65 One-Step Summer Sides

These easy summer side dishes are lifesavers on busy nights. Find salads, veggies and so many other goodies that come together in a snap.

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Sour Cream Cucumbers

We have a tradition at our house to serve this creamy cucumber salad with the other Hungarian specialties my mom learned to make from the women at church. It’s especially good during the summer when the cucumbers are freshly picked from the garden. —Pamela Eaton, Monclova, Ohio

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Grilled Zucchini Salad with Mediterranean Dressing

This zucchini salad with Mediterranean dressing is the best side dish. I also like to add summer squash for a variation, or crumbled goat cheese when I want some extra creaminess. —Rashanda Cobbins, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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Caprese Salad

My husband and I love Caprese salad, but not the high prices we pay for it in restaurants. Here, we created our own version which tastes incredibly close, if not better, than any restaurant version we've tried. —Melissa Pearson, Sandy, Utah
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Zesty Sugar Snap Peas

Lemon pepper and garlic make these crisp-tender sugar snap peas flavorful and a nice accompaniment to a variety of entrees. You'll come to rely on this six-ingredient recipe. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Tomato-Melon Chicken Salad

Nothing says summer like picking watermelon, tomatoes and raspberries, then tossing them together in a salad. The addition of grilled chicken makes it a satisfying summery meal. —Betsy Hite, Wilton, California
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Stir-Fried Zucchini

I plant many vegetables to use in cooking. Zucchini is among our favorites. That is why this zucchini stir-fry is so popular at our house. —Deborah Elliot, Ridge Spring, South Carolina
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Ruby Raspberry Slaw

Give ordinary coleslaw a "berry" tangy twist. It's sure to get raves at your next picnic or potluck. —Deborah Biggs, Omaha, Nebraska
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Garlic Creamed Spinach

This creamed spinach side goes with just about anything. Try it with pasta, roasted pork or baked chicken. —Debbie Glasscock, Conway, Arkansas
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Sauteed Garlic Mushrooms

These tasty garlic butter mushrooms are so delicious served with steak, chicken or pork. The sauteed garlic is the secret! —Joan Schroeder, Mesquite, Nevada
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Tasty Marinated Tomatoes

My niece introduced me to this colorful recipe some time ago. I make it when I have buffets or large gatherings because it can be prepared hours ahead. This is a wonderful way to use a bumper crop of tomatoes. —Myrtle Matthews, Marietta, Georgia
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Skillet Cabbage

I use this dish often when the schedule gets tight and I need a hurry-up vegetable to cook. It adds plenty of substance to a simple meal. —Charmaine Fricke, St. Charles, Illinois
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Creamy Jalapeno Corn

This comforting and creamy corn side dish is appealing to almost everyone. It gets its spicy kick from jalapeno peppers.—Judy Carty, Wichita, Kansas
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Easy Baked Beans

My family enjoys this easy baked beans recipe with cornbread, but it also rounds out any cookout. Canned pork and beans make meal prep quick. —Phyllis Schmalz, Kansas City, Kansas
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Lemon Rice Pilaf

No need to buy premade pilaf mix when you can easily make your own in 20 minutes. The lemon zest adds a welcome burst of tang. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Pomegranate Splash Salad

The sparkling pomegranate gems make this salad irresistibly beautiful. My family loves it at holiday gatherings when pomegranates are in season. Even the children can't get enough of this antioxidant-rich delight. —Emily Jamison, Champaign, Illinois
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Asian-Style Green Beans

These Asian-style green beans are a tasty addition to any meal. The flavors of sesame oil and soy sauce work so well together! —Susan Bickta, Kutztown, Pennsylvania
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Marinated Broccoli

This festive side dish couldn't be easier to throw together. But because it's so pretty, it's perfect for special occasions. —Edna Hoffman, Hebron, Indiana
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Corny Green Bean Casserole

Crushed crackers and french-fried onions create a fast and flavorful topping for this home-style green bean casserole with cheese. It's the perfect cheesy dish to take to potluck dinners. —Dorothy Bahlmann, Clarksville, Iowa
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Minty Peas and Onions

Mother always relied on peas and onions when she was in a hurry and needed a quick side dish. Besides being easy to prepare, this recipe was loved by everyone in our family. It was handed down to my mother by my grandmother. —Santa D'Addario, Jacksonville, Florida
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Fiesta Red Potatoes

My son-in-law, who is very creative, came up with these potatoes. Use only one jalapeno or serve these fiery potatoes with sour cream to cool them off a bit. —Pat Pennell, El Dorado Springs, Missouri
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Air-Fryer Sweet Potato Fries

I can never get enough of these air-fryer sweet potato fries! Even though my grocery store sells them in the frozen foods section, I still love to pull sweet potatoes out of my garden and slice them up fresh! —Amber Massey, Argyle, Texas
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Mixed Veggies and Rice

To add variety to sides for those who don't care for potatoes, I came up with this colorful dish. It's an easy slow-cooker recipe that you can put right onto the buffet table. —Judy Batson, Tampa, Florida
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Green Beans in Bacon Cheese Sauce

