Sides are the perfect opportunity to add color, punch, texture and variety to the main event, whether that’s a humungo piece of grilled meat or veggie burgers. Personally my favorite kind of feast is when there are lots of sides and you just dig into them like tapas, main dish conspicuously missing. But hey, however you serve it, these sides—which you can grill on the day of or make ahead; serve piping hot or let sit in the sun for hours with no effect on quality—do right by the 4th of July.
Will you be grilling this 4th of July? Then let your main dish scoot over a bit to make room for some sides, like this vegan asparagus wonder where the marinade becomes the sauce.
A handshake between two Southern favorites. If your biscuits have been sitting at room temp for a while, you could throw them on the grill for a quick reheat (and do the same for all the biscuits on this list).
Mix up the colors of the peppers here for a happy-looking pasta salad that’s big on flavor (pretty much all of the ingredients are in the title!).
Make the dressing in advance and all you have to do on the day of is grill the romaine hearts and bread before serving.
5, 6 & 7. Three Bean Salads
Not a three-bean salad, but three different bean salads that are perfect for summer cookouts: Melon & Feta Black Bean Salad, Cucumber & Sumac White Bean Salad, Mango & Chile Powder Black Bean Salad. Make the beans in an Instant Pot for the best texture—but you can used canned in a pinch, we’re not judging.
Don’t have basil? Use a different herb. Don’t have a food processor? Soften the butter and mix by hand. Don’t have time? Make it in advance and try not to eat it all before July 4.
Caprese gets some cool new clothes in this recipe that balances soft ripe peaches with hearty halloumi.
These eggplants get a grill without the sauce before getting a grill with the sauce, helping it keep a strong texture when served. If there’s no room on the grill (or you don’t have a grill), use the oven.
To mayo or not to mayo? This recipe says yes—but in moderation, along with Greek yogurt and cider vinegar.
If you’re looking to have red, white, and blue accents at your 4th of July party, let this very seasonal dish take care of the red.
Sugar is the secret ingredient here. If you can’t find shortening, use softened butter.
An Iowa dinner party special, this crowd-pleaser does not involve making the loaf from scratch (but you can do that if you want!). If you have a barbecue, you can wrap the bread in foil as instructed and grill away.
Creamy avocado within crispy cornbread? Sign me up.
To American-iza panzanella, use cornbread instead.
If you can use a box grater, you can make Puerto Rican arañitas, adobo-spiced plantain fritters.
Make-ahead alert! This simple but kicky side stays in the fridge for a week.
Side or appetizer? Perhaps both, but always delicious.
Spanish patatas bravas get the potato salad treatment in this recipe (psst, you can roast the potatoes ahead of time).
Let bacon lead the way in these skillet-made buttermilk biscuits.
Which dishes will you be making this 4th of July? Sound off in the comments!