There’s no better way to celebrate Labor Day weekend than with an all-American backyard barbecue. While you may need to do your grilling day of, there are plenty of delicious sides that you can whip up in advance. With these prep-ahead dishes, you can spend less time in the kitchen and more time hanging with your friends and family.
Cheesy Mushroom Puff Pastry Bites
For a small bite that’s a little more elegant than your standard BBQ side dish, try these puff pastries topped with caramelized onions and melty cheese. Blogger Well Plated recommends making these ahead and storing in an airtight container before reheating.
Blueberry, Melon, and Feta Fruit Salad Stacks
It may be a little unorthodox to serve a fruit salad as a side dish, but the addition of feta in Half Baked Harvest’s refreshing treat makes the perfect blend of sweet and salty.
Pad Thai Noodle Salad
A tasty twist on traditional pasta salad, Anna Williams’ pad thai noodle salad recipe substitutes chicken instead of shrimp for a lighter take on classic pad thai. As with most pad thai, this dish actually gets more flavorful when you make it ahead and refrigerate it.
Summer Herb and Chickpea Chopped Salad with Goat Cheese
Healthy? Check. Flavorful? Check. Super easy to make and requires basically no effort? Also check. Half Baked Harvest’s chickpea chopped salad is the ultimate no-fuss side dish.
Cilantro-Lime Orzo Pasta Salad
This is a fresh take on a classic pasta salad. Cherry tomatoes and a cilantro-lime dressing brighten up this orzo recipe from The Stay at Home Chef.
Creamy (No Mayo) Coleslaw With Apple
Coleslaw is the ultimate crowd-pleaser, and this lightened up version from Kristine’s Kitchen is no exception. You won’t even miss the mayo. The secret? Greek yogurt.
Mediterranean Three Bean Quinoa Salad
Three bean salad is a potluck staple. This Mediterranean-inspired recipe from Two Peas in Their Pod is loaded with quinoa, cucumbers, tomatoes, bell peppers, red onion, kalamata olives, and feta cheese.
Kale Salad With Blueberries
How pretty is this vibrant kale salad by Natasha’s Kitchen, topped with antioxidant-rich blueberries? And since kale doesn’t get soggy, you can make it a day or two ahead.
Southwest Brown Rice Salad
This brown rice salad from Fashionable Foods channels the flavors of the Southwest with black beans, corn, red onion, red pepper, and paprika-lime dressing. And it’s a great option for vegetarian party-goers.
Roasted Sweet Potato, Quinoa, and Black Bean Salad
We guarantee your guests will gobble up this protein-packed salad from Well Plated. The combination of roasted sweet potatoes, quinoa, and black beans is unique and tasty.
Garlic Herb Potato Salad
This no peeler-necessary, garlicky potato salad by Cooking Classy goes well with everything from burgers to grilled chicken.
Pesto Pasta Salad
You can’t go wrong with pasta salad—especially when you combine fusilli, basil pesto, pine nuts, peas, and cherry tomatoes.
Kale Slaw With Lemon Sesame Dressing
This colorful, healthy, crunchy kale salad gets a burst of flavor from carrots, radicchio, sunflower seeds and a lemony-sesame dressing. And the dressing recipe from The View From Great Island is simple to execute even if you’re more of a dressing-in-a-bottle type.
Tangy Cucumber Salad
Stay cool as a cucumber with this tangy salad by Inspired Taste. Light and fresh, it’s the perfect accompaniment to heavier meat and potato dishes.