The Ultimate Guide to Gluten-Free Side Dishes for Cookouts

Summer is here, and that means it’s time for grilling, poolside lounging, and fireworks. With the Fourth of July just around the corner, many of us are dusting off our aprons and firing up the grill to enjoy good food and drinks with friends, family, and neighbors. If you’re looking to accommodate gluten-free individuals at your cookout, we’ve got you covered with some of the best gluten-free side dishes worth considering.

What is Gluten Anyway?

Before we dive into these delicious recipes, let’s talk about gluten. Gluten is a protein found in grains like barley, rye, and wheat. It’s commonly found in dishes like pasta, bread, cereals, and baked goods. However, there are plenty of naturally gluten-free foods out there, such as vegetables, fruits, meats, beans, nuts, dairy products, and eggs.

Common Ingredients for Gluten-Free Dishes

When it comes to making gluten-free dishes, it’s important to know which ingredients are safe to use. While many naturally gluten-free foods can be used, there are a few specific ingredients to watch out for:

  • Vinegar: Most vinegars are gluten-free, including white wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar, balsamic vinegar, and distilled vinegar. Just be sure to avoid malt vinegar, which is derived from barley.

  • Mayonnaise: Mayonnaise is often gluten-free, but some brands may contain malt vinegar. Look for brands that use eggs, salt, oil, vinegar, lemon, and mustard as their main ingredients.

  • Hollandaise Sauce: Homemade hollandaise sauce is gluten-free, made with eggs, lemon juice, butter, pepper, and cayenne pepper. Just double-check any pre-made sauces for wheat flour or other gluten-containing products.

  • Pasta: There are many gluten-free pasta options available, replacing wheat flour with potato, rice, or corn flour. Brands like Ronzoni and Barilla offer gluten-free noodles in various shapes.

  • Bacon Bits: Most bacon is gluten-free, but some brands may add flavorings that contain gluten. Look for gluten-free bacon bits from brands like Hormel and McCormick.

  • Salad Dressing: Avoid dressings with malt flavoring, malt vinegar, and soy sauce. Instead, opt for gluten-free options like ranch, vinaigrette, Italian, or Caesar dressings.

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When shopping for ingredients, keep an eye out for gluten-free labels to ensure you’re making the best choices for your cookout.

Gluten-Free Side Dishes to Wow Your Guests

Now that you’re armed with some gluten-free cooking knowledge, let’s jump into the main event. Here are ten incredible gluten-free side dishes that are both time and money savers:

1. Side Salad

A simple side salad with romaine lettuce, diced tomatoes, shredded carrots, and cucumbers is always a crowd-pleaser. Sprinkle in some cheddar cheese, bacon bits, red onions, and chopped boiled eggs for extra flavor. Don’t forget to dress it up with gluten-free ranch dressing, like the one from Wish Bone.

Side Salad

2. Mixed Vegetables

Whether you prefer them raw, grilled, or sautéed, mixed vegetables are a versatile and easy side dish. Pair raw veggies with a side of ranch dressing, or sauté them and top with hollandaise sauce for an extra creamy and buttery flavor.

Mixed Vegetables

3. Corn on the Cob

Corn on the cob is a classic cookout favorite. Boil it for 5-10 minutes or grill it for 15-20 minutes. Season with chili powder, garlic powder, paprika, or keep it simple with salt and butter.

Corn on the Cob

4. Fruit Salad

A refreshing bowl of fruit salad is a perfect summer side dish. Try a combination of blueberries, cherries, pineapple, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, pomegranate, kiwi, grapes, and oranges. Mix sweet and tart fruits for a burst of flavor.

Fruit Salad

5. Coleslaw

Coleslaw pairs well with any meat dish and is a great addition to any cookout spread. Shredded cabbage and carrots, along with mayonnaise, salt, pepper, white wine vinegar, and sugar create a light and tangy coleslaw.

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6. Broccoli Salad

A broccoli salad is a great option for a gluten-free side dish. Mix broccoli florets, onions, craisins, and sunflower seeds together. You can also substitute almonds or pecans for sunflower seeds, raisins for craisins, and add bacon bits and grapes. The dressing is made with mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper.

Broccoli Salad

7. Macaroni Salad

You can still enjoy a classic macaroni salad while being gluten-free. Just use gluten-free elbow noodles and mix them with celery, red onion, mayo, shredded carrots, salt, pepper, Dijon mustard, and lemon juice. Keep it chilled until it’s time to serve.

Macaroni Salad

8. Corn and Avocado Salad

Creamy and earthy, corn and avocado salad is a perfect summer side dish. Combine corn, tomatoes, avocados, red onions, cilantro, garlic, lime juice, oil, salt, and pepper. It’s even better with grilled corn off the cob.

Corn and Avocado Salad

9. Crustless Tomato Pie

Pizza lovers, this one’s for you. A crustless tomato pie is a delightful combination of mild tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, basil, scallions, and garlic. Add some salt, butter, scallions, pepper, basil, and eggs, and you’ll have a savory treat.

Crustless Tomato Pie

These gluten-free side dishes are sure to impress your guests and satisfy their cravings. Let us know in the comments which ones you’re excited to try. And for more gluten-free recipes, be sure to visit our website!

Thanks for reading!

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