Light and tasty BBQ sides

Make the most of summer barbeques with these tasty diet friendly side salad recipes. Far from being a meat and beer affair, brightly coloured sides and salads can work hard to stimulate the senses and make the meal healthy yet unforgettable. So take our tips on how to make the most of your summer BBQ salad and sides experience.

Simple is best

Summer barbeques are such fun – and easy to put together – so long as you keep things simple. There’s no need to overdo the choice on mains – just go for one or two options, such as steak or lean beef hamburgers, then choose chicken, lamb or vegetable kebabs. And for the pirce de resistance, add three or four interesting yet healthy side dishes to fill out your plates and make your meal complete – without affecting your diet or weight loss plan.

Time wise

If time is of the essence, or your summer barbeque is a last minute affair, choose light, tasty extras that you can toss together in a matter of minutes. It takes no time at all to put together a healthy, chunky salad or make your own diet version of potato salad that tastes far better than any fatty bought version. Just follow our easy BBQ ideas here. Don’t just rely on convenience foods as they rarely taste as good as home-made, plus they can be pricey, and you don’t have the same control over your diet with them.

Keep cool!

Be aware that in summer food must be always be kept cool and covered. Bacteria love warm temperatures and will grow at an alarming rate, so don’t leave food or salads for the barbecue sitting in the warm sun. If you can, prepare ahead and keep things refrigerated or in an esky until you need them. Always keep food covered with a lid or cling wrap, and keep it like this until the food is served. Humans aren’t the only hungry creatures around!

Lighten up

Move a million miles away from traditional BBQ side salads in oily dressings, potato salads with high fat mayonnaise or rich coleslaw. With a few clever changes, you can prepare options that taste every bit as good, with far less fat, and are much more diet friendly for you (and your barbeque guests).

First off, boil some small new potatoes in lightly salted boiling water until tender for a potato salad. Whilst they are cooking, beat together equal quantities of low-fat sour cream with low-fat plain yogurt. Add a couple of tablespoons of chopped fresh chives or parsley and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice if you like. Drain and cool the potatoes. Add the dressing and stir it through, then season to taste with salt and pepper! Delicious.

Next, make a healthy, colourful salad with chunky chopped cucumber, halved cherry tomatoes, radish, chopped spring onions and chunks of red and yellow capsicum, seasoned with black pepper and tossed in lemon juice. Lovely!

For your vitamin A hit, how about a fresh carrot and toasted sesame seed salad? Just peel and coarsely grate a couple of large carrots , then toss them with 50g of raisins or sultanas and 1 tsp toasted sesame seeds mixed with 2 tsp toasted sunflower seeds. Add a few drops of white wine vinegar – and you’re there! (To toast the seeds, put them into a large saucepan and dry-fry them until they start to brown lightly. Take care that you don’t burn them!).

Why not make refreshing coleslaw that’s so much tastier than the bought versions? Just finely shred some hard white cabbage, add a grated carrot , some finely chopped red onion, a couple of sticks of sliced celery and a chopped, cored apple. Add a little finely grated lemon zest, then dress in low-fat natural yoghurt. Crispy, crunchy and so good for you!

Fancy a slice of garlic bread? Make a low-fat Italian version called ‘brushetta’. Simply rub cut cloves of garlic over the surface of slices of Italian ciabatta. Spray with olive oil both sides, then place on the barbeque for a minute each side to char-grill.

Tzatziki makes a terrific healthy topping for barbequed food. All you have to do is combine a de-seeded and finely chopped Lebanese cucumber with 2 tbs of chopped fresh mint, 150g low-fat plain yoghurt, a clove crushed garlic, 1 tbs lemon juice and salt and pepper.

Veg out with lots of barbequed fresh sweetcorn, capsicum and zucchini. Simply cut the zucchini into thick slices on the diagonal, cut the capsicum into large pieces and slice the sweetcorn in half. Grill over the coals for about 5-8 minutes until nicely char-grilled, adding sprigs of fresh thyme or rosemary for an extra flavour hit. Fabulous.

Seems like your summer barbecues will be the healthy flavour of the month!



  1. Gabriella Monaghan December 30, 2017 at 11:16 am

    Yummy healthy ideas. We don’t have a bbq at the moment but have been to a couple this summer and both times I have made a quick and easy pasta salad that’s also yummy. I hate mayonnaise, so most the pasta or potato salads people usually bring do not appeal to me. The one I made is just pasta, with pesto. You cook the onions and capsicum, then add chopped cherry tomatoes, celery, baby spinach.
    You could also add things like tuna, bacon or chicken if you wanted to make it a bit more substantial, or other salad ingredients like cucumber, mushrooms, carrot etc.

  2. felicity beets December 29, 2017 at 9:45 pm

    great ideas for salads that you can make in advance to make everything run smoother later on. The potato salad sounds simple and delicious.

  3. Hollie Laird November 28, 2017 at 10:38 am

    Mmmm all these ideas sound delicious! I need to stop making the same old dishes and keep to the simple rule. I love fresh ingredients so I am now inspired to start using them in a variety of ways đŸ™‚

  4. Vikki Sainsbury November 28, 2017 at 8:41 am

    Yum, yum, yum! Love BBQ’s and love sides and salads even more! Even a simple fresh cherry tomato and capsicum salad with a drizzle of olive oil and some fresh cracked pepper đŸ™‚

  5. Jaqui Dyne November 27, 2017 at 8:36 pm

    We pulled out the bbq for the first time two evenings ago! Loved it! Instead of potato salad I simply boiled some cut up potato and cooked them on the bbq…super good and much less fat from using dressings!

  6. Amanda Carr November 27, 2017 at 8:10 pm

    BBQ and salads are the best we did this the other night everyone brought along a salad. I love these fresh ideas in this article it gives me more inspiration.

  7. Kym Moore November 27, 2017 at 6:01 pm

    For the longest time it was difficult to get anyone to bring a salad when we BBQ. But now I find everyone brings one, though they are the convenient ones. I try to make at least one from scratch for variety.

Leave A Comment