10 Quick and Effortless Grilling Side Dishes for Busy Bees

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As much as we want to knock everyone’s socks off with killer side dishes, sometimes life can get pretty hectic — leaving us with no time or energy to go all out!

Luckily, there are quick and effortless side dish recipes out there that we can always fall back on when we have a lot on our plate. 

And spoiler alert: they are always a success!

This is the secret: use tried and true recipes but add some pizzazz to wow your guests. I’ve been doing it for a long time, and it has never failed me ever since. 

So, let’s see this plan in action, shall we — starting with my grilled sweet potatoes with orange-ginger butter.

1. Grilled Sweet Potatoes With Orange-Ginger Butter

Everyone knows what grilled sweet potatoes are. They’re a must-have at any BBQ grill. But what’s different about this dish is the touch of orange-ginger butter.

So, to begin, I prep four medium-sized sweet potatoes by washing them thoroughly and patting them dry with a towel.

Once they’re clean, I cut them lengthwise into wedges. 

Here’s the thing: I’m not really a fan of thick wedges, so I try to slice mine as thin as possible to maintain the perfect crunch after grilling. 

Once my wedges are ready, I grab a large bowl and toss my sweet potato wedges with two tablespoons of olive oil and some salt and pepper. 

For this part, I usually just use my hand to toss it all together.

Next, I make my butter by mixing a quarter cup of room-temperature unsalted butter, a tablespoon of grated orange zest and orange juice, a tablespoon of grated ginger, and a bit of salt.

After mixing the butter, I grill my sweet potato wedges and cook for around five minutes per side. If you want them a bit crispier, you can add a minute or two to the timer before taking them off the heat. 

Finally, put a spoonful of your homemade orange-ginger butter on your grilled sweet potatoes, and voila! In just a few minutes, you’ve already made an elevated grilled side dish!

2. Grilled Sweet Potato Fries With Garlic and Herb

This next recipe is pretty similar to our first recipe. We’re still using grilled sweet potatoes. But instead of cutting them into wedges, we’re making fries out of them.

So, to start, follow the same prep work with your sweet potatoes as the first time. Then, use a potato cutter grid slicer to cut your potatoes into fries. 

If you don’t have this tool at home, you can use your good ol’ trusty knife. It works just as well.

Once you’ve cut all your sweet potatoes, toss them in a bowl with three tablespoons of olive oil, four minced garlic cloves, a tablespoon of chopped rosemary, and a tablespoon of thyme.

Of course, you can’t forget about your salt and black pepper to taste. 

Now take your potatoes and line them in a single layer on your grill grates. Let them cook for about eight to 10 minutes in total, flipping every now and then to ensure an even char. 

When your potato fries are cooked and crispy, remove them from the grill and sprinkle some garlic powder, salt, and chopped parsley on top. 

This recipe is good on its own, but you can take it up a notch by serving it with a side of dip. My first choice for this is garlic aioli, however ranch is not far behind.

3. Grilled Baked Potatoes With Spicy Guacamole

Sticking to the theme of potatoes, we have this grilled baked potato recipe. 

You’ve probably made regular grilled baked potatoes before, but have you ever added spicy guacamole to the mix? 

First, let’s get our baked potatoes ready. Take four medium-sized russet potatoes and wash them really well to remove any dirt.

After they’re clean, use a fork to punch a lot of holes. Doing this lets the steam out while they cook.

If you skip this step, the potatoes could burst — which is something you definitely don’t want to happen.

Next, coat the potatoes with a mix of one teaspoon of olive oil and some salt.

Wrap the seasoned potatoes in aluminum foil, sealing the edges well, and then place them straight on the grill. Cover the lid and let the potatoes cook for 45 minutes to an hour. 

You can rotate them every 15 to 20 minutes to ensure even baking on all sides. When they’re soft and tender, use your tongs to remove them from the grill. 

Now, leave your baked potatoes to the side to rest for 10 more minutes. 

While you wait, you can work on your spicy guacamole topping. You’ll only need eight ingredients for this. 

These include three ripe avocados, one small chopped onion, one jalapeño pepper (remove the seeds and chop it), two chopped garlic cloves, and one lime (squeeze its juice).

The remaining three ingredients are spices, such as half a teaspoon of ground cumin, salt, and fresh cilantro.

Cut your avocados and scoop out the flesh. Put it in a medium-sized bowl and use a fork to mash the fruit to your desired consistency.

I like my guacamole a little chunky, so I keep the big bits in. Although, if you want it smoother, you can use a food processor to create an even blend. 

By this time, you can add the rest of your ingredients to your avocado bowl. Mix it well first, then try a little to see how it tastes.

