It’s officially barbecue season and while we can only hope for dry days and hours of sunshine, we like to focus on one of the things we know is a guarantee at any bash: the food. From hamburgers and sausages to skewers and chicken, these BBQ All-Stars are always must-haves for a meaty menu.

But every star needs a supporting act, and that’s where side dishes come in! Give us zesty salads, grilled veg, crunchy coleslaw and charred corn, shouting with bold flavours and providing the perfect accompaniment to our barbecued mains.

Putting a slight twist on side dishes is an easy way to elevate your barbecue spread — whether it’s trying a new suite of salads or upgrading old reliables, a savvy side can quickly become a new favourite. We’ve compiled some of our best sides here to bring your barbecue to the next level.

1. Mexican street corn

Once you have this Mexican-inspired corn on the cob, you can never go back to regular barbecued corn. A nod to authentic elotes, this charred corn is slathered in a mixture of sour cream, lime juice and chilli powder, then liberally dusted with grated Parmesan. If you can get your hands on cotija cheese, all the better!

2. Tomato, cucumber and red onion salad

Tomato, cucumber and red onion salad | Easy Food
This salad is quintessentially Irish: tomatoes, cucumbers and red onion all grow happily on our island, and this salad allows their natural flavours to shine through with the help of a zesty and sweet Dijon vinaigrette. Pro tip: make extra vinaigrette and keep it on hand for a delicious homemade salad dressing.

3. Mediterranean potato salad

We all love a good potato salad and we’ve become obsessed with this vibrant twist on a favourite. Roasted baby potatoes are tossed with olives, red onion, Feta cheese, tomatoes and fresh herbs for a decidedly Mediterranean flare. Roast the potatoes directly on the barbecue for a lovely charred flavour if you’re up to it!

4. Goat’s cheese pasta salad

Cooked fusilli pasta and seasonal green beans give us a filling and fresh side dish here. Add some sun-dried tomatoes, crumbly goat’s cheese and peppery rocket for a flavour boost that takes just minutes to throw together.

5. Tomato, peach, prosciutto and goat’s cheese salad

This salad is a sure-fire way to bring a touch of elegance to any barbecue. Juicy, sweet peaches balance salty prosciutto beautifully in this dish. Try swapping the goat’s cheese for blue cheese if you prefer — Irish Crozier Blue is ideal, as its creamy taste and rounded flavour won’t be overwhelming here.

6. Crunchy coleslaw

Sometimes, a classic is best, and this traditional coleslaw is a case in point. The trio of cabbage, carrots and onions is the ideal base for a creamy dressing of mayonnaise, yoghurt and wholegrain mustard. Slap a bit on a burger or eat it straight-up, this is one side that is always a winner.

7. Barbecued plums with lemon mascarpone

We think it’s important to end on a sweet note and so felt compelled to include a stand-out dessert here. Barbecuing the peaches imparts a gorgeous caramelised flavour without being too sweet, and when paired with a zesty and tangy lemon mascarpone, it makes the perfect end to your barbecue.