30 Sides for Hot Dogs to Serve at a Summer Cookout
Oh, hot dogs. You stand by our grill all summer long, from the Memorial Day cookout to the July 4th potluck to the Labor Day picnic. So why do we always repay your loyalty with nothing but broken potato chips and watermelon wedges? This year, we’re making it up to you. Here are 30 sides for hot dogs—from cauliflower potato salad to hot jalapeño mac and cheese—to whip up for every al fresco dinner of the season. (Psst: Wondering which hot dog brands are worth buying? We ranked ’em.)
2. Roasted Mediterranean Vegetables
Pick and choose your favorite veggies for this one—whatever looks best at the farmers market (or whatever your kids will actually eat).
3. Zesty Chargrilled Broccolini
If the grill is already hot, why not make the entire dinner on it? This side takes ten minutes to make, so it will be ready when the hot dogs are sizzling.
4. Corn and Tomato Salad with Feta and Lime
Corn on the cob is delicious and all, but sometimes we don’t want to deal with butter and salt dribbling down our chin. This zesty salad is for those times.
5. Summer Millet Salad
The best part about a grain salad like this one? It can be made ahead—we’d argue it tastes better that way. Lettuce need not apply.
11. Grilled Watermelon-Feta Skewers
The season’s signature fruit is all grown up. The melon holds up great against the tangy cheese, and don’t even get us started on those smoky grill marks. Tomato and mozzarella? We don’t know them.
13. Cauliflower ‘Potato’ Salad
Sorry, spuds. There’s a new veggie in town. Cauliflower stars in this light take on a summer classic. We traded mayo for Greek yogurt, Dijon mustard and sour cream, plus added a bunch of crunchy surprises like celery, green onion and minced cornichons.
14. Rainbow Vegetable Skewers
We’re big fans of skewer season. You will be too, once you place these on the grill for a stellar Instagram photo. The best part? Each skewer has a different veggie, so you don’t have to worry about the small ones cooking faster than the rest. Color Roy G. Biv impressed.
17. BLT Pasta Salad
Here’s a side even salad-haters can get behind. That’s what happens when you dress tomato, romaine and avocado up with crispy black-pepper bacon and mayo-mustard dressing. We can’t blame ’em.
18. Zucchini Caprese Salad
The traditional combo of mozzarella, tomato, basil and balsamic vinaigrette sounds good to us. Assemble it atop grilled zucchini with a sprinkle of salt and pepper, and you’ve got an app for the books.
19. Loaded Baked Potato Chips
Mashed, roasted, fried. We’ll take taters however they come. But this genius starter is at the top of our list because it gives us all the fixings—bacon! cheddar! sour cream!—while still leaving us with room for everything else on the table.
20. Light and Tangy Coleslaw
No cookout is complete without a batch, and we don’t mean the clumpy store-bought stuff. We substitute mayo for a base of zesty rice vinegar, Dijon and Greek yogurt. Shred your own cabbage and carrot, or save time with a pre-shredded mix.
21. Roasted Cauliflower Sliders
TBH, hot dogs are usually an appetizer for our cheeseburger. At least for us. Save more room for dessert (and cocktails) by trading beef and cheese for golden-brown cauliflower steaks sandwiched between layers of spicy yogurt and your favorite hummus.
22. Jalapeño-Avocado Mac and Cheese
She’s spicy. She’s buttery. She’s super cheesy. What’s not to love about ooey-gooey white cheddar sauce over pretty gemelli pasta? That’s right, nothing.
23. Portobello and Avocado Quesadillas with Magic Green Sauce
Is there a better way to get your daily vegetables? We think not. These are filled with mushrooms, black beans, avocado, cheddar cheese and Greek yogurt. Just wait until you dunk a triangle into the bright citrusy sauce, rich with herbs, capers and lime juice.
24. Zucchini “Fries”
Fries are a no-brainer, but these have a twist. Not only do we use zucchini in place of potatoes, we also skip messy frying and crisp these up in the oven instead. The kids may turn up their noses at first, but it’ll only take one bite to convert them.
25. Chopped Italian Salad Pizza
How do we like our greens, you ask? On golden-brown pizza crust, that’s how. It’s thin and crispy, so you can double-fist a hot dog and a slice without getting too full. We’ll take extra pepperoncini, please.
26. Zucchini Salad with Lemon and Parmesan
Three words: No. Cooking. Required. This beauty comes together in minutes, and all you need is a peeler (because zucchini just tastes better in ribbons), fresh herbs and a few pantry basics. Don’t skimp on the Parm shards.
27. Salami, Artichoke and Ricotta Pasta Salad
Red sauce wasn’t invited to the picnic. Instead, we’re bringing bowties with briny artichoke hearts, salami, dollops of ricotta and a ridiculously-simple mustard vinaigrette.
28. One-Ingredient Watermelon Sorbet
We’re picturing you in the pool with a hot dog in one hand and a cup of this in the other. It’s so sweet and refreshing no one will guess it’s just straight-up watermelon. We won’t tell if you just let it melt and drink it with a straw. Or spike it with vodka. You do you.
29. Crunchy Ramen Noodle Salad
Liven up your picnic spread with a sweet, tangy and crispy salad with a simple sesame vinaigrette.