I like to take this side dish to potlucks because it is easy to make and is always popular. —Karen Lewis, Pleasant Grove, Alabama
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Nutty Green Salad

This is a deliciously different summer salad just for two. You’ll want to try the light curry-orange dressing! —Barbara Robbins, Chandler, Arizona Beach, Florida Delray Beach
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Carrots and Snow Peas

This is without question my favorite side dish, both for flavor and ease of preparation. Sherry adds an amazing spark to the vegetables. —Cheryl Donnely, Arvada, Colorado
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Air-Fried Radishes

Radishes aren't just for salads anymore. These fried radishes make a colorful side for any meal. Plus, they're quick to make in your air fryer. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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Black-Eyed Peas with Collard Greens

Time to gather round the table, y'all! This dish has special meaning on New Year's Day, when Southerners eat greens for future wealth and black-eyed peas for prosperity. —Athena Russell, Greenville, South Carolina
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Skillet Red Potatoes

When I'm in a hurry to prepare potatoes, I resort to this recipe for skillet potatoes that I created myself. The mix of seasonings is just right and makes a delicious, attractive side dish. It's been a family favorite for a long time and fits with most any meal. —Lois Collier, Vineland, New Jersey
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Creamy Red Potatoes

This rich and creamy potato side dish is my go-to for potlucks. It’s super easy to double, so I usually do. Folks almost always take seconds, and I almost always get compliments. —Shelia Schmitt, Topeka, Kansas
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Salsa Corn

All you'll need for this corn salsa recipe is corn and pico de gallo—a simple and effective solution for last-minute guests. —Danielle Lee, Sewickley, Pennsylvania
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Summer Zucchini Pasta

I'm always experimenting when my garden is cranking out zucchini and summer squash. This simple and healthy pasta dish is one of my latest wins. It's meatless, but you can add shredded chicken or grilled salmon for a heartier dish. —Beth Berlin, Oak Creek, Wisconsin
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White Beans and Spinach

This skillet side is a variation of a recipe I received from my Italian mother. I've prepared spinach this way for years—because my children eat it happily! —Lucia Johnson, Massena, New York
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Seasoned Fries

These fries are always popular with my meat-and-potatoes bunch. The cheesy seasoning can easily double as a flavorful baked potato topper, too.—Maribeth Edwards, Follansbee, West Virginia
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Italian Tomato Cucumber Salad

This yummy Italian cucumber and tomato salad recipe is a cool complement to zesty fish dishes or barbecued meats and poultry. —Florine Bruns, Fredericksburg, Texas
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Macaroni and Cheese for Two

This is one of those dishes that our family calls "a Mama recipe." My mother rarely consulted a cookbook, so when asked for a recipe, she could only estimate. I've worked out the ingredients to make it for two, but it can easily be doubled. It's simply a good, wholesome dish most folks seem to enjoy. —Betty Allen, East Point, Georgia
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Asian Cucumber Salad

This colorful Asian cucumber salad makes a simple, cool side dish when we have stir-fry for dinner. —Tari Ambler, Shorewood, Illinois
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Balsamic Asiago Salad

You can toss this tasty salad together in 10 minutes flat. Simply drizzle bottled dressing over the colorful blend of greens, tomato and peppers. Then add a quick sprinkle of garlic-seasoned cheese and serve. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Cheddar Mashed Cauliflower

Want an alternative to mashed potatoes? Try cauliflower jazzed up with cheddar cheese and rosemary. —Chrystal Baker, Studio City, California
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Green Salad with Tangy Basil Vinaigrette

A tart and tangy dressing turns a basic salad into something special. It works for weeknight dining but is good enough for company and pairs perfectly with just about anything. —Kristin Rimkus, Snohomish, Washington
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Bok Choy Toss

Chop some fresh veggies, add a gingery bottled dressing and savor this unique bok choy salad that’s big on flavor and crunch. How cool is that? —Andrew McDowell, Lake Villa, Illinois
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Broccoli Cauliflower Combo

Shallots, basil and broth rev up the taste of this nutritious vegetable medley. The bright color and fresh flavors will dress up your plate! —Clara Coulston, Washington Court House, Ohio.
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Garlic Asiago Cauliflower Rice

The garlic seasoning and Asiago really pack a punch, making this five-ingredient low-carb side dish a real weeknight winner. —Colleen Delawder, Herndon, Virginia
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Festive Corn 'n' Broccoli

This recipe is delicious and versatile. I often substitute a tablespoon of minced fresh basil for the dried, and two to three ears of sweet corn (about a cup cut fresh from the cob) for the Mexicorn. —Lucile Throgmorton, Clovis, New Mexico
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Candy Bar Apple Salad

This creamy, sweet salad with crisp apple crunch is a real people-pleaser. It makes a lot, which is good, because it will go fast! —Cyndi Fynaardt, Oskaloosa, Iowa
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Quick Cheesy Broccoli

