Our Favorite July 4th Side Dishes + New Recipe!

July 4th Round-Up: @CookSmarts favorite simple and healthy side dishesWith July 4th coming up in less than a week, we thought we’d round up some of our favorite BBQ and potluck side dishes that you can add to your upcoming cookout, grill fest, or summer get-together.

We also created a new recipe for our meal plan recently, and it’s just waiting to make an appearance at our Fourth of July BBQ, so we just had to share it with you today as well! It’s a simple, but delicious, take on a classic caprese salad, and uses the best produce that summer has to offer.

But before we get to that, let’s bring on some timeless sides that everyone at your gathering will love. And praise you for because, even though barbecues are all about meats and burgers, everyone is always grateful for some veggies and fruits!

As always, we create our recipes with simplicity, ease, and health in mind. That way, you spend less time in the kitchen and more time eating with your family and friends, and you feel good about what you eat.

Now let’s get our grub on!

[Click on the photos to get the recipes]

Potato Salad with Dill Greek Yogurt Dressing

July 4th Side Dish: Potato Salad with Dill Greek Yogurt Dressing via @CookSmarts #recipe

Potato salad is one of those classic BBQ side dishes that you can’t not have. It’s the perfect side to accompany your grilled meats, and the cool, refreshing taste balances the hot, charred steaks and burgers.

Our version uses a Greek yogurt dressing, which cuts back on all that heavy mayo, and we brighten it up with some fresh dill and citrus. [Our favorite way to add flavor and freshness to meals without adding a lot of calories.]

Hasselback Potatoes

July 4th Side Dish: Hasselback Potatoes via @CookSmarts #recipe

If you’re so over the whole potato salad thing (been there, done that), then impress your guests and toss these hasselback potatoes on the grill! They’re fun to eat and are sure to be a conversation starter at your potluck or picnic: “How exactly did you make these?!” Well, it’s all so easy…

Tomato Bruschetta

July 4th Side Dish: Tomato Bruschetta via @CookSmarts #recipe

If we’re sounding a little carby with the potatoes and bread now, bear with us for a bit. Whenever you’re going to a potluck or you’re in charge of feeding a bunch of people, carbs will really do the trick. Ingredients like bread, grains, and potatoes are budget-friendly items, and they’re filling enough, so you won’t run the risk of not having enough food. Besides, we’ll be balancing out this bread side dish with fresh summery tomatoes, so it’s not just bread!

We love this dish, because it’s so easy to make and perfect for celebrations that call for the grill. The tomato topping can be made ahead of time, the bread sliced beforehand, and then all you have to do is toss the bread on the already-hot grill.

Again, we’re all about making cooking easier for you, so make sure to put this hack to the test when you prep your cherry tomatoes:

Baby Spinach Caprese Salad

July 4th Side Dish: Baby Spinach Caprese Salad via @CookSmarts #recipe

This is the new recipe we were telling you about in the beginning of this post. (Recipe is at the bottom, so scroll on down if you just can’t wait any longer!)

This salad is so light and fresh, with fragrant basil, sweet tomatoes, crisp cucumbers, and soft mozzarella. . .the perfect salad to balance out all the heavy (but tasty!) meat and carbs.

The addition of baby spinach not only adds more good-for-you fiber and iron, it helps bulk up this salad a bit, especially when you’re trying to feed more people. The classic caprese with only tomatoes, mozzarella, and fresh basil might not be enough to go around without you shelling out for a ton of fresh mozz and basil. So the spinach allows everyone to get their fill and still enjoy the caprese flavors.

Cooking Tip: If you decide to make this caprese salad as well as the Tomato Bruschetta above, you can save a lot of time but still have two different meals. Halve all the cherry tomatoes at once and use for both the bruschetta topping and the salad. Chiffonade all your basil and top on both the salad and the bruschetta. That’s how you make once, enjoy twice!

Grilled Peaches with Balsamic Vinaigrette

July 4th Side Dish: Grilled Peaches with Balsamic Vinaigrette via @CookSmarts #recipe

So we have our potatoes, bread, and greens ready for the BBQ. . .How about some fruit?

Nothing screams SUMMER! like peaches, and they are so good when grilled. Sweet, juicy peaches get a nice smoky flavor when you cook them on the grill, and we take it a step further by drizzling a homemade, sweet and tangy balsamic vinaigrette on top.

Cooking Tip: Make a bigger batch of balsamic vinaigrette from the Baby Spinach Caprese Salad above instead, and use half of it on these peaches. That way, you don’t have to make two separate vinaigrettes!

Red, White & Blue Salad

July 4th Side Dish: Red White and Blue Salad via @CookSmarts #recipe

We couldn’t end this recipe round-up without getting a bit festive, so here’s another way to enjoy some refreshing fruit as part of your July 4th potluck. This recipe is the easiest of the bunch to make, since it only calls for 3 ingredients, and you don’t need to do any cooking. Berries are at their peak now, so you definitely want their flavors to shine through by keeping it simple.

If you’re not feeling like red, white, and blue, toss together a bunch of your favorite summer fruits for a quick, healthy, and delicious fruit salad. Fruits taste the best when they are in season, so consult our Fruits by Month Infographic to see which fruits are at their peak now.

These are our favorite side dishes that we like to include in any of our summer events, but let us know in the comments below, what your favorite July 4th side dishes are. We’re always down for some new ideas!

Hope everyone has a cool, sweet, and wonderful Fourth of July, filled with lots of good eats! Don’t forget to check out our new favorite salad recipe below:

Baby Spinach Caprese Salad
Author: Jess Dang
Prep time:
Total time:
Serves: 4
This simple salad with classic flavors is a refreshing taste of summer and all the great produce summer has to offer. A perfect accompaniment to your July 4th BBQ or any light weeknight meal!
  • Ingredients
  • Baby Spinach Caprese Salad:
  • Tomatoes, cherry – 1/2 pint, halved
  • Cucumbers – 1/2, chopped
  • Mozzarella, fresh – 4 oz, cubed
  • Basil – 2 to 3 sprigs, sliced
  • Spinach, baby – 5 oz
  • Balsamic-Honey Vinaigrette:
  • Balsamic vinegar – 2 Tbsp
  • Honey – 1 1/4 tsp
  • Dijon mustard – 1 1/4 tsp
  • Cooking oil – 2 Tbsp + 2 tsp
  1. Tomatoes / Cucumbers / Mozzarella / Basil – Prep as directed.
  1. Make vinaigrette – Whisk together balsamic vinegar, honey, Dijon mustard, and cooking oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
  2. Toss tomatoes, cucumbers, mozzarella, basil, and spinach with rest of vinaigrette. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  3. Enjoy with your favorite summer meal!

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