13 All-Star Potluck Sides

Headed to a picnic or holiday cookout? Delight your fellow revelers with one of these delicious (and totally goof-proof) seasonal side dishes.


Grilled Potato and Onion Salad

Photo by Kana Okada

Grilling onions brings out a sweetness that pairs perfectly with the smoky char of grilled potatoes. Flat-leaf parsley adds a burst of fresh flavor, while balsamic vinegar gives the dish a touch of tang.

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Pasta With Tuna and Black Olive Vinaigrette

Photo by John Kernick

Briny capers, kalamata olives, and fresh lemon juice add zip to a simple salad of canned tuna and pasta. Use whole-wheat rigatoni or penne for a hearty, health-conscious option.

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Watercress, Beet, and Fennel Salad

Photo by Paul Sirisalee

A tangy buttermilk dressing mixed with a variety of fresh herbs complements earthy beets and fennel in this fresh market salad. Cutting the beets into wedges before roasting cuts down the oven time to just 20 minutes.

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Sweet and Tangy Romaine Slaw

Photo by Marcus Nilsson

A fresh, crisp slaw provides a pleasing crunch to tacos, and because it’s dairy-free, it’s the perfect choice for a picnic. Toasted pumpkin seeds add a delightful nuttiness, and a dash of Tabasco brings a kick of heat.

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Three-Bean Salad

Photo by James Baigrie

Cannellini beans, chickpeas and kidney beans combine for an easy no-cook side dish that’s packed with protein. A simple vinaigrette of lemon juice and olive oil will keep the dish fresh until you’re ready to serve.

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Quinoa and Vegetable Salad with Tahini Dressing

Photo by Con Poulos

Made with fresh ginger, lemon juice and a drizzle of honey, the creamy tahini dressing steals the show in this salad. Grated red beets add a gorgeous pop of color.

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Wild Rice and Pine Nut Salad

Photo by Charles Masters

A simple mix of ingredients create surprisingly bold flavor in this hearty side that requires minimal prep. Toasting the pine nuts brings out their buttery notes, while parsley and tarragon add freshness and flavor.

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Corn Salad with Parmesan and Chiles

Photo by Paul Sirisalee

The only thing better than corn on the cob? This fresh corn salad that’s much easier to eat. Allow the mixture to sit before serving to give the flavors time to meld and develop. 

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Mediterranean Pasta Salad

Photo by Paul Sirasalee

Though its ingredient list is short and sweet, this picnic-friendly dish packs a big flavor punch thanks to an easy citrus vinaigrette and chopped anchovies and capers in the dressing.

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Arugula, Peach, and Cheddar Salad

Photo by Paul Sirisalee

Peaches and cheddar may sound like an odd combination, but the sweet, fragrant fruit perfectly complements the sharp cheese. Select local peaches with minimal bruising, and store them at room temperature until soft and ripe.

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Chopped Salad With Avocado Dressing

Photo by Paul Sirasalee

Toss this salad with creamy homemade dressing for avocado flavor in every bite. Use rotisserie chicken to cut down prep time, and serve with grated Parmesan cheese and crunchy pita chips.

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Fennel and Farro Salad

Photo by Danny Kim

Fresh fennel adds sweet anise flavor to a base of chewy farro, while shaved beets and sliced radishes provide a satisfying crunch. Sprinkle with freshly chopped chives just before serving.

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Couscous With Roasted Red Peppers, Feta, and Mint

Photo by Levi Brown

This one-step dish will be your new go-to for potlucks. Roasted red peppers add a bit of char and tang, and salty Feta cheese adds a wonderfully creamy component.

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