Outdoor grilling parties boast plenty of stunning main dishes, but the humble side dish has every right to shine too. Why not apply the transformative benefits of grilling—caramelized, smoky, charred goodness—to side dishes as well, making the entire meal a true outdoor affair? Here are some of my favorite sides to prepare on the grill alongside my mains so that I can serve everything off one heat source while soaking in as much sun as possible.
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10 ingredients. 45 minutes. Quick, easy, and fresh weeknight recipes.
My favorite, singular moment during a barbecue is biting into a fresh, sweet ear of corn and allowing the juices to run down my arm. Our Husk-Grilled Corn with Seasoned Butter captures that midsummer magic while packing in lots of flavor with salt- and pepper-seasoned butter. Grilling the corn in its husk allows the kernels to lightly steam and remain tender over the high heat of the grill. Then, the husk is removed and the corn is brushed with the salted butter, which permeates and glazes the corn as it returns to the grates to lightly caramelize.
Husk-Grilled Corn with Seasoned ButterA simple two-step grilling process produces the best grilled corn you've ever eaten.
Artichokes are showstopping vegetables, fit for any sophisticated meal. But they also have a place at the picnic table; cooking them over the grill is an approachable way to bring out their nutty, earthy flavors to complement any summer meal. Our Grilled Artichokes with Lemon Butter recipe calls for parboiling the artichokes first with lemon juice, red pepper flakes, and salt, which seasons the artichokes from within and provides tenderness. The cooked artichokes are then tossed in extra-virgin olive oil to develop a strong char on the grill. Serve them at the picnic table with a flavorful mixture of butter, garlic, and lemon zest and juice, which comes together quickly in the microwave.
Grilled Artichokes with Lemon ButterCooking these vegetables perfectly on the grill took a bit of heart.
Everyone loves a potato moment at a cookout—whether it’s potato salad, baked potatoes, or in our case, Grilled Potato Wedges with Lemon-Dill Mayo. These wedges are like a smoky, crispy version of a french fry, with a generous seasoning of salt, pepper, and granulated garlic. To prevent the wedges from burning before their centers are fully cooked and creamy, the potatoes are softened in the microwave before they go on the hot grill. Like any solid potato moment, a creamy sauce is a must-have accompaniment—here, we stir together mayonnaise, fresh dill, olive oil, lemon, and garlic for a punchy, silky sauce perfect for dipping and dunking.
Grilled Potato Wedges with Lemon-Dill MayoIf you’re not already grilling your potatoes, this is the recipe to get you started.
Grilled Sweet Potato Salad
For a different starchy side, try our Grilled Sweet Potato Salad, which steams and chars sweet potatoes with onions atop the grill. The sweet potatoes and onion rounds are first tossed in a vinaigrette of lime juice, honey, chipotle, and cumin in a disposable pan, which is then covered in foil to help steam the potatoes while also seasoning them thoroughly. The potatoes are then transferred to the grill's cooking grates to develop a flavorful char. Finally, the vegetables are seasoned with more vinaigrette and sprinkled with feta, scallions, and cilantro for a fresh finish.
Grilled Sweet Potato SaladCould we create this summery side dish by cooking only on the grill?
Grilled Caesar Asparagus
Bright, snappy asparagus transforms into something delectable with a kiss of heat, with its frizzled tips and tender-crisp stems. Our Grilled Caesar Asparagus celebrates this summer vegetable by pairing it with a classic homemade Caesar dressing. Tossing the asparagus spears (ones that are preferably at least ½ inch thick) with some of the dressing before cooking them on the grill allows the spears to pick up a noticeable char without overcooking. We prefer to serve the spears with torn grilled bread and shredded Parmesan cheese to bring together the flavors of a Caesar salad. For a different application of a similar technique, try our Grilled Caesar Salad, which coats crisp romaine hearts in homemade Caesar dressing and grills them cut side down for a tender, smoky take on the classic salad.
Grilled Caesar AsparagusChar-grilled asparagus and pungent Caesar dressing make for a delicious pairing.
Charred cabbage is one of my favorite ways to enjoy this beautiful vegetable; the frilly leaves caramelize and crinkle in the heat, yielding a crisp bite that is both toothsome and tender. Our Grilled Cabbage encompasses all of these mellowed sweet and smoky flavors; start by slicing the cabbage into thick wedges, which keeps the core intact and prevents the cabbage from falling apart on the grill. Salting the cabbage beforehand draws out moisture to help soften and steam the interior on the grill. A simple lemon vinaigrette, made with shallot, honey, mustard, thyme, and lemon, is brushed on before grilling to encourage browning, with extra drizzled over the warm wedges afterward.
Grilled CabbagePutting cabbage over fire can transform it into a soft, sweet, deliciously smoky dish.
Grilled Zucchini and Corn Salad
Just because these side dishes are cooked on the grill doesn’t mean they can’t also be bright and refreshing. Our Grilled Zucchini and Corn Salad captures the bounties of summer by transforming two peak season vegetables on the grill and combining them into a refreshing salad. We start by brushing husks of corn and large planks of zucchini with a flavorful marinade of olive oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes before charring them on the grates. Afterward, the kernels are stripped from the corn and the zucchini is sliced into bite-size pieces; the mixture is tossed with the remaining marinade, plus fresh basil, lemon, and feta cheese for a punchy, salty finish.
Grilled Zucchini and Corn SaladTo give this midsummer salad a needed boost of flavor, we decided to play with fire.
We all know about grilled portobello mushrooms, but let’s not overlook the little guys. Our Grilled Button Mushrooms lean into the flavor benefits of applying high, dry heat to any mushroom, while tackling the obstacles of grilling smaller mushrooms. Trimming the stems first allows for even cooking, while tossing the mushrooms in olive oil, salt, and pepper provides moist and flavorful morsels that don’t dry out in the heat. For an extra-savory finish, the mushrooms are tossed in a disposable pan with butter, parsley, soy sauce, lemon juice, thyme, and garlic. The pan is set back on the grill and the entire mixture is cooked again briefly to seal in the flavor.