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30 Fresh and Exciting Sides for Grilled Chicken

The weather is warming up which means that it’s time to dust off the BBQ and get grilling. You’ve got your main dish ready to go but now you’re in search of the perfect accompaniment. Good news: We rounded up the best sides for grilled chicken—from veggie medleys to zingy pastas and everything in between—so you can find a tasty pairing to suit any craving.

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1. Cauliflower Potato Salad

  • Time Commitment: 40 minutes
  • Why We Love It: crowd-pleaser, make-ahead, <500 calories, low carb

In case you needed more proof that cauliflower can do, well, everything: Here, the super veg gets dressed up with creamy yogurt sauce and fresh herbs to make a low-carb side dish that’s every bit as tasty as a classic potato salad.

2. Kale Salad with Persimmons, Crispy Chickpeas and Fried Shallots

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour 5 minutes
  • Why We Love It: <500 calories, sheet pan recipe

Not your average kale salad—this dreamy dish turns the leafy green into a veritable flavor bomb with a unique combination of persimmons, apricots and crispy chickpeas (provided you can stop yourself from eating the latter by the handful, that is).

3. Cacio e Pepe Brussel Sprouts

  • Time Commitment: 35 minutes
  • Why We Love It: crowd-pleaser, keto-friendly, sheet pan recipe

This cacio e pepe-inspired preparation achieves the impossible—it turns Brussel sprouts into something people will actually want to eat.

4. Roasted Cauliflower Mac and Cheese

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Why We Love It: crowd-pleaser, kid-friendly

Cauliflower is known to pair well with copious amounts of cheese, so it should come as no surprise that it makes a fine substitute for pasta in this decadent take on baked mac and cheese.

5. Turnip Fries

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour
  • Why We Love It: crowd-pleaser, <10 ingredients, sheet pan recipe

These Old Bay-spiked turnip fries are every bit as delicious as the classic potato version and, best of all, they crisp up in the oven so there’s no vat of oil to contend with at the end of the cooking process.

6. Asparagus Caesar Salad

  • Time Commitment: 35 minutes
  • Why We Love It: low carb, <500 calories

This asparagus caesar salad is so satisfying, you’ll never look at lettuce the same again. Just be sure to make your own dressing (per the recipe)—it’s easy and you can really taste the difference.

7. Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Sriracha and Lime

  • Time Commitment: 55 minutes
  • Why We Love It: sheet pan recipe, <10 ingredients

If winter vegetables aren’t in season, just swap the sweet potatoes for regular spuds—and feel free to adjust the sriracha according to how much heat you can handle. Either way, the combination of sriracha, lime and cilantro will make your roasted tubers sing.

8. Harissa Honey Roasted Carrots

  • Time Commitment: 30 minutes
  • Why We Love It: <10 ingredients, one bowl

Here, cool and creamy Greek yogurt is a perfect counterpoint to a kicky sauce of harissa paste, cumin and honey. As for the roasted carrots, they’re just a damn delicious vehicle for it all.

9. Grilled Corn with Spicy Aioli

  • Time Commitment: 30 minutes
  • Why We Love It: crowd-pleaser, <500 calories

You’ve already fired up the grill, so why not throw on a summertime favorite while you’re at it? Once lightly charred, give your corn a Mexican-inspired makeover with a mouthwatering combination of coriander, lime and creamy sriracha-spiked aioli—you won’t be disappointed.

10. Sprightly Biscuits

  • Time Commitment: 20 minutes
  • Why We Love It: crowd-pleaser, <30 minutes

Because sometimes you just need to sink your teeth into a fluffy, buttery Southern biscuit.

11. 15-Minute Lemony Broccolini Pasta

  • Time Commitment: 15 minutes
  • Why We Love It: <30 minutes, kid-friendly

This bright and zippy pasta, featuring crunchy pine nuts, fresh basil and light lemon cream sauce, is simple enough to function as a quick weeknight side (or standalone meal) and elegant enough to serve to guests.

12. Cast Iron Cornbread

  • Time Commitment: 45 minutes
  • Why We Love It: <500 calories, kid-friendly, one pan

Folks who prefer their cornbread on the slightly sweeter side will delight in this buttery one-skillet wonder.

13. Baby Vegetables Orange and Thyme

  • Time Commitment: 50 minutes
  • Why We Love It: <10 ingredients, <500 calories

These quick-steamed and pleasantly crunchy baby veggies get a serious flavor boost from a squeeze of fresh orange juice and the savory aroma of thyme. The end result is a palate-pleasing alternative to roasted veggies that you’ll crave all summer long.

14. Roasted Beet and Citrus Salad

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Why We Love It: <500 calories, vegan-friendly

Here, a variety of beets and oranges commingle with thyme, walnuts and peppery arugula to make a salad that tastes as vibrant as it looks.

