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
- 1⁄2 cup Simple Truth Organic™ Olive Oil
- 1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
- 2 containers (10 oz. each) Simple Truth™ Organic Grape Tomatoes
- 6 cups cubed watermelon
- 1⁄2 red onion
- 1 cup mozzarella balls
- 1 cup Simple Truth™ Simple Truth™ Organic Basil, cut into ribbons
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. pepper
- In a small bowl, whisk oil and vinegar. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine tomatoes, watermelon, red onion, mozzarella and basil.
- 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 lb. Simple Truth Organic™ Chicken Breast
- 1⁄2 tsp. salt, plus more for seasoning chicken
- Simple Truth Organic™ Mexican Style Al Pastor Seasoning Rub
- 1 lime, divided
- 2 Tbsp. Simple Truth Organic™ Olive Oil
- 1 box (16 oz.) Simple Truth Organic™ Penne Rigate
- 1 bag (12 oz.) Simple Truth Organic™ Frozen Corn
- 1 can (15 oz.) Simple Truth Organic™ Pinto Beans
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
- 3 green onions, finely chopped
- 1⁄2 cup Simple Truth Organic™ Plain Greek Nonfat Yogurt
- 1 avocado, cubed, divided
- 1 bunch cilantro
- 1⁄4 tsp. cumin
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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 can (15 oz.) Simple Truth Organic™ Garbanzo Beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 Tbsp. Simple Truth Organic™ Olive Oil
- 1⁄2 tsp. salt
- 1⁄4 tsp. smoked paprika
- 1⁄4 tsp. garlic powder
- 2 cups cooked orzo
- 1 container (10 oz.) Simple Truth Organic™ Grape Tomatoes, halved
- 1 cucumber, sliced then quartered
- 1⁄2 cup Simple Truth Organic™ Creamy Goddess Dressing
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 1⁄4 cup low-carb nuts of your choice, like Simple Truth™ Walnut Pieces, hazelnuts or almonds
- 4 Tbsp. peanut butter powder
- 3 Tbsp. water
- 4 scoops Simple Truth™ Keto French Ice Cream – Coffee Chip or Chocolate Chip, each work well.
- Set sauté pan over medium-low heat. Toast nuts, stirring occasionally, 5–8 minutes until browned and fragrant.
- Stir peanut butter powder and water to create drizzle.
- 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®.