By Lindsay Cohn

Published on August 31, 2017

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Photography by INSPIRED TASTE

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.

 
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Photography by ERIN CLARKE:WELL PLATED

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.  

 
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Photography by HALF BAKED HARVEST

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.

 
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Photography by ANNA WILLIAMS

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.

 
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Photography by HALF BAKED HARVEST

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.  

 
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Photography by THE STAY AT HOME CHEF

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.

 
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Photography by KRISTINE’S KITCHEN

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.

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Photography by TWO PEAS IN THEIR POD

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.

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Photography by NATASHA’S KITCHEN

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.  

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Photography by FASHIONABLE FOODS

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.

 
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Photography by WELL PLATED

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.

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Photography by COOKING CLASSY

Garlic Herb Potato Salad

This no peeler-necessary, garlicky potato salad by Cooking Classy goes well with everything from burgers to grilled chicken.

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Photography by ELISE BAUER VIA SIMPLY RECIPES

Pesto Pasta Salad

You can’t go wrong with pasta salad—especially when you combine fusilli, basil pesto, pine nuts, peas, and cherry tomatoes.

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Photography by THE VIEW FROM GREAT ISLAND

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.  

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Photography by INSPIRED TASTE

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.