Healthy Summer Side Dishes

From salads to spreads, small bites and stews, summer's best light dishes are here in spades. 

Photo By: Alice Gao ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Renee Comet ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Alice Gao ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Matt Armendariz ©Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Matt Armendariz ©Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Matt Armendariz ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Matt Armendariz ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Matt Armendariz ©Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Matt Armendariz ©Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

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Photo By: Matt Armedariz ©2012, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Tara Donne

Photo By: Evan Sung for The New York Times

Grilled Shrimp Salad

Tia Mowry's salad tastes like it's from a restaurant, but it is easy to make. Just grill simply seasoned shrimp and toss them with big leaves of Bibb lettuce, tomatoes, olives and goat cheese.

Get the Recipe: Grilled Shrimp Salad

Mango and Baby Tomato Salad

Coriander and clove add savory depth to the mango juice dressing that tops this vibrant herb, fruit and vegetable summer salad. It's great on its own or topping a burger or taco dish.

Get the Recipe: Mango and Baby Tomato Salad

Farro Salad with Tomatoes and Herbs

Farro is a whole grain full of nutrients and fiber. Giada mixes it with diced tomatoes and generous handfuls of fresh parsley and chives for a colorful summer salad.

Get the Recipe: Farro Salad with Tomatoes and Herbs

Zucchini Parmesan Crisps

Don't fret: Enjoying a crunchy app without fat from the fryer is easy with these baked zucchini coins. Dredged in breadcrumbs and Parmesan, they develop a crisp brown crust that's superb for snacking.

Get the Recipe: Zucchini Parmesan Crisps

Potato, Tomato, Corn and Basil Salad

Summer's best staples band together to bring this bountiful salad to the table, which boasts hearty red tomatoes, but a light and fresh lemon juice and olive oil dressing. 

Get the Recipe: Potato, Tomato, Corn and Basil Salad

Zucchini Carpaccio

Debi and Gabriele use a mandoline to slice zucchini paper-thin, which allows the lemon and olive oil dressing to be absorbed easily by the verdant vegetable.

Get the Recipe: Zucchini Carpaccio

Avocado Salad with Toasted Cumin Vinaigrette

Serve this salad for a light start to a summer meal. Ripe avocado adds richness atop a springy bed of arugula and cilantro, while the mellow, nutty vinaigrette offers a subtly smoky edge.

Get the Recipe: Avocado Salad with Tomatoes, Lime, and Toasted Cumin Vinaigrette

"Old Bay" Grilled Steak Fries

Feel free to skip the fryer. These grilled spuds burst with flavor when brushed with an Old Bay-style spice mix that hosts heavy hitters like cloves, mace and cardamom, to name just a few.

Get the Recipe: "Old Bay" Grilled Steak Fries

Grilled Zucchini Rolls with Herbs and Cheese

Simple yet elegant, this goat cheese and herb-stuffed zucchini appetizer from Ellie Krieger gets a smoky char from the grill and fresh tang from a squeeze of lemon juice.

Get the Recipe: Grilled Zucchini Rolls with Herbs and Cheese

Potato-Egg Salad (Ensalada de Papas y Huevos)

Prepare extra potatoes for this vinegar-based salad and then serve with an abundance of hard-boiled eggs. Chopped red peppers and minced chives make this a colorful side dish with bright flavors.

Get the Recipe: Potato-Egg Salad (Ensalada de Papas y Huevos)

Broccoli and Cheddar-Stuffed Potato Skins

Potato skins don't usually fall under the "low calorie" header, but Ellie Krieger goes heavy on the broccoli and light on the cheese and bacon so you can munch on more than just a few.

Get the Recipe: Broccoli and Cheddar-Stuffed Potato Skins with Avocado Cream

Grilled Vegetable Salad with Feta and Mint

Give this light and refreshing salad a boost of flavor by grilling the red pepper, eggplant, onion and zucchini before tossing with fresh tomato and mint.

Get the Recipe: Grilled Vegetable Salad with Feta and Mint

Grilled Chickpea Polenta Cakes with Chive Oil

A couple cups of chickpeas pack this polenta with protein while chicken stock adds meaty flavor. When grilled, these creamy golden cakes are satisfying in every sense, brightened by sunny lemon zest and a quick chive oil. 

Get the Recipe: Grilled Chickpea Polenta Cakes with Chive Oil and Lemon

Cucumber Salad

Thinly sliced cucumbers form the base of this refreshing salad, which gains sharp flavor from your favorite vinegar and herbal notes thanks to snippets of fresh dill.

Get the Recipe: Cucumber Salad

Shaved Asparagus Salad

Raw asparagus shoots wilt ever so slightly when dressed with white wine vinegar and freshly squeezed orange juice, but they retain a crunch that works well with toasted hazelnuts and Pecorino Romano cubes.

Get the Recipe: Shaved Asparagus Salad

I Can't Believe It's Not Potato Salad!

Nix the potatoes for healthier cauliflower and hard-boiled egg whites and dress in a luscious, creamy (and fat-free) sauce.

Get the Recipe: I Can't Believe It's Not Potato Salad!

