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With Memorial Day just around the corner, the season for impromptu barbecues and backyard bashes is finally here. But instead of reverting to the default potato salad and hot dog menu, why not make your backyard barbecue extra special with some unique, delicious bites? We’ve rounded up the mouth-watering recipes you should be bringing along. From easy side dishes that you can make ahead, to veggie-friendly grill options and out-of-the-box salad ideas, these crowd-pleasing dishes offer a twist on the traditional.

Queso Fundido

Courtesy of The Modern Proper

The foodies behind The Modern Proper know that every good cookout deserves a decadent cheese dip and their chorizo queso surely fits the bill. The best part? It only requires four ingredients.

Roasted Carrot, Chickpea, and Harissa Dip

Courtesy of The First Mess

Ditch your standard party dip in favor of this spiced variation by The First Mess. When it comes to the toppings for the carrot and chickpea base, get creative—add toasted nuts for a textured crunch and herb sprigs for a refreshing note.

Baked Spicy Ranch Chicken Fingers

Courtesy of Half Baked Harvest

From its corn flake-breaded crust to the homemade ranch seasoning, Half Baked Harvest’s chicken fingers are dangerously addictive. Served with a tangy side of honey-mustard sauce, it’s poised to be an instant crowd-pleaser.

Greek Tortellini Pasta Salad

Courtesy of Creme de la Crumb

Pasta salads are a hallmark of a good BBQ and Creme de la Crumb’s zesty rendition certainly does not disappoint. Dressed in a Greek lemon vinaigrette, this tortellini salad comes loaded with kalamata olives, artichokes, and plenty of feta to boot.

Broccoli Salad with Sweet Miso Dressing

Try this sweet and savory take on a traditional, creamy broccoli salad, which subs in miso dressing, roasted shiitake mushrooms, sunflower seeds, and dried cranberries. Plus, it’s dairy and gluten-free, and vegan-friendly.

Slow Cooker Sweet and Spicy Sticky Wings


Wings are party favs, and this recipe is especially handy if you’re making them in advance – they practically roast themselves in your slow cooker. Delicious both warm and room temp, these sweet and spicy wings (thanks in part to brown sugar and Sriracha) are sure to be a hot item at your next barbecue.

Southwestern Caprese Bites


Skewered appetizers are genius for parties. They’re pre-divided into individual servings, easy to eat with one hand, and fun – who doesn’t like a yummy treat on a stick? We’re also loving the vibrant colors going on here, making a healthy combination of veg and cheese look artfully tempting.

Bacon Sriracha Potato Salad


Trade in that bland potato salad recipe for a batch of this tempting side, with plenty and bacon and Sriracha to keep your taste buds busy (and wanting more).

Cucumber Avocado and Feta Salad

Courtesy of Two Peas and Their Pod

Another tasty mayo-free salad idea-packed full of flavor thanks to avocado, fresh dill, lemon juice, and feta cheese. Feel free to expand on this Mediterranean-inspired combination by adding Kalamata olives, tomatoes, capers, or roasted peppers.

Cowboy Caviar


Chances are you’ve tasted this dip before, even if you’ve never heard the name. This ‘caviar’ is actually a simple combination of beans, peppers, onions, cilantro, and corn – great for topping a salad, burger, munching as a side, or eating with tortilla chips. And BONUS! – this recipe is also seriously healthy.

The story originally published in May 2018, it has been updated with new information.