salad
How gorgeous is this BBQ chicken salad from Lemon Blossoms? It’s totally a meal in itself, but it’s healthy and packed with flavor and texture. BBQ chicken, black beans, corn, juicy cherry tomatoes, onions, and avocado are coated in ranch dressing and topped with tortilla chips, shredded cheese, and chopped cilantro. Sounds and looks delectable.
More BBQ Salad Ideas
Here are a few more salad ideas with fruit. They’re light, refreshing, and balance out all the savory dishes you’re having with a bit of sweetness.
Grilled Peach Panzanella Salad
Get all the flavors of summer in a party salad that really wows. This grilled peach panzanella salad from Pizzazzerie is a twist on the classic panzanella (or bread salad). With the addition of grilled summer peaches for sweetness and toasted walnuts for crunch and an extra boost of protein, you’ll get raving reviews. Serve it as a side dish or enjoy it as a full meal. It’s really hearty! Leave out the tomatoes if the idea of peaches and tomatoes together doesn’t appeal to you. It’ll be just as delicious without them.
Grilled Watermelon Salad
Sweet grilled watermelon, fresh blueberries, and feta cheese are made for hot summer days. This fruit salad goes great with everything, so bring it to any and all of your picnics, potlucks, and barbecues.
Tropical Fruit Salad
For a dessert salad that’s still healthy, try this juicy tropical fruit salad from Glue Sticks & Gumdrops. Kiwi, strawberries, pineapple chunks, chopped mango, and grapes are tossed in a honey lime juice and topped with a healthy yogurt dip flavored with honey and cinnamon. It satisfies your sweet tooth without indulging in heavier desserts.
We hope you enjoyed this list of the best BBQ salads. Pin it to come back to it later!