Zucchini Salad

Frisee and a handful of herbs keep flavors fresh in this rustic salad, while a zesty dressing of anchovy paste, Dijon mustard and sherry vinegar provides serious zip. Don't skip the anchovy paste; its mellow, savory quality really ups the umami factor in this mix.

Get the Recipe: Zucchini Salad

French Lentils with Walnuts and Goat Cheese

Fill up with a plate of robust Puy lentils, which form an earthy base for balsamic, bay leaf and fresh thyme. Walnuts, walnut oil and soft flecks of goat cheese add richness, making this a truly fine, hearty French meal.

Get the Recipe: French Lentils with Walnuts and Goat Cheese

Fresh Broccoli Salad

Alton breaks out his mandolin for this salad's thin broccoli shavings, which soak up the tart vinaigrette with freshly squeezed lemon and Dijon. Toasted hazelnuts add subtle heft alongside summer's best: basil and tomatoes.  

Get the Recipe: Fresh Broccoli Salad

Deviled Eggs

These zesty little bites offer a smarter snacking solution, made with light mayo and a potent pack of ingredients like chopped carrot and cornichons, plus cayenne pepper for extra kick. 

Get the Recipe: Deviled Eggs

No Cook Squash Salad

Too hot to turn on the oven or even fire up the grill? In this simple no-cook recipe, lemon juice softens thinly sliced squash after about 30 minutes, while chives, tarragon and Parmigiano-Reggiano add ample flavor.

Get the Recipe: No Cook Summer Squash Salad with Lemon and Herbs

Baked Fried Green Tomatoes and Zucchini

Bobby Deen lightens up a Southern summer staple by baking green tomatoes until crisp instead of deep-frying them. He adds zucchini to the mix for more veggie variety.

Get the Recipe: Baked Green Tomatoes and Zucchini

Quick and Easy Pickles

Quicken your pickling prowess in just 30 minutes flat and you'll soon enjoy these snappy cucumbers, infused with a piquant punch from cider vinegar, fresh dill and sea salt. 

Get the Recipe: Quick and Easy Pickles

Grilled Polenta Crackers with Roasted Pepper Salsa

Grilling polenta brings out the cornmeal's distinct flavor, which is well matched by a garlicky, lightly fiery salsa.

Get the Recipe: Grilled Polenta Crackers with Roasted Pepper Salsa

Moroccan Couscous

Exotic spices meld with a hearty helping of produce in this couscous recipe, including dried apricots, figs and golden butternut squash. Meaty chickpeas and roasted pistachios make this dish a colorfully complex bowl of goodness.

Get the Recipe: Moroccan Couscous

Grilled Summer Vegetables With Parsley and Olive Oil

Take the vegetable plate to the next level by simply grilling eggplant, zucchini and peppers until tender. A drizzle of olive oil, a handful of parsley, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper is all these veggies need to shine.

Get the Recipe: Grilled Eggplant, Zucchini and Peppers

No-Cook Mushroom Spinach Thai Salad

By adding soy sauce, basil, sesame seeds and jalapeños to a bed of spinach — rather than a wok — you can enjoy some of your favorite Thai flavors in lighter form.

Get the Recipe: Mushroom Spinach Thai Salad

Late Summer Minestrone

Instead of pasta and potatoes, this fresh take on minestrone subs in farmers' market favorites like zucchini, corn and basil.

Get the Recipe: Late Summer Minestrone

Shaved Vegetable Salad

Laura Calder's eye-catching salad is really a blank canvas. She recommends any mix of vegetables: Zucchini, carrot, red and yellow beets, fennel, kohlrabi, celery, asparagus, radishes and snow peas all work nicely, so pick your favorites.

Get the Recipe: Shaved Vegetable Salad

Stuffed Summer Squash

This Middle Eastern-style dish calls for summer squash to be stuffed with a heavily spiced lamb and bulgur wheat mixture. A sweet and spicy tomato broth base rounds out the flavors and adds vibrant summer color.

Get the Recipe: Stuffed Summer Squash (Cousa) with Bulgur in Tomato Broth

Papaya and Soybean Salad

This colorful salad, perfect cold or at room temperature, is packed with superfoods like soy beans and papaya. Warm spices and lime juice add an exotic kick to the dressing.

Get the Recipe: Papaya and Soybean Salad

Eggplant Relish

Salting and rinsing eggplant before cooking rids it of unwanted bitterness and allows its creamy, tender texture to shine through. When combined with sweet shallots, wine-infused raisins and pine nuts, eggplant becomes a succulent spread –– perfect for pairing with toasted bread and ricotta.

Get the Recipe: Eggplant Relish

Ratatouille Stew

This ratatouille stretches summer's end by calling for eggplant and squash to be simmered with diced tomatoes and low-sodium chicken broth. Garlic crostini serves as a savory vehicle for scooping up the guilt-free but satisfying stew.

Get the Recipe: Ratatouille Stew

Coconut Bean Salad

Take a trip to the Southeast with a black bean and coconut salad with Indian flair. Can’t find this recipe’s fenugreek leaves? Try subbing in parsley instead.

Get the Recipe: Coconut Bean Salad