If you need to change anything, feel free to adjust the spices to get your topping just the way you like it.

Lastly, spoon a dollop of your mixture onto your grilled baked potato.

Spicy guacamole is my favorite baked potato topping, but you can replace it with something else if you prefer. Something like chili, salsa, sour cream, caramelized onions, or chives. 

4. Grilled Broccoli Salad

Here’s an interesting tidbit about me: broccoli is one of my favorite vegetables, so it’s a mystery to me why a lot of people don’t like it. 

When I was a kid, we would make soup with it or just put cheese on top. And at the time, these were enough.

But now that I’ve become an adventurous foodie, I wanted to see how I can push the limits of this veggie. So, I found this grilled broccoli salad and put my own twist on it.

To make this simple — yet tasty — dish, get two heads of broccoli and cut them into small pieces. Put the pieces in a bowl and mix in two tablespoons of olive oil, salt, and pepper.

Next, place your florets in a grill pan or basket and cook for — give or take — 10 minutes. While it’s warming up, use a spatula to stir the broccoli every now and again to avoid burning.

After your broccoli is grilled, take it off the grill and prepare your salad dressing, which is as easy as mixing a quarter cup of mayonnaise, two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, and one tablespoon of mustard in a bowl.

To balance out the tartness of your dressing, you can add a teaspoon of honey and a quarter teaspoon of garlic powder. Mix everything until they’re well combined before setting aside. 

Bring your bowl of charred broccoli back to your workspace and add half a cup of sliced red onion, half a cup of feta cheese, and a quarter cup of sunflower seeds. 

These are just the ingredients I like to use for this recipe, but if you have a different preference, feel free to change the toppings to whatever you like. 

Pour your dressing over your salad ingredients and toss lightly. You can serve this side dish immediately or chill it in the fridge for 30 minutes to allow the flavors to settle. 

Either way, you’ll end up with a wonderfully healthy appetizer or main course pairing that will surely impress your guests.

5. Grilled Artichoke and Tomato Panzanella

A Panzanella is traditionally a Tuscan bread salad that uses stale bread as a base. And then, you can top it off with any ingredient you like — in this case, we’re using grilled artichoke and tomato. 

If you want to give this salad a try, here’s a simple recipe you can follow. 

Start by tossing one can of drained and rinsed can of artichoke hearts and one pint of halved cherry tomatoes with two tablespoons of olive oil, oregano, salt, and pepper. 

Then grill your veggies for only four to five minutes. 

While your veggies are cooking, toss your crusty bread cubes in a bowl with two tablespoons of olive oil, salt, and pepper before grilling for two to three minutes per side. 

Next, grab a large bowl and whisk together two tablespoons of red wine vinegar, one garlic clove, and a pinch of salt and pepper to create your dressing. 

Now that you have all the components to complete your salad, combine your grilled artichokes, tomatoes, and bread cubes with your dressing, and a quarter cup of basil and parsley. 

Toss everything together, and dig in! This recipe is a fun new take on a regular salad, and I think the added bread cubes make a lot of difference in terms of texture and flavor. 

6. Grilled Ratatouille

If you’ve ever watched “Ratatouille” the movie, you might have been curious to know how the final dish tasted. I know I was.

Since the movie was released in 2007, I’ve been eager to give Ratatouille (the dish) a try. But, I haven’t really found the right recipe to do the movie justice — until now. 

So, the first step in making grilled Ratatouille is to prepare your vegetables. 

To do this, cut one large eggplant, two zucchini, two yellow squash, two red bell peppers, and one red onion into thin rounds. 

Once you have your sliced veggies, toss them in a bowl and season them with three tablespoons of olive oil, four garlic cloves, one teaspoon of thyme and dried basil, and a pinch of salt and pepper. 

Grill your veggies for five to seven minutes per side. They should have nice grill marks before you take them off the heat to cool slightly. 

To recreate the dish from the movie, arrange your grilled veggies in a round baking dish, alternating between the vegetable rounds to achieve the iconic layered look.

Then, top the dish off with fresh basil leaves and a drizzle of one tablespoon of olive oil. Now, you’ve got yourself a side order that will make even the toughest critics smile. 

7. Grilled Summer Vegetable Salad

Despite the name, you can totally serve this grilled summer vegetable salad at any time of the year — be it summer, spring, autumn, or winter. 

Just make sure you can get your hands on the right ingredients, which include two zucchini, two yellow squash, one red bell pepper, one yellow bell pepper, and one red onion, all cut into slices. 

Toss your vegetables with two tablespoons of olive oil, two minced garlic cloves, a teaspoon of dried oregano, and of course, your salt and pepper. 

