Three Unique Sides To Round Out Your Catered Barbecue Meal

If you're having your event catered by a barbecue company, you can look forward to plenty of delicious meats. Some BBQ catering companies also provide side dishes, while others leave those up to the party host. If your caterer offers only meats and no sides -- or if you've just decided to make the sides yourself -- it's fun to experiment with something new. These three barbecue side dishes are takes on old favorites, with a few twists thrown in to keep guests' palates amused.

Balsamic and Dijon Potato Salad

The dressing on this potato salad is tangy and slightly sweet. Green onions and celery add texture to the dish, which is a nice departure from gloppy, mayonnaise-dressed potato salads.


  • 2 pounds red potatoes
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, plus more for the boiling water
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup chopped celery
  • 2 scallions, minced

Score the potatoes around their centers, and place them in a pot. Cover the potatoes with water, and add a few teaspoons of salt to the pot. Boil until the potatoes are tender. Then, run cold water over the potatoes, and remove the skins using your hands.

Once the potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut them into 1/2-inch cubes. Place the potato cubes in a bowl, along with the scallions and celery. In a separate bowl, combine the oil, vinegar, mustard, brown sugar, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and black pepper. Whisk until smooth, and then pour over the potatoes. Toss to coat the potatoes, and place in the refrigerator for 3 - 4 hours or until completely chilled.

Lemon Basil Pasta Salad

The light lemon flavor of this pasta salad makes it a great complement to heavy barbecue foods. You can substitute your other favorite fresh herbs for the basil, if desired. Thyme and oregano work well.


  • 1 pound small shell pasta, cooked until al dente and chilled
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cup frozen green peas, thawed
  • 1/4 cup red onion, minced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, minced

Toss the pasta, tomatoes, onion, basil, and peas together in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients. Pour them over the pasta mixture, and toss to combine. Serve immediately, or store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Ultimate BLT Mac and Cheese

What could be better than macaroni and cheese? Macaroni and cheese with bacon and tomatoes, of course. The "L" in this recipe's name stands for love, because lettuce simply does not belong in mac and cheese.


  • 1 pound macaroni noodles
  • 1 pound thinly sliced bacon
  • 1 cup tomatoes, diced
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 8 ounces cheddar cheese, grated
  • 8 ounces Havarti cheese, cut into cubes

Boil the macaroni noodles in salted water for 6 - 7 minutes, or until slightly tender but not all of the way done. Drain the pasta, and set it aside. In a saucepan, heat the butter until it melts. Stir in the flour to make a roux, and continue stirring for 2 minutes. Pour the milk into the pan, whisking constantly. Add the egg before the milk has a chance to heat up. Sprinkle in the salt, cayenne pepper, and onion powder. Continue cooking over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture thickens. Then, add the cheese to the pan, and continue cooking until it melts fully.

Remove the pan from the heat, and set the cheese sauce aside as you cook the bacon until crispy. Crumble the bacon, and then stir together the pasta, tomatoes, bacon, and cheese sauce in a casserole dish. Bake at 400 degrees F for 40 - 50 minutes. Enjoy!

When making side dishes for a barbecue, it's important to choose popular ingredients and flavors that everyone will love. Balsamic vinegar, lemon and basil, and bacon are all true crowd-pleasers, and thus the recipes above will be, too.