14 Delicious Sides for Burgers
Planning a barbecue sometime this summer? If burgers are on your menu, we have some perfect side dishes to accompany them. Think baked beans and potato salad, grilled vegetables, and a showstopping panzanella that makes the most out of this season’s tomatoes. And if you’re in the mood for a classic burger-and-fries combination, we’ve included a recipe for waffle fries, too, which get an extra boost of flavor from berbere salt. Read on for even more side dishes for burgers.
Grill-Baked Potatoes with Chive Butter
These super-easy, indulgent potatoes are layered with pats of chive and sour cream butter, then wrapped in foil and grilled until soft and delicious.
To wilt the fennel slightly, Michel Nischan briefly marinates it in vinegar and salt before tossing it with firm, ripe peaches.
Smoky Glazed Asparagus
Chef Nate Appleman swears by coating vegetables with a mayonnaise-based marinade; it creates a beautifully blistered crust when grilled. Here he offers a marinade for asparagus that is also fabulous on broccoli and fennel.
Grilled Broccoli and Bread Salad with Pickled Shallots
Here, Chef Charlie Parker serves lightly charred broccoli and ciabatta cubes in a twist on an Italian bread-and-tomato salad.
Watermelon, Feta and Almond Salad
Chef Scott Conant likes serving summer’s juiciest, sweetest watermelon with feta, salt and crunchy toasted almonds.
Quick Red Cabbage Slaw
Ten minutes of simple prep work and an hour of hands-off marinating time deliver this almost effortless slaw that scores big in the flavor department. Matchstick carrots make it ultra-easy; just dump, stir, and go. Seasoned with a simple mixture of lemon juice, mustard seeds, and salt, this slaw lends itself a variety of uses—try it on barbecue sandwiches, tacos, and turkey or chicken burgers—or serve it as a side dish at your next barbecue or potluck.
Grilled Summer Squash with Blue Cheese and Pecans
For grilled squash with a uniformly crisp texture, chef Vivian Howard of Chef & the Farmer in North Carolina cuts her squash lengthwise into quarters and then removes the seedy interior. This gorgeous summer squash salad is tossed with a bright, lemony dressing.
Pasta Salad with Feta and Herbs
This Southern-inspired pasta salad from Mason Hereford’s New Orleans restaurant Turkey and the Wolf gets a touch of tangy heat from hot sauce and loads of crunch from nutty sunflower seeds. Use Duke’s mayonnaise for an extra bite to the dressing. This colorful, eclectic pasta will fit in well with any picnic or cookout spread.
Gina Mae’s Baked Beans
Scholar Regina Bradley (nicknamed Gina Mae as a child) added a few special touches to her husband's baked beans recipe to make it her own. "A cookout's DNA is found in the sides and who made them. This task is not for the faint of heart or the thin-skinned," wrote Bradley, in an essay on the hierarchy of the cookout for Food & Wine. “If your beans taste burnt or your potato salad has raisins or olives, we talking bad about you 'til your grandchildren hear about it." For this summer-perfect side, Bradley dresses up store-bought barbecue sauce with extra brown sugar; apple cider vinegar cuts through the smoky sweetness.
Sweet Corn Succotash with Shiitakes and Sugar Snaps
This bright, buttery succotash by Katy Sparks (BNC 1998) is a perfect summer side dish that comes together in minutes. “My inspiration for this dish is to take a fresh look at an American classic, succotash, which is usually sweet corn cooked together with lima beans or other green beans,” Sparks says. “I like to lighten it up with summery snap peas and add meaty shiitakes for depth of flavor. Fresh basil in the smoked paprika butter elevates the whole recipe to something that pairs wonderfully with anything you want to throw on the grill: chicken, pork, fish, burgers, eggplant, and peppers.”
Tomato, Basil, and Cucumber Panzanella with Grated Tomato Balsamic Vinaigrette
This summer blockbuster panzanella from Samin Nosrat, author of Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat, pairs oven-roasted sourdough croutons with juicy ripe tomatoes, raw red onion, and crisp cucumbers. Grated tomato adds a gentle acidity and chunky texture to the vinaigrette, helping it cling to every bite. Staggering the addition of vinaigrette, vegetables, and croutons similarly protects their crunch, and also helps season the salad properly, allowing salt, acid, and oil to be added in stages, as needed. This panzanella is ultimately a deceptively simple salad, one that makes the most of beautiful ingredients and a little time.
Kwame’s Waffle Fries
Berbere, an Ethiopian spice blend, brings a citrusy sweet heat to these fried spuds. Chef Kwame Onwuachi mixes it with kosher salt and then sprinkles it over the finished fries.
Potato Salad with Fresh Corn And Basil
Red baby potatoes are ideal for potato salad because their tender skins and creamy interiors hold together, even when cooked. Quickly soaking the onions in vinegar mellows their bite and allows the summery fresh herbs to shine in the dressing. Be sure to taste the salad after chilling and adjust the seasoning before serving.
Grilled Corn with Cotija and Quicos
Hot off the grill, charred sweet corn gets slathered in tangy lime mayonnaise and topped with extra-large crunchy quicos, or corn nuts, in Traci des Jardins’ version of elote. For a plated version, cut the kernels from the cobs and toss with lime mayo and quicos, then scoop and serve.