You know the drill by now: grill your veggies for five to seven minutes until they get the signature grill marks. 

While your veggies are cooking, grab two husked corn ears and grill them for 10 to 12 minutes. Take them off the heat when the timer’s up, and let them rest for a bit.

When your corn is cool enough to touch, slice the kernels off the cob and transfer it to a large bowl along with your other grilled vegetables. 

To complete this side dish, the only step left is to make your dressing, which is a no-brainer.

To make the dressing, all you have to do is whisk together two tablespoons of olive oil, two tablespoons of lemon juice, and salt and pepper. 

Drizzle your dressing over your vegetable salad and toss everything together. Finish it off with a cup of chopped parsley and a quarter cup of crumbled feta cheese. And this dish is ready to be served!

8. Grilled Peach and Burrata Salad

If you think the grilled summer salad is the epitome of salads for the season, you haven’t had a taste of this grilled peach and burrata salad yet.

For me, it’s like summertime on a plate. It’s bright, creamy, and nutty, perfect for a BBQ celebration (both during and out of season).

The ingredients you’ll need for one serving are 8 oz. of burrata, three peaches, a tablespoon of butter, a tablespoon of coconut sugar, half a cup of balsamic vinegar, and four cups of arugula. 

You’ll also need toppings like a quarter cup of pine nuts, a quarter cup of olive oil, and black pepper to taste. 

To start, slice the peaches in half. Butter each side and sprinkle it with your coconut sugar for that caramel crunch. Then, grill your peach slices for two to three minutes.

While your peaches are heating up, make your dressing by adding balsamic vinegar to a small pot and cooking it for five minutes. Take it off the heat once it reduces and thickens. 

Plate your salad by adding a handful of arugula to a plate and topping it off with your grilled peach slices and burrata chunks.

And last but not least, sprinkle your pine nuts, drizzle your olive oil, pour your reduced balsamic vinegar, and shower a bit of black pepper.

That’s all it takes to make this salad come alive!

9. Grilled Teriyaki Green Beans With Cashews

Don’t have the appetite for salad? No problem. Here’s an equally healthy vegetable side dish you can try that highlights Asian flavors.

For this recipe, you’ll need a pound of trimmed green beans, a medium-sized red bell pepper, two tablespoons of teriyaki sauce, an eighth teaspoon of ginger, a quarter cup of cilantro, and a quarter cup of cashew.

The directions for this recipe are pretty straightforward. 

Place your green beans and bell pepper in a foil sheet. Then, drizzle them with your store-bought teriyaki sauce and a sprinkle of ginger. 

Stir the mixture lightly to coat the vegetables before wrapping your foil packet and placing it on your grill. 

Let your side dish cook for 20 to 30 minutes before taking it out and topping it with your cilantro and cashews. 

It really doesn’t get easier than this recipe. Trust me, if I can whip up something like this — that’s both simple and delicious — you can too!

10. Grilled Corn With Spicy Miso Butter

Now that corn season is upon us, it’s the perfect time to try new corn recipes to grace our backyard BBQ party. And this recipe is just as good a start as any. 

For this side dish, grab eight tablespoons of softened butter, two tablespoons of white miso paste, a tablespoon of sriracha, a quarter teaspoon of cayenne pepper, and four ears of shucked corn. 

It also helps to have your salt and pepper nearby in case you need to add more flavor. 

With your ingredients all laid out, whisk your butter, miso, sriracha, and cayenne pepper in a small bowl. Then set it aside. 

Take your corn and heavily butter each side to make it extra creamy. If you’re using unsalted butter, you can sprinkle some salt. But if you’re using salted butter, you can skip the salt altogether. 

Once your corn is nice and buttered, wrap them in individual foil packets before placing them on your grill. 

Your corn should cook for about 20 minutes, turning every now and then to achieve an even char on all sides. 

Remove your corn from the grill and let it cool for a few minutes — three to five minutes should do. 

When you can touch your foil packets without getting burnt, open them up and slather your spicy miso butter mixture on top. 

Honestly, why should we settle for regular buttered corn when we can do so much more with this cropped veggie? The best part is, this dish is only one of many. 

I have more interesting — and equally flavorful — corn on the cob recipes you can enjoy!

Make Side Dishes in a Flash With These Recipes

No matter how much planning we do to prepare for a big BBQ cookout, sometimes life just happens. Maybe we need to do some last-minute shopping or squeeze in a bit of work. 

Before we know it, we’re left with only an hour or two before the party starts. So, what do we do then?

That’s where these side dish recipes come in handy. Each one takes about an hour to finish. So, even if we’re in a pinch, these recipes will save the day to make our cookout a success!

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