Topped with crumbs, this cheesy broccoli is a decadent side dish for any occasion. Plus, it can be on the table in just 10 minutes! —Joan Hallford, North Richland Hills, Texas
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Bacon Cabbage Stir-Fry

For a flavorful side dish, try this fried cabbage and bacon. It's not only delicious, but fast to fix when you need to get dinner on the table quickly. —Lori Thompson, New London, Texas
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Arroz con Gandules (Rice with Pigeon Peas)

Feed a crowd with this authentic arroz con gandules recipe, which was handed down to me from my mom. It's a staple with the familia at all our gatherings. —Evelyn Robles, Oak Creek, Wisconsin
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Sweet Pepper Skillet

If you're looking for tasty sweet pepper recipes to go with spaghetti or meat loaf, this is it. The easy pepper medley is a snap to saute on the stovetop. —Sundra Hauck, Bogalusa, Louisiana
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Baked Vidalia Onions

Vidalia onion recipes are some of my favorites to whip up. Served alongside any of a variety of fish and meats, these tender onions are a nice change of pace. Folks find it a fun and flavorful side dish. —Norma Durham, Rogersville, Tennessee
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Smoky Cauliflower Bites

These healthy little treats work well as a side or as fun bite size appetizers. Roasting the cauliflower adds deep flavor and gives it an irresistible crunch. —Courtney Stultz, Weir, Kansas
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Spanish Rice

You'll find my easy Spanish rice is better than any boxed mix in grocery stores. Best of all, it can be prepared in the same amount of time as those so-called "quick and easy" boxes. —Anne Yaeger, Washington, DC
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Simple Maple Baked Beans

I came up with this recipe in a pinch after running out of baked beans at our oldest daughter's birthday party. I dressed up canned beans with maple syrup and a few other ingredients to produce this sweet, saucy version that tastes like homemade. They're so easy to fix that I rarely make baked beans from scratch anymore.
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Broccoli Rice Casserole

This hearty broccoli rice casserole is my usual choice to make for a potluck. With the green of the broccoli and the rich cheese sauce, it's pretty to serve, and it makes a tasty side dish for almost any kind of meat. —Margaret Mayes, La Mesa, California
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Glazed Julienned Carrots

There's just enough butter and sugar in this glazed julienned carrots recipe to bring out its natural sweetness. With just five ingredients, this recipe is ready to serve in minutes. —Mary Lou Boyce, Wilmington, Delaware
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Colorful Couscous

We love it when side dishes pop with color, like the bright pepper accents you'll see in this light and fluffy couscous. It's a scrumptious and welcome switch from baked potatoes or rice. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Glazed Carrots with Green Grapes

After receiving a slow cooker many years ago and not knowing what to do with the thing, I finally branched out and read up on what it was all about. This is one of the recipes I make that is really enjoyed by all at any time of the year. It is so colorful and a delightful side for any meal. —Lorraine Caland, Shuniah, Ontario
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Garlic-Herb Fried Patty Pan Squash

The first time I grew a garden, I harvested summer squash and cooked it with garlic and herbs. This fried patty pan squash recipe is a creative twist. —Kaycee Mason, Siloam Springs, Arkansas
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Fried Cabbage

When I was young, my family grew our own cabbages. It was fun to put the cabbage to use in the kitchen, just as I did with this comforting side. With potatoes, deviled eggs and cornbread, fried cabbage tastes like home. —Bernice Morris, Marshfield, Missouri
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Savory String Beans

I love making this dish when I can pick the beans right out of the garden and put them into the pot. The fresh taste is unbeatable. I've also made it with beans purchased at the store. Either way, you'll find this recipe a winner. There's no need for any extra seasonings at the table. —Ina Reed, Kingman, Arizona
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Parmesan Herbed Noodles

Looking for a quick, tasty side dish that goes well with all kinds of meats? Try my recipe for tender noodles. For a colorful variation, sometimes I add slightly cooked red and green peppers and a quarter cup of peas. —Denise Elder, Hanover, Ontario Elder
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Broccoli and Apple Salad

Even my picky daughter loves this one! My yogurt dressing on crunchy veggie salad makes a cool and creamy side dish. —Lynn Cluff, Littlefield, Arizona

Caroline Stanko
Caroline has been with Taste of Home for the past seven years, working in both print and digital. After starting as an intern for the magazine and special interest publication teams, Caroline was hired as the third-ever digital editor for Taste of Home. Since then, she has researched, written and edited content on just about every topic the site covers, including cooking techniques, buzzy food news, gift guides and many, many recipe collections. Caroline also acts as the editorial lead for video, working with the Test Kitchen, videographers and social media team to produce videos from start to finish. When she’s not tip-tapping on a keyboard, Caroline is probably mixing up a killer cocktail, reading a dog-eared library book or cooking up a multi-course feast (sometimes all at once). Though she technically lives in Milwaukee, there is a 50/50 chance Caroline is in Chicago or southwest Michigan visiting her close-knit family.