The 18 Best Sides To Bring to Summer Gatherings

These summery sides tick all the boxes: they travel well, can sit out for hours, and are tasty crowd pleasers.

<p>Simply Recipes / Mihaela Kozaric Sebrek</p>

Simply Recipes / Mihaela Kozaric Sebrek

I've been there so many times: I'm invited to a picnic in the park or a backyard barbecue with just one instruction, "Bring something to share!" Though I have a few go-to summery sides that come to mind, I am always looking for something different that ticks all of the boxes—travels well, can sit out, and pleases a crowd.

If this is you, you've come to the right place! Here are 18 summery side dishes to bring to your next gathering, plus tips and tricks from our readers, contributors, and editors.

Confetti Corn

<p>Simply Recipes / Meleyna Nomura</p>

Simply Recipes / Meleyna Nomura

Get Recipe: Ina Garten's Confetti Corn Is the Perfect Summer Side Dish

"The ingredients list 1 1/2 teaspoons of kosher salt and 1 teaspoon of pepper, but the instructions say to season to taste. I would go by the latter. For my corn, less than a teaspoon of kosher salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper felt appropriately seasoned to me." —Meleyna Nomura, Simply Recipes Contributor

Cherry Tomato Orzo Salad

Elise Bauer
Elise Bauer

Get Recipe: Cherry Tomato Orzo Salad

"You could probably make this orzo salad into a with quinoa salad by using it instead of the orzo."—Elise Bauer, Simply Recipes Founder

Stone Fruit, Tomato and Cucumber Salad

<p>Simply Recipes / Alison Bickel</p>

Simply Recipes / Alison Bickel

Get Recipe: Stone Fruit, Tomato and Cucumber Salad

"A quick aside: Botanically speaking, olives and coconuts are stone fruits (both would be excellent in this salad). Also, raspberries and blackberries are not berries. Technically, they are many small drupes clumped together." —Virginia Willis, Simply Recipes Contributor

Cold Rice Noodle Salad

Alison Bickel
Alison Bickel

Get Recipe: Cold Rice Noodle Salad

"Each component (the vegetables, the noodles, and the dressing) of this salad can be prepared a couple hours or even a full day ahead, but it is best to combine and dress it just before serving." —Georgia Freedman, Simply Recipes Contributor

Fresh Salsa (Pico de Gallo)

Elise Bauer
Elise Bauer

Get Recipe: Fresh Salsa (Pico de Gallo)

"Fresh tomato salsa is ideally made with firm, fleshy tomatoes. You can of course make the salsa with any kind of tomato, but the firm ones like Romas or hothouse tomatoes will hold up the best." —Elise

Black Bean Salad

Elise Bauer
Elise Bauer

Get Recipe: Black Bean Salad

"I too, use ground cumin and no sugar in this recipe. The cumin adds a lot of heartiness to it. Heat the cumin up in a small flat skillet first to release the flavor of it before adding it to the salad." —Pat, Simply Recipes Reader

Zucchini Fritters

Cambrea Bakes
Cambrea Bakes

Get Recipe: Zucchini Fritters

"The trick to keep them from being mushy? Drain the freshly grated zucchini of excess moisture. If you salt the grated zucchini and let it drain in a sieve over a bowl, the salt will help draw out the extra water." —Elise

Watermelon Salad with Cotija, Jicama, and Lime

<p>Simply Recipes / Elise Bauer</p>

Simply Recipes / Elise Bauer

Get Recipe: Watermelon Salad with Cotija, Jicama, and Lime

"This salad has all of the elements (acid, sugar, salt, water from the melon) of an electrolyte sports drink, you know, the kind you drink after working out to rehydrate you." —Elise

Two-Minute Feta Dip

<p>Julia Gartland</p>

Julia Gartland

Get Recipe: Yasmin Fahr's Two-Minute Feta Dip

"Since the dip is fairly simple, the key to its success is the quality of the feta. My personal preference is Bulgarian feta packed in the brine because it’s creamier and tangier than its counterparts, but any feta in the brine is preferable to feta in a dry package or pre-crumbled feta." —Yasmin Fahr, Simply Recipes Contributor

Baba Ganoush (Eggplant Dip)

Elise Bauer
Elise Bauer

Get Recipe: Baba Ganoush (Eggplant Dip)

"You can freeze this in zip-top freezer bags very easily. Press out any extra air, then seal and freeze flat for space-saving storage." —Sara Bir, Simply Recipes Editor

Panzanella Bread Salad

Elise Bauer
Elise Bauer

Get Recipe: Panzanella Bread Salad

"Panzanella is best when it has been allowed to sit for a while (at least 30 minutes) before serving. This gives the bread plenty of time to soak up the juices from the tomatoes and for the flavors in the salad to meld." —Elise

Plantain Chips

<p>Simply Recipes / Shilpa Iyer</p>

Simply Recipes / Shilpa Iyer

Get Recipe: Plantain Chips

"When shopping, look for plantains that are a vibrant green all over. Some brown spots are okay, but they shouldn’t be turning yellow." —Kayla Hoang, Simply Recipes Contributor

Homemade Veggie Dip

<p>Simply Recipes / Lori Rice</p>

Simply Recipes / Lori Rice

Get Recipe: Homemade Veggie Dip

"While full-fat sour cream and mayonnaise will make the creamiest, most flavorful dip, you can use low-fat instead. For a slightly different take, swap half or all of the sour cream for whole milk Greek yogurt." —Laurel Randolph, Simply Recipes Editor

Edamame Avocado Dip

Elise Bauer
Elise Bauer

Get Recipe: Edamame Avocado Dip

"As written, this recipe uses a half cup of yogurt to make it creamy and add some tangy flavor. But several of our readers have whipped up vegan versions with great success! Here are a few substitutes to try: vegan cashew cream, coconut milk or other non-dairy yogurt, olive oil." —Elise

Easy Brazilian Cheese Bread (Pão de Queijo)

<p>Simply Recipes / Mihaela Kozaric Sebrek</p>

Simply Recipes / Mihaela Kozaric Sebrek

Get Recipe: Easy Brazilian Cheese Bread (Pão de Queijo)

"The beauty of this recipe is that you can make a big batch of batter and just store it in the refrigerator (for up to a week), pouring out just as many mini-muffins as you want to eat." —Elise

Bruschetta with Tomato and Basil

<p>Simply Recipes / Mihaela Kozaric Sebrek</p>

Simply Recipes / Mihaela Kozaric Sebrek

Get Recipe: Bruschetta with Tomato and Basil

"I put the tomatoes in a bowl and pour boiling water over them. I let it sit for exactly 1 minute and immediately scoop them out and put them into cold water. Tomatoes were still cold and easy to handle but the peel slipped right off!" —Kim, Simply Recipes Reader

Corn Salsa

Elise Bauer
Elise Bauer

Get Recipe: Corn Salsa

"How to make corn salsa quickly? Use a mini-chopper or food processor to save time on mincing the red onion, jalapeño, cilantro, and oregano." —Elise

Spicy Corn Fritters

Elise Bauer
Elise Bauer

Get Recipe: Spicy Corn Fritters

"Make them gluten free with rice flour as a substitute or Bob's Red Mill gluten-free mix." —Elise

Read the original article on Simply Recipes.