Our Favourite Barbecue Side Dishes
Is it even summer if you haven’t got the barbecue out yet? We all love to make the most of the sunshine, and nothing beats the tasty delights of some outdoor cooking.
When you’re trying to watch what you eat, a barbecue can be a tricky occasion – all those delicious grilled foods can be too tempting! We’ve got SO many slimming-friendly BBQ recipes to help you out, so you can soak up the sunshine and never miss out on a yummy chargrilled feast.
It can be easy to think a BBQ is all about the meaty main courses. Whether you like a lean chicken steak, a grilled lamb kebab or a juicy burger, one thing’s for sure – you won’t want to miss out on our favourite barbecue side dishes.
Salads and veggies
The key to enjoying a slimming friendly barbecue is loading up your plate with plenty of salads and vegetables, as well as all the grilled meat on offer. Adding vitamins and nutrients as well as a splash of colour, no spread is complete without a few veggie side dishes.
This Mexican Corn on the Cob is a great place to start, because it can be cooked on the barbecue alongside your main dishes. It really packs a punch when it comes to flavour too – we’re talking sweet, spicy, sour and savoury all at once.
Finished with lime-infused yoghurt and some crumbled feta, this is a slimming-friendly barbecue must-try!
If you’ve gone big with your BBQ burger, why not save a few calories by choosing a side of these Cajun Style Green Beans instead of chips? Salty with bacon and spicy with Cajun seasoning, you certainly won’t feel like you’re missing out.
We love that this recipe uses frozen green beans for ultimate convenience. If you’re careful not to overcook them, you’ll find they’ve got a satisfying crunchy bite to them – tastier than a side of fries, and better for you too!
When it comes to side salads, it’s hard to find a more versatile dish of green goodness than our refreshing Greek Salad. Crisp and simple, it’s a much lighter take on the traditional recipe, swapping the heavy oil dressing and high-calorie olives for a drizzle of our sour and zingy lemon mixture.
This is the type of salad that really can go with anything. Whether you’ve piled your plate high with kebabs or gone for a smoky barbecued sausage, these leafy greens will add some much-needed freshness.
If you fancy a salad with a little more substance to it, this Jewelled Giant Couscous is exactly what you’re looking for. The giant couscous makes it nice and hearty, so it’ll fill you up without all the calories.
Thanks to the sumac in the recipe, this dish has an irresistible citrusy flavour that pairs so well with barbecued meat. Trust us, a spoonful of this rainbow-coloured side dish is going to go down a treat!
Potatoes, pasta and rice
A BBQ might be a meat feast, but there’s always room for carbs! Once you’ve served yourself some salad, a little helping of potatoes, pasta or rice will balance out your plate and help to keep you feeling full.
Your burger won’t be complete without a side of these Sweet Potato Fries. They have such a lovely colour and texture, and they taste amazing too! Crisp them up in the oven or in your air fryer, and don’t forget the ketchup.
There are no rules at a barbecue, so you can always put out a dish of Homemade Oven Chips on the table too, if you want the best of both worlds.
A scoop of Potato Salad goes with just about anything, although many shop-bought versions aren’t exactly slimming-friendly. Our lighter recipe is just as creamy, using a mixture of fat free natural yoghurt and quark to coat the fluffy boiled spuds.
Don’t be afraid to get creative with this recipe! If you like a bit of crunch, mix in some sweetcorn, gherkins or chopped up peppers. This is the perfect barbecue side dish to make in advance – it’ll keep in the fridge for a couple of days as long as you pop it in an airtight container.
Delicious on its own, there’s no reason you can’t also serve this BLT Pasta Salad as an accompaniment to your favourite barbecue treats. It’s so easy to throw together, and it’s a crowd-pleaser every single time.
Similar to our Potato Salad, we’ve skipped mayonnaise to keep the calories down, but you can always add a spoon or two to make it even creamier (just remember to work out the calories if you’re counting).
You can’t go wrong with our classic Savoury Rice recipe. Forget packet mixes, this version is lower in calories and even tastier than the microwavable rice you can get from the supermarket.
Better yet, you’re in control of what veggies you add in, so you can throw in all your favourites. The lovely yellow colour comes from the turmeric, with a couple of teaspoons of curry powder to add a subtle hint of spice.
Dips and sauces
When you’re putting the finishing touches to your BBQ spread, it’s important not to forget a couple of condiments, plus something to nibble on while the main course is cooking.
If your guests are peckish when they arrive, they’re going to be grateful to spot this Spinach and Pesto Dip on the table. Whether you put out some crunchy chopped vegetables, bread or pitta for dipping, this herby homemade dip will tide everyone over until the grilled food’s ready.
Green and vibrant, this recipe serves 2 but it’s easy to scale up to make sure there’ll be plenty to go around. It only takes 5 minutes to make – ideal if you want to make it on the day so it’ll be fresh and full of flavour.
Nothing says summer quite like our fruity, tropical Pineapple Salsa. Not only will it brighten up your table, it’ll perk up your taste buds too. A lively mixture of sweet, sour and spicy flavours, it’s a welcome change to a typical tomato salsa.
Perfect for scooping onto tortilla chips, this can also be loaded onto burgers or spooned over a sticky barbecue kebab – it’s so much more versatile than you’d think! At 47 calories per serving, we’ll be adding it on the side of everything!
If you need a double hit of barbecue flavour, we’ve got a BBQ Sauce recipe that’s sweet and smoky without all the calories of a shop-bought version. Whether you’re dipping in your chips or smothering it all over your burger, you won’t be able to get enough!
We love that this sauce can be made exactly to your liking – you can serve it chunky and tomatoey, or whizz it in the blender until it’s silky smooth. This is a slimming-friendly barbecue essential!
The finishing touch to your sunshine spread? A bowl of crunchy Buffalo Coleslaw always goes down a treat. Bringing the same crisp freshness as a classic coleslaw, this spiced-up version gets a lovely tang from blue cheese and a bit of heat from some hot sauce.
For just 67 calories per portion, you can serve this on the side of all your barbecue favourites. Pile your plate high with chargrilled meat, salad and these crunchy, creamy veggies and get stuck in! All that’s missing is one of these summer cocktails…
What’s the ultimate barbecue side dish?
What do you dish up to go with all your favourite barbecued foods? Be sure to let us know over in our Facebook group! We have nearly 1 million members ready to inspire, support and motivate you on your slimming journey, so head on over and join today if you’re not already a member!
Plus, if you’re on the lookout for even more inspiration, don’t miss our Gallery. It’s chock-a-block with photos from members of the Pinch of Nom community, so you can see what everyone else has been cooking lately.