Forget Tradition: Spice up Your BBQ with These 3 Delicious Side Dishes

Even if you’re not the queen of entertainment like Martha Stewart, you can still have a backyard BBQ that even she would be proud of!

Instead of serving your usual sides that you’re kind of getting tired of (you know the ones— potato salad, corn on the cob, yadda, yadda, yadda) why not follow Martha’s lead and throw in a few unexpected “worldly” side dishes that are not only healthier, but are also good for elevating your social status.

Don’t get me wrong— trying to be Martha does sounds a bit intimidating even to those who know their way around a kitchen. But here’s the thing—many of her recipes and the recipes of other great chefs are user friendly and can be easily prepared.

So, instead of serving potato salad at your next BBQ, why not add a little Mexican pizazz and serve a healthier dish like guacamole instead? And while you at it, why not ditch the old tried and true corn on the cob, and spice things up a bit with a popular Middle Eastern dish like tabbouleh? See where I’m going with this?

The possibilities are endless if you’re the type who likes to experiment in the kitchen and not just cook the same old dishes that you can make while you’re sleep walking. If you haven’t already—it’s time to awaken those taste buds and discover a whole new world of delish.

Here are three simple; yet delicious and healthy side dishes that can get you started on cooking and looking like a chef.

Classic Mexican Guacamole

So, let’s say you’re known for grilling the best darn baby back ribs that are delicious enough to win at the Memphis in May International BBQ Cooking Contest— who says you can’t serve mouthwatering guacamole as an appetizer to quiet those hunger pains until the ribs are done?

This fatty-rich treat is always a hit on any summer menu. Plus, it will keep your guests content until you’re ready to serve the main course. However, what makes me really love guacamole is the fact that it’s made with avocados, which pack a noteworthy, healthy punch.

Health Benefits:
Guacamole is a favorite Mexican dish that’s loaded with healthy fats that our bodies need to remain healthy and to absorb fat-soluble vitamins like A, D and E, according to the National Institute of Health.

Avocados are also rich in B-vitamins, which are good for overall health, and they also have double the amount of potassium than a banana, which is good for preventing strokes, irregular heartbeat and high blood pressure.

Just serve this dish with some tortilla chips and watch it disappear before your eyes.

See recipe

Middle Eastern Tabbouleh Salad

Whether you’re serving burgers or hot dogs at your next BBQ, this popular, Middle Eastern dish could be served as an appetizer or salad. It contains a myriad of multi-colored, life promoting vegetables and herbs that’s sure to please any palate.

You can serve Tabbouleh wrapped in a wedge of lettuce, stuffed in a pita, or simply on a cracker or tortilla chip. That’s how versatile this dish is, which is why it’s the one dish you need on your menu when you’re trying to please guests who follow many different diets.

Health Benefits:
Tabbouleh is chock-full of tomatoes, which are high in antioxidants that will give us an added protection from cancer. Tomatoes are also high in lycopene—a carotenoid that gives tomatoes their red color and can also greatly reduce the risk of strokes according to But there is more to this side dish than tomatoes. Tabbouleh is also made with mineral rich cucumbers.

Cucumbers hydrate the body and provide enough silica to improve joint health by strengthening their connective tissues. And who can’t benefit from a little extra hydration during the summer months or a little boost in joint support especially if you find that you’re not spiking that volleyball the way you use to in college?

See Recipe

Kicked-Up American Coleslaw

How did coleslaw make the list you ask? Well, to answer your question, coleslaw is actually a Dutch dish and was called koolsla—kool which is the Dutch word for cabbage and sla, which is the Dutch abbreviated word for salad.

And because coleslaw is a healthy side dish, it should be a mainstay at any BBQ, and in some cities like Memphis, it’s a requirement! But, instead of using Martha’s recipe, I had to switch it up and defer to Mr. Legasse—Emeril that is.

Sorry Martha, but sometimes we ladies have to give it up for the men, and Emeril wins hands down when it comes to making an “out of this world,” kicked up coleslaw. But no surprise there—After all, he did coined the words kicked up, didn’t he? So it’s gotta be good. Right?

Ladies, it doesn’t matter if you’re having ribs, fried fish, or jerked steak, this coleslaw will have your guests begging to be on your invite list–and that’s no exaggeration. It’s got a little bit of tangy, mixed with a dash of sweet, and a whole lot of mouth watering goodness that is sure to please even the most discriminant palate.

Health Benefit:
Because coleslaw’s key ingredient is cabbage, which is a superfood also, you can’t ask for a healthier side dish.

Cabbage is an excellent source of rich fiber, antioxidants, beta carotene, and health promoting minerals like iodine, which you need for your thyroid to function properly.

Cabbage is also rich in sulfur, which a “super mineral” in that it does the following thing:

• Gives protein their shape and therefore, it strengthens your hair,
• Prevents your skin from sagging,
• Prevents your muscles and bones from aching,
• Detoxifies the liver,
• Reduces inflammation, and most importantly
• Helps your mitochondria (the energy producers in your cells) to perform properly.

This dish is so delicious that you can even serve it as an appetizer and of course, as a salad with your main dish.

See recipe

If you try these dishes, drop a note in the comment box and by all means, share the recipes.

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Walker's Legacy is a growing global women in business collective founded to establish networks of empowerment and access for women of color in business.