Savory Summer Side Dishes For Independence Day

  Savory Summer Side Dishes for Independence Day

(Photo by Lee Myungseong on Unsplash)

Independence Day is just a few days away. For Americans, fewer national holidays engender patriotism, community, and the desire to grill than the 4th of July. Amid the elaborate spread of meats, cheeses, and sugar, you’re always bound to find the crowd favorites. We’re talking about hamburgers, cheeseburgers, hot dogs, potato salad, macaroni and cheese, and jello molds, to name a few. Not only is the 4th of July right at the peak of excellent summer weather, but all the food seems to taste better when you’re eating it with people you love.

However, this holiday weekend, like a few other select American holidays, seems to wreak havoc on the waistline. This fact might make a few people feel like they have to choose between tasty summer traditions and a beach body. But in reality, you can have the best of both worlds. We’ve picked a couple of our favorite healthy twists on some old Independence Day favorites to enjoy the weekend guilt-free.

Potato Salad with Dill Greek Yogurt Dressing

Having a picnic without potato salad almost seems illogical. What else are you going to eat with your burger or hot dog? But the fat content of some potato salads is enough to send even the most enthusiastic mayonnaise lover in the other direction. We’ve found a lighter and equally-as-delicious alternative, though. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1½ lbs. of baby potatoes
  • 2 tbsps. of diced pickles
  • 1 tbsp. of fresh-chopped dill
  • ¼ cup of mayonnaise or vegan mayo
  • ¼ cup of Greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp. of Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp. of lemon juice
  • ¼ tsp. of salt

First, boil and cook the potatoes all the way through in a pot. It’ll take around 6 to 10 minutes, depending on the size of the individual potatoes. While those are cooling, chop up the pickles and dill and mix them with the Greek yogurt, lemon juice, mustard, mayo, and salt. After that, cut up the potatoes, toss them in the sauce, and let it cool in the fridge for up to a half hour before serving.

If you’re looking to add more of a hearty texture, consider adding artichoke hearts to your salad. Search for how to make artichokes work in your potato salads if you’re curious about other ideas.

Zucchini and Onion Gratin

You’ll be hard-pressed to find any American cookout in a short supply of potato-based dishes. But even though these simple starches taste stellar going down, they often leave you feeling bloated and tired. This zucchini and onion gratin is a fresh twist on everyone’s beloved cheesy potatoes. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1½ lbs. of zucchini, diagonally-sliced into ¼-inch slices
  • 2 tbsps. of olive oil
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced and quartered
  • 1 tbsp. of tomato paste
  • 2 tsps. of grated lemon rind
  • 1 tsp. of fresh thyme
  • ⅜ tsps. of kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp. of freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 oz. of grated Parmesan cheese

First, preheat your oven to 375°. Then, heat the oil in a large pan, add the onion, and cook for about six minutes. After that, add the tomato paste and let that cook for two minutes. Once those have cooked together, add the thyme, salt, pepper, and lemon rind. At this time, start preheating your broiler.

Next, arrange the zucchini on a jelly-roll pan, drizzling the remaining oil on top and tossing the slices in it.  Broil these slices for about seven minutes and sprinkle salt on afterward. After that, take a 2-inch gratin dish and arrange the onions inside, and then the zucchini on top. Sprinkle cheese over both and stick the pan in the oven for 25 minutes. Once that’s finished, remove the pan and place it in the broiler (set to high) for 1½ minutes or until the tops are browned.

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Earle Dutton

Earle Dutton

Earle Dutton is the Chief Blogger and Editor of He founded in 2013 to provide information about LGBTQ friendly events of interest, and to support LGBTQ entertainers and supportive artists who visit our community. Earle is a successful businessman in the Pacific Northwest with a long history of support for and involvement in, the Northwest LGBTQ community. His personal interests include: music, theater, pets, culinary arts and technology.

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