Healthy BBQ Side Dishes

Nothing says summer quite like a good barbeque. As the weather warms up, grills across the nation are firing up, bringing families and friends together. When you are trying to watch what you eat and manage your weight, a BBQ can seem like a dangerous temptation. Much of this anguish arises from the side dishes that accompany the grilled meat. From rich potato salads to hearty pastas, you consume most of your calories from food made in the kitchen, not put on the grill.

The good news? Just because you want to eat better doesn’t mean you have to skip out on the weekend barbeque. Instead, we’ve provided you some healthy alternatives to signature BBQ dishes. This way you can eat a delicious meal without any guilt or regret!

Avocado & Sweet Pea Dip with Baked Pita Chips

Chips and salsa, onion dip and potato chips, horseradish and dill dip are all a usually popular side that many indulge in at a BBQ. These dips aren’t necessarily the best option for those looking to stay health this summer. Here is an alternative that is low in fat and high in flavor: Avocado and sweet pea dip with baked pita chips!


  • 3 tablespoon water
  • 1 1/12 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ancho chile powder
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup frozen green peas, thawed
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 3 whole-grain pitas
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 large peeled avocado
  • 2 tablespoon fresh cilantro


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix chile powder, cumin, salt, and red pepper together. Split each pita in half to make six rounds. Then cut each round into six slices. Spread each wedge in a single layer on a baking sheet (you may need two sheets). Lightly spray pita bread with cooking spray and cover with chile powder mixture. Bake for six minutes or until crispy. Let them cool down.
  3. Mix the peas, water, remaining chile mixture, and lime juice in a food processor until smooth. Add in avocados and pulse. Move dip into a bowl and top with cilantro. And enjoy!

Spinach Pesto Pasta Salad

You don’t have to completely ward off pasta to be healthy. Here is an easy recipe for a fresh, light salad—the perfect summer side dish!


  • ½ pound of pasta (your choice, though we recommend whole grain)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 3 cups packed baby spinach
  • 3-4 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 2/3 cup parmesan cheese
  • Cherry tomatoes


  1. Prepare pasta as instructed. Drain and rinse with cool water.
  2. Puree spinach in a food processor with garlic and cheese. Slowly add in the olive oil until you reach your desired consistency. This will be the pesto sauce.
  3. Slice cherry tomatoes in half.
  4. Mix your pesto sauce and tomatoes with the pasta. You can serve right away or refrigerate for later.

Kale & Apple Potato Salad

No barbeque is complete without a potato salad. Here is a healthier, more delicious alternative.


  • ¾ Miracle Whip dressing
  • 2 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 4 cups chopped kale
  • 2 pounds red potatoes
  • ½ cup red onions
  • 2 apples


  1. Wash and cut your potatoes in quarters. Then cook and cool them. Thinly slice your onions. Finally, core and dice your apples.
  2. For the dressing, mix the Miracle Whip, mustard, and vinegar together. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Mix the dressing with the potatoes, apples, and onions. Toss together and chill for a few hours. Enjoy a fresher, healthier potato salad!

Mexican Street Corn

We present a new twist to classic corn! Here’s a flavorful take on grilled corn:


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 (10 ounce) bags of steam fresh frozen corn
  • ½ cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, chopped
  • 4 ounces low fat feta cheese
  • 2 tablespoons red onions, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons of your favorite hot/wing sauce
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped


  1. Prepare corn according to listed instructions.
  2. Heat corn in a large skilled with olive oil and cook for about 8 minutes or until lightly crispy.
  3. Take corn off the heat and mix in all the other ingredients. Serve alone or with tortilla chips, and enjoy!

We hope these light recipes brighten up your barbeque and allow you to eat with gusto this summer!

This article contains general information about medical conditions and treatments. The information is not advice and should not be treated as such. The information is not intended to replace the advice or diagnosis of a physician. If you have any specific questions about any medical matter you should consult your doctor or other professional healthcare provider.