16 Healthy Summer Side Dishes That Complement Fresh Seasonal Meals

Sugar Snap Pea Slaw
Photo: Blaine Moats

Fresh seasonal produce adds bright color and flavor to your favorite meals in our delicious and healthy summer side dishes. Discover fresh coleslaws, cooling gazpachos, easy salads, and more light summer side dish recipes each under 250 calories (most under 200) per serving.

01 of 16

Cucumber-Honeydew Salad with Feta

Cucumber-Honeydew Salad Feta
Andy Lyons

Sweet honeydew melon and tangy feta cheese make for an undeniable sweet-and-salty flavor combination. Toss the ingredients with red onion and cucumber for a 118-calorie fruit salad that can be stored up to 8 hours ahead of serving time.

02 of 16

Cherry Caprese Salad

Cherry Caprese Salad
Blaine Moats

Sweet corn, one of summer's most versatile offerings, pairs with juicy peaches and crisp radishes for an 80-calorie side salad that might just steal the show from your entrée. If you'd like, you can grill the corn before tossing it in a homemade vinaigrette to enhance the tender veggie's flavor.

Buy It: Monari Balsamic Vinegar ($4, Target)

03 of 16

Herbed Garden Couscous

Herbed Garden Couscous
Karla Conrad

Bored with green salads? Swap leaves for whole wheat couscous to make a grain salad. Couscous creates the base of this Morrocan-inspired recipe, plus it pairs delightfully with chunky cherry tomatoes, cucumber, and green bell pepper for lots of different textures and flavors in each bite.

04 of 16

Balsamic-Dried Cherry Salad Toss

Balsamic-Dried Cherry Salad Toss on a plate
Blaine Moats

When you're on the hunt for low-calorie side dishes for a cookout, add this fresh salad to the top of your list. Backyard cookouts tend to be filled with heavy, indulgent recipes, which we'll happily enjoy, but it's nice to have a lighter option in the mix. With fewer than 200 calories, this salad idea uses veggies, pecans, and olive oil to add healthy fats and fiber that help fill you up with nutritious calories not the empty calories from that bag of potato chips.

05 of 16

Quinoa-Nectarine Gazpacho with Tortilla Strips

Quinoa-Nectarine Gazpacho
Andy Lyons

Start your meal with a refreshing gazpacho brimming with ripe avocado, crunchy cucumber, juicy nectarines, and quinoa. Spicy jalapeño pepper complements the vegetarian summer soup's ginger beer and pineapple juice broth to create a unique healthy summer side dish.

06 of 16

Grilled Baby Veggies with Arugula-Mint Pesto Sauce

Grilled Baby Veggies with Arugula-Mint Pesto Sauce
Kritsada Panichgul

It's easy to achieve your daily serving of vegetables thanks to one of our best-loved summer vegetable side dishes. A rainbow of baby vegetables gains zippy flavor from an arugula, mint, and lime marinade that can also be served as a dipping sauce.

07 of 16

Fresh Veggie Soup

bowl of vegetable soup
Jason Donnelly

Sure, we usually think of soup as being cold-weather comfort food, but when you load a soup with fresh veggies, bright flavors from citrus and fresh basil, and keep it broth-based, it makes the perfect starter or side dish to your summer dinner. This summer vegetable side dish is surprisingly satisfying. For only 138 calories the vegan recipe fills you up with 11 grams of protein.

08 of 16

Cucumber Radish Slaw

Cucumber-Radish Slaw
Andy Lyons

All you need for this simple slaw is 20 minutes and a selection of garden-fresh radishes, cucumber, and bell peppers. The crunchy and quick vegetable side dish has just 30 calories per serving and pairs well with nearly every main dish, especially a great grilled recipe.

09 of 16

Triple Melon Salad

Triple-Melon Salad
Carson Downing

If you're a fan of all the melons flooding your grocery store during summer months, this is one of the best easy summer side dish recipes to add to your repertoire. Cut up six cups of any melon(s) you want; add peppery arugula, onion, and feta to cut the melon's sweetness; then drizzle with a homemade citrus dressing for a healthy side dish in 25 minutes.

10 of 16

Tomato and Red Onion Salad

Tomato and Red Onion Salad
Alison Miksch

Any tomato lover knows you get the absolute best-tasting tomatoes in summer months. Save this four-ingredient recipe to your easy summer side dish recipes collection and make it on repeat all season.

11 of 16

Arugula Pesto Potato Salad

Arugula Pesto Potato Salad
Scott Little

You won't miss the mayonnaise in this creamy potato salad once you taste its dreamy homemade pesto sauce. A topping of toasted pine nuts gives the side an added layer of nutty flavor.

12 of 16

Plank-Smoked Portobello Mushrooms

Plank-Smoked Portobello Mushrooms
Andy Lyons

If you're on a quest for summer side dish recipes under 200 calories that impress, these stuffed mushroom caps are a great choice. Filling the veggie with more veggies—spinach and mushrooms—keep the dish full of nutrition while bread crumbs and cheese add some indulgence.

13 of 16

Succotash Relish

Succotash Relish
Blaine Moats

If only all healthy summer side dishes could include fresh sweet corn. In our eyes it's the most summery summer vegetable out there. Frozen corn works great for year-round corn cravings, but adding fresh corn cut from the cob during corn's peak season (July through September) to this relish adds something extra special. Serve the relish as-is for a side dish or add it to your favorite protein to make it a meal.

14 of 16

Air-Fried Zucchini Chips

Air-Fried Zucchini Chips
Rachel Marek and Emily Hemmingsen

While your healthy summer entrée is baking in the oven or simmering on the stove top, set out your air fryer to crisp up this cheesy zucchini recipe. The panko coating and Parmesan cheese make it one of our summer vegetable side dish recipes even the kids (and kids at heart) will enjoy.

Buy It: Power XL Air Fryer ($120, Target)

15 of 16

Spicy Gazpacho

Spicy Gazpacho in a bowl with peppers

This summer soup is proof that chilled gazpachos can still pack heat. If you like things spicy use the Hungarian pepper option and even more jalapeños than the two called for. For a milder take opt for the Cubanelle pepper option and decrease the jalapeños to one (or part of one if you like things extra mild).

16 of 16

Grilled Corn with Smoky Lime Butter

Grilled Corn with Smoky Lime Butter
Andy Lyons

Corn on the cob is a summer must, and we've upgraded the golden favorite with a quick char on the grill and smoky lime butter.

Test Kitchen Tip: For even more smoky flavor, peel back corn husks and remove silks a few minutes before serving, then brush with some of the butter. Return to grill and grill 5 minutes more or until lightly browned.

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