Spice up your BBQ with these 10 unique globally inspired side dishes

10 unique bbq side dishes

When it comes to BBQ, the main course (things that get thrown on the grill) often takes center stage. However, the perfect BBQ experience is not complete without side dishes! BBQ side dishes not only balance the richness of grilled food but also provide a refreshing change in flavor and temperature. For those who are vegan or vegetarian, it also offers additional options to eat. In addition, It puts the pressure off the griller, by having food available for those who come hungry!

In this blog post, I am going to share side dishes that I drew inspiration from for my recent BBQ celebration. Out of the side dishes that I made and served ( Chili, Garlic & Salted Egg Yolk Sourdough Focaccia, Korean Scallion Salad, Hawaiian Mac Salad, Chinese Marinated Cucumbers, and Honey Basil Olive Oil Cornbread) the Chili, Garlic & Salted Egg Yolk Sourdough Focaccia was the star! Everyone loved its flavor, fluffiness, and touch of spice (I made it tall and made sure to be light on the chili oil since there were also children eating). I am definitely going to be making that again for my next gathering!

I hope this blog post inspires you to veer off the beaten path and serve up something refreshing and flavorful for your next gathering!

10 unique side dishes to spice up your BBQ

10 unique bbq side dishes

1. Chili, Garlic & Salted Egg Yolk Sourdough Focaccia


salted egg yolk focaccia

This bread creation brings together the bold flavors of chili and garlic with the richness of salted egg yolk. The result is a soft and pillowy, rich, and flavorful bread that pairs perfectly with grilled meats or can be enjoyed on its own. This focaccia is sure to impress, learn how to make it here.

2. Korean Scallion Salad

vegan, gluten-free, low carb

scallion salad

Bring a touch of Korean cuisine to your BBQ with a zesty and flavorful scallion salad. Known as pa-muchim, this salad features fresh scallions dressed in a tangy sauce of soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, and spices. The vibrant green color and bold taste of this salad make it an excellent accompaniment to grilled meats or a refreshing palate cleanser between bites.

3. Hawaiian Mac Salad


hawaiian mac salad

Indulge in the tropical flavors of Hawaii with a classic macaroni salad. Creamy, tangy, and loaded with vegetables, this side dish is a staple at Hawaiian BBQs. The combination of macaroni, mayonnaise, and a medley of colorful vegetables creates a harmonious blend of textures and tastes. Discover the secrets to creating an authentic Hawaiian mac salad that will transport you to the beautiful beaches of the Aloha State.

4. Chinese Marinated Cucumbers

vegan, gluten-free, low carb

Add a refreshing twist to your BBQ with Chinese marinated cucumbers. This side dish features smashed cucumbers marinated in a flavorful mixture of soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, and spices. The result is a crunchy and tangy salad that provides a delightful contrast to the smoky flavors of grilled meats.

5. Sourdough Chinese Bacon & Chive Pancake

This crispy and savory delight boasts a combination of smoky bacon and fresh chives, creating a perfect balance of flavors. The pancake’s flaky and golden texture is achieved by layering the dough with a tantalizing mixture of bacon and chives, which is then pan-fried to perfection. The result is a delicious snack or side dish that will have everyone coming back for more. Serve them hot and watch your guests savor the fusion of Chinese aromas right at your BBQ.

6. Soba Salad

vegetarian, gluten-free

Soba noodles, made from buckwheat flour, offer a nutty and slightly earthy taste that complements the fresh and crisp vegetables perfectly. The dressing, a harmonious blend of soy sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar, and a hint of ginger, adds an irresistible umami flavor to the dish. Toss in some julienned carrots, sliced cucumbers, and vibrant bell peppers for a burst of color and texture. You can also add protein of your choice, such as grilled chicken or tofu, to make it a complete and filling side dish. Served cold, Soba Salad is not only refreshing on a hot summer day but also brings a taste of Japan to your BBQ table.

7. Pineapple Cucumber Salad

vegetarian, gluten-free, low carb

This refreshing side dish is a delightful fusion of sweet and tangy flavors. The juicy and succulent pineapple chunks perfectly complement the cool and crunchy cucumbers. A zesty dressing made with lime juice, honey, and a pinch of red pepper flakes adds a tantalizing kick to the salad, balancing the sweetness of the pineapple. Not only does this salad add a vibrant touch to your BBQ spread, but it also provides a delightful contrast to the smoky grilled meats.

8. Sweet & Spicy Turmeric Pickled Onions

vegan, gluten-free, low carb

Sweet & Spicy Turmeric Pickled Onions

These tangy and crunchy pickled onions are infused with the warm notes of turmeric, creating a delightful balance of sweetness and spiciness. Not only do they add a zesty kick to your grilled meats, but they also serve as a refreshing palate cleanser between bites. These pickled onions are easy to prepare and are sure to be a hit with both adventurous eaters and traditional BBQ enthusiasts.

9. Muhammara (Roasted Red Pepper and Walnut Dip)

vegan, gluten-free, low carb

Roasted red peppers and walnuts are the stars of this dip, creating a harmonious symphony of sweet and nutty flavors. A dash of pomegranate molasses and a touch of spice from Aleppo pepper or red pepper flakes elevate this dip to an irresistible level of deliciousness. Serve Muhammara with fresh pita bread or crunchy veggies for a refreshing and exotic addition to your BBQ spread.

10. Honey Basil Olive Oil Cornbread


Honey Basil Olive Oil Cornbread

Upgrade your traditional cornbread with a twist of sweetness and herbal freshness. Honey basil sourdough cornbread combines the richness of honey, the aromatic essence of fresh basil, and the delightful texture of sourdough. This unique side dish pairs perfectly with BBQ classics like ribs or pulled pork, adding a touch of sophistication to your outdoor feast. Discover the recipe and enjoy the harmonious blend of flavors in every bite.

Products to help make your grill party a success!

Takeya Pitcher w/ Mesh Filter

Although this pitcher is originally marketed as a cold brew coffee maker, I find it super useful in making iced teas! I add tea leaves and lemons to the filter basket, fill up the pitcher with water and let it cold brew in the fridge overnight.

Find it on Amazon

Nordic Ware Quarter Sheets

I find these quarter sheets the perfect size to serve up food that is incrementally ready off the grill. In addition, I love using them as prep trays as well. When not grilling, they are multifunctional and can be used for your baking needs.

Find it on Amazon

Extra Long Tongs

The grill gets HOT. And sometimes there are things near the back that you have to reach. These extra-long tongs are super helpful in reaching those hard-to-reach areas while keeping you safe from the heat! I also love using these over a campfire.

Find it on Amazon

Solo Cup Holder w/ Marker

Let’s admit it, no matter how hard you try, people are going to forget to mark their cups and you end up with used solo cups everywhere. This cup and marker holder won’t completely solve the problem, but it will definitely make it a lot more obvious for people to label their cups!

Find it on Amazon

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