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Healthy & Delicious Side Dishes for a Guilt-Free Outdoor BBQ [Recipes]

by Warren Fowler

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Cheese dip, French fries, and crisp onion rings. These are only a few of the many classic BBQ sides that are certainly delicious but are not the healthiest alternatives we could opt for.

Ribs, sausages, and all other meats often enjoyed at a BBQ, whether it’s during a get together with family & friends or during a BBQ camp,  are already high in fat in calories, it would not be a good idea to have such hearty sides. That said, if you make healthy side dishes, you’ll likely to balance out the whole meal.

BBQ will still be just as comforting (and filling) to the stomach as well as the taste buds but you will feel less guilty when you eat something fresh and healthy along with your barbequed meats.

Wondering what a healthy BBQ dish could possibly be like? Here, I’m sharing 9 scrumptious suggestions that will undoubtedly boost your appetite. I had made sure these suggestions don’t require baking or frying so that you can quickly and easily prepare them outdoors. Enjoy!


Grilled Carrots with Honey and Balsamic Vinegar


grilled vegetables


This is a sweet-salty combination that goes perfectly with any kind of BBQ meat. Plus, it’s very simple to prepare! All you need to do is peel the carrots and slice them in thin pieces lengthwise. Once you have done so, you can add a few pieces of onion as well as other types of vegetables, so you’ll add more flavor. Roast them on the barbeque until they are soft. Finally, season with salt, a bit of honey, and some olive oil, and balsamic vinegar.

Michelle Lyra, a mom who works at home for UK BestEssays and has plenty of time to organize BBQs outdoors, says this is her favorite BBQ side dish. “I just love the sweet and savory flavor that the honey and vinegar add,” - she says. “Plus, everyone in my family hates carrots, so I like unusual recipes that encourage them to try it. When it’s the only side to the BBQ, they have no other option but to eat it. I’m sneaky like that!” 


Southern Greens Salad


Can’t seem to convince others that kale is actually tasty? Serve this salad as a BBQ side dish and you’ll change their opinions for good!

You will need kale and collard greens, such as cabbage and broccoli (in equal quantities - around 1 pound of each for a salad that gives 4-6 servings). You’ll also need 2 onions, few cloves of garlic, red chili flakes, and honey, salt and balsamic vinegar to taste.

This salad would be nice if you served it fresh as is, but it’s even better if you steam the veggies. Just take a casserole that you can place on the barbeque, add some olive oil and sweat the onions. Add the garlic. Then, remove the tough stems of all greens and add the roughly chopped leaves to the pan. Allow it to cook for a few minutes until the veggies are soft. Add the salt, honey, and vinegar and it’s ready to serve!


Smoked Sweet Potatoes


smoked sweet potatoes


In my opinion, this is an absolutely stunning dish and like the other dishes on this list, it’s very easy to prepare!

Begin by wrapping a few sweet potatoes (one per person would be okay) in aluminum foil, individually. Make sure to poke each of them with a fork before doing that. Then, just bury the potatoes in the hot coals. It will take a bit longer for them to cook, so place them before you start cooking the meat.

Once they are done, remove the aluminum foil, cut or mash them and season with salt, pepper, chili powder, paprika, and a bit of mustard. 


Grilled Aubergines


You’ll love this Italian-style side dish! Just cut the aubergines lengthwise in half-inch pieces. Place them on the BBQ. They will be ready when they soften up; it’s a quick process. Next, season with salt, garlic, lots of parsley, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar. You’ll be surprised how simple and effective side this is.

You can do the same with zucchini, so you’ll add some versatility to the dish. 




a plate of Tzatziki


First things first, try and pronounce this dish – Tzatziki! It’s a fun name, isn’t it?  The great news is that this Greek cuisine favorite is also really refreshing dip that boosts your appetite!

All you need are Greek (whole) yogurt, cucumber, garlic, lemon zest and lemon juice, fresh dill, salt, and some olive oil.

Start by removing the seeds from the cucumber. You don’t want them because they will make the dip watery. Finely grate and drain the cucumber, and then season it with salt. Add it in the yogurt and add the remaining ingredients (without the olive oil) then chill. Before serving, sprinkle with some olive oil and sweet paprika on top.


Broccoli with Walnuts and Blackcurrants


Broccoli may have a bit of a bad rep when it comes to its taste but I happen to believe that a fresh broccoli salad makes a beautiful addition to any barbeque.

You can start by cleaning and roughly chop the broccoli florets. Wash the blackcurrants and clean the walnuts (you can also use almonds if you prefer). Prepare dressing of half a cup of Greek yogurt, ¼ cup orange juice, a bit of honey, a pinch of salt, and some olive oil and balsamic vinegar. 

Allow this salad to sit in the fridge for at least half an hour before you serve.


Texas Coleslaw


Texas coleslaw


As the name suggests, this dish originated in Texas, USA. It is a tasty and incredibly fresh salad that even those who are picky about vegetables will likely to enjoy.

What you’ll need are a whole cabbage, 3-5 shredded carrots, 2 green apples (shredded or in thin slices), one cup pecans, one red onion, and some fresh mint. Add all these ingredients in a salad bowl and serve them with orange-chili dressing.

For the dressing, you’ll need one tablespoon of Dijon mustard, ⅓ cup of extra-virgin olive oil, one teaspoon of honey, one tablespoon of hot water, one juiced orange, half a cup of sour cream, and some ground cumin. 


Buckwheat Salad


If you’re not eating enough buckwheat, you should definitely change that. Although it’s gluten-free, it’s still a great source of fiber. It’s abundant in minerals, including manganese, copper, iron, magnesium, and phosphorus. Plus, its nutty taste is absolutely delicious, and it fits well with any kind of meat and veggies.

Buckwheat needs cooking, so you’ll need to prepare it at home. Use one cup of buckwheat and two and a half cups of boiled water. Add salt to taste, cover the pan and allow it to cook for fifteen minutes. Do not open the pan; the buckwheat needs to be prepared with steam.

To make it even tastier, you can sauté finely chopped onion in olive oil and then add the buckwheat and water. When you’re ready to serve, add fresh tomatoes, cucumber, radishes, peppers, and whatever else you like. Add more salt if needed, and there you are – a healthy side that goes perfectly with barbeque meat.        


Watermelon, Avocado, and Ricotta Salad


watermelon, avocado and ricotta


If you’ve never tried adding watermelon to your salad, you’re in for a pleasant surprise! This refreshing fruit is actually quite versatile, and you have to stop missing out on its potential.

For this dish, all you need to do is to a (whole) small seedless watermelon, 2-3 avocados, and one cup of ricotta salad. Season with lime juice, mint leaves, a bit of olive oil, and some salt and pepper. It’s ready to be enjoyed!


Broccoli with Walnuts and Blackcurrants


A fresh broccoli salad is a beautiful addition to the barbeque. Just clean and roughly chop the broccoli florets. Wash the blackcurrants and clean the walnuts (you can also use almonds if you prefer). Prepare dressing of half a cup of Greek yogurt, ¼ cup orange juice, a bit of honey, a pinch of salt, and some olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

To achieve the tastiest version of this dish, allow this salad to sit in the fridge for at least half an hour before you serve.


barbecuing with friends


Now that you know healthy and easy side dishes to complement your BBQ meats, there’s no reason not to add some freshness and health to your barbeque experience with family and friends!


Been wanting to hold a tasty and healthy vegetarian-friendly BBQ that even meat lovers will enjoy? Why not go on a vegetarian culinary vacation

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