15. Air Fryer Squash

  • Time Commitment: 18 minutes
  • Why We Love It: <30 minutes, keto-friendly

Put your air fryer to good use with a healthy, keto-friendly recipe that features a simple and satisfying combination of summer squash and freshly grated Parm.

16. Shawarma Green Beans

  • Time Commitment: 35 minutes
  • Why We Love It: vegan-friendly, <10 ingredients

Grilled chicken and green beans are a safe, if not slightly snoozy combo....but add a heady shawarma-inspired spice blend to the mix and we can guarantee your meal will be anything but boring.

17. Jicama Home Fries

  • Time Commitment: 25 minutes
  • Why We Love It: beginner-friendly, <30 minutes, <10 ingredients

Slightly sweet and crunchy jicama takes on the soft texture and mild taste of a potato when cooked; add some bell peppers and spices to the saute and you’ve got a grilled chicken side dish that you’ll be excited to return to in the AM (preferably with a couple fried eggs on top).

18. Pull Apart Cheese Bread

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour
  • Why We Love It: vegetarian, kid-friendly

A store-bought loaf of crusty bread gets transformed into a vision of gooey cheese and carbs in this decadent twist on garlic bread. Just don’t forget the green onions and herbs ‘cause they really pull their weight here.

19. Roasted Radishes with Pesto Pasta

  • Time Commitment: 45 minutes
  • Why We Love It: vegetarian, high protein

This innovative pasta, which calls for store-bought pesto and features both the root and the leaves of radishes, will have you singing the praises of an under-appreciated veg.

20. Easy No-Boil Brie Mac and Cheese

  • Time Commitment: 55 minutes
  • Why We Love It: kid-friendly, special occasion worthy

Dump dry pasta shells into a casserole dish with milk and creamy brie cheese for a mac and cheese bake that’s practically fool-proof, blessedly mess-free and oh-so indulgent.

21. Easy Gluten Free Baked Ziti

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Why We Love It: high protein, gluten-free, kid-friendly

Yep, this classic Italian-American comfort food is just as yummy without the gluten. Try the recipe and see for yourself.

22. Green Goddess Potato Salad

  • Time Commitment: 30 minutes
  • Why We Love It: crowd-pleaser, gluten-free, vegetarian

Crunchy veggies, pickled shallot, aromatic herbs and creamy green goddess dressing combine to create an updated potato salad that’s sophisticated, fresh and decidedly more exciting than your standard picnic fare.

23. Grilled Zucchini with Garlic and Herbs

  • Time Commitment: 20 minutes
  • Why We Love It: <30 minutes, <500 calories

A simple garlic and herb marinade is the secret to perfectly grilled summer squash that’s bursting with flavor.

24. Easy Vegan Polenta

  • Time Commitment: 45 minutes
  • Why We Love It: gluten-free, vegan

This luscious dairy-free polenta is rich, creamy and sure to satisfy meat-eaters and vegans alike.

25. Creamy Cauliflower Mushroom Risotto

  • Time Commitment: 20 minutes
  • Why We Love It: <30 minutes, keto-friendly

This keto-friendly take on the classic Italian comfort food is quicker and far less labor intensive to make than traditional risotto and just as indulgent—just be sure to use fresh mushrooms for best results.

26. Cilantro Lime Cauliflower Rice

  • Time Commitment: 15 minutes
  • Why We Love It: <30 minutes, keto-friendly

Cauliflower rice is reliably filling, but not exactly the most flavorful of sides...unless you brighten things up with a generous amount of fresh cilantro and lime, that is.

27. Dairy Free Mashed Potatoes

  • Time Commitment: 30 minutes
  • Why We Love It: vegan-friendly, <10 ingredients

You won’t believe it’s not butter.

28. Cauliflower Spanish Rice

  • Time Commitment: 20 minutes
  • Why We Love It: vegan-friendly, <30 minutes

Jalapeno, garlic, chili powder, paprika and tomato are the only flavor-enhancers you need to turn a snoozy low-carb side dish into a taste sensation.

29. Southwestern Roasted Corn

  • Time Commitment: 20 minutes
  • Why We Love It: <30 minutes, <10 ingredients, beginner-friendly

Presenting a deconstructed and jazzed up version of the beloved Mexican street food for folks who prefer their corn off the cob.

30. Air Fryer Eggplant

  • Time Commitment: 20 minutes
  • Why We Love It: <30 minutes, keto-friendly

Bust out the air fryer and don’t be shy with the dry herb blend or the Parm. You’ll never see eggplant in the same light again.


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Freelance PureWow Editor

Emma Singer is a freelance contributing editor and writer at PureWow who has over 7 years of professional proofreading, copyediting and writing experience. At PureWow, she covers...