How many BBQs have you already had or planned for this year? The season for eating lunch and dinner in the garden is here at last: it’s now time to light your barbecue and dedicate some time to cooking outdoors.

A good side is definitely a must have. Choose it to complement the type of grilled food you are planning to cook: will it be meat, fish or a vegetarian meal?

The difference between something good and something great is attention to detail.

Charles R. Swindoll

We sometimes almost forget to prepare a side for our grilled meal but this is a terrible mistake: don’t leave anything to chance, think your meal out in every detail: From the centrepiece, the mosquito repellent to – most importantly – the sides.

Potatoes are the first vegetable that comes to mind but grilled meat sides are much more varied than that: here are a few ideas to make your barbecues even more delicious!

Grilled meat sides: traditional and contemporary recipes

Contorni per la grigliata di carne - Patate al forno con rosmarino

Herby potatoes

What side could be more traditional with grilled meat than potatoes? Roasted or oven-baked, the important think is to season them properly: grab your favourite herbs (rosemary is a great classic) and enjoy your grilled meal.

If you own a Palazzetti barbecue you can cook everything outdoors because many models even come with an oven!

contorni per la grigliata di carne - patate lesse ripiene di peperoni ed erbe aromatiche

Stuffed boiled potatoes

This second recipe is based on potatoes but can be varied to suit the type of vegetables sitting in your fridge.

It’s very easy to make: simply boil your potatoes, peel them and then slit them widthways a few times. Fill each slit with your favourite vegetables and herbs and you’re done. Some tips? Peppers go well with parsley as do tomatoes and chives. Season your potatoes and leave them to cool until your guests arrive.

A simple yet stunning recipe!

contorni per grigliata di carne - insalata di patate

Potato salad

This recipe is also based on boiled potatoes and offers lots of variations.

One idea is the German Kartoffelsalat  with onions and bacon. In Sweden, cooled, boiled potatoes are dressed with a mustard and mayonnaise sauce while in some parts of France a yoghurt sauce seasoned with herbs is used.

An Italian classic? Boiled potatoes, confit cherry tomatoes, olives and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

contorni per grigliata di carne - verdure miste alla griglia

Mixed grilled vegetables

This is probably quite a common side, especially for real BBQ lovers. Aubergines, courgettes and peppers are the most traditional choice but this medley can become even more inviting if you add mushrooms, tomatoes, onions and – why not – even carrots for a sweet touch.

A simple recipe? Here’s how to prepare herby peppers and aubergines directly on the grill.

Raw vegetable kebabs

Short of ideas for an appetizer? Look no further: serve your veggies in an original way and you will have everything you need!

Vegetable kebabs are perfect as sides for grilled meats but also as appetizers with cocktails: they are quick and easy to prepare and add a touch of colour to any table!

contorni per la grigliata di carne - pimientos del padron

Pimientos del Padrón

If you have ever been to Spain, especially to Galizia, you must have tasted these tapas: they are finger-licking delicious!

It’s really easy to prepare these pimientos del padrón with only 3 ingredients: del padrón peppers (any green, sweet peppers will be fine), coarse salt and extra virgin olive oil.

Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a pan and sear the peppers for a few minutes after having salted them lightly; cover with a lid and leave to cook at medium heat for a few minutes.

Serve with a drizzle of raw oil and coarse salt.

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Photo and recipe © Le Bistrò

Aubergine rolls

We have already mentioned that grilled aubergines are a classic side. Why not present them in a more elegant, tasty way?

Choose a wide aubergine and cut it into large slices. Grill the slices. Fill the centre of each slice with your favourite filling (breadcrumbs and herbs, fresh cheese and chives for instance) and roll the slice lengthwise.

That’s it: your aubergine rolls are ready to enjoy!

contorni per grigliata di carne - car

Foto e ricetta © Dinner at the zoo

Honey-roasted carrots

This side is perfect if you like grilled pork. The sweet flavour of roast carrots with the addition of honey is an ideal side for such a tasty meat!