7 side dishes to spruce up your summer barbecue

The summer holidays are coming, and with them the promise of sunny days spent in the garden or on the beach.  Enjoying family meals al fresco. Leave the burnt sausages to someone else this year and put the finishing touches on your outdoor dining with some easy side dishes that the kids can even help you make.

Fuss-free veggie kebabs

Simple, healthy and ready to eat in minutes, vegetable kebabs are a staple of any good family barbecue. Sliced peppers, tomatoes and mushrooms cooked to perfection will please most people. But give them the wow-factor by adding chunks of butternut squash and glazing with honey-mustard dressing.

Spruce up that sweetcorn

Corn on the cob, grilled in foil and smothered in butter, is a timeless summer side. Help yours be something a little more special by topping Italian-style with basil and parmesan before grilling as usual to really lock in the flavour.

Summer barbecue

Not just a tub of coleslaw

An aptly-named recipe from Brown-Eyed Baker, “fancy pants coleslaw” is a great twist on the usual combination of ingredients. It’s much better than shop-bought and a little more interesting than you might expect.

How do you pronounce that again?

Baba Ganoush is easy to make and delicious to eat, yet it’s often overlooked in barbecue planning. Fry up two chopped aubergines with half a red onion and two cloves of garlic, then whizz through a blender with a bunch of fresh basil and a healthy splash of olive oil. Voila! Baba Ganoush. Serve it with some crusty bread or ciabatta to suit.

All things potato

You can’t go wrong with a classic potato salad, but chunky wedges or curly fries make excellent alternative crowd-pleasers for people who want to avoid smothering everything in lashings of mayonnaise. For wedges, simply slice those spuds and oven bake in oil and salt until golden, or go for a pre-made curls like McCain Curly Fries if you’d like to save on prep time and go big on flavour.

Child-friendly salad styles

The idea that it’s difficult to get kids to eat salad comes from a lot of people making a lot of very bad salads over the years. Of course, something simple like sliced cherry tomatoes and cucumber tossed over crisp gem lettuce is inoffensive and goes with everything, but don’t be put off giving your little ones something a bit more imaginative. There are a whole bunch of kid-approved recipes that are well worth trying out.

Obligatory BBQ beans

Beans aren’t something we always think of in British BBQ-ing, but our friends across the pond have the got the right idea when it comes to sneaking an extra bit of your five-a-day into the barbecue peripherals. For the fullest flavour you’ll want to start these in advance of your other dishes so there’s time to reduce the mix. Two cups of vegetable stock, a dollop of honey and mustard, a few spoonfuls of barbecue rub and brown sugar are added to run-of-the-mill beans to give them stand-out status.

Once the food is all sorted, don’t forget to read these tips to create the perfect outside space.

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