Cheap BBQ Side Dishes

It is the season for BBQs and outdoor potlucks.  I absolutely love getting together with friends and eating together.  What can I say? I am a foodie at heart.  The truth is though, too many BBQs and potlucks can add up expense wise.  You don’t have to miss out on going to that BBQ your friend is throwing because money is tight.  You just need some cheap BBQ side dishes to bring to your next event.

BBQ side dishes

Can we just talk about something here?  You don’t have to keep up with the Joneses.  This includes food and hospitality.  In the early years of marriage we used to feel like if someone served us appetizers, a main course of steak, and a fancy dessert that we had to reciprocate when we invited those same people over.  This simply isn’t true!  There are so many delicious dishes you can make that are inexpensive.

Don’t get me wrong, I love a good steak, and when I go somewhere and they feed me steak I feel like I am enjoying a little piece of heaven, but if those same people invited me over to eat cereal for dinner I’d still go.  Because it’s the company, not the food.  The food is just a bonus.

I remember reading a story years ago about a woman who had another woman approach her wanting to do lunch together.  She explained that while she would love to have the woman over for lunch, she only had enough food for herself and her kids and could barely make ends meet, let alone feed guests.  Instead of being embarrassed about this and passing on the fellowship, she suggested that the one woman bring over her own lunch for herself and her family and that they ate their individual lunches together.  It became an after church ritual for the two families.

That story always gives me goosebumps.  Two families willing to come together in less than perfect circumstances without embarrassment.  They created a bond and memories that will last a lifetime.  All because they didn’t try to keep up with the Joneses, but were honest with eachother about their struggle with finances, yet still made it work to fellowship together.

If those ladies can do that, surely we can be okay with bringing a more budget-friendly side dish to the next BBQ?  Not everything has to be flashy!  So what should you bring to the next BBQ or potluck?  Here is a list of ideas with some recipe links!

 BBQ Side Dishes

Pasta Salad.  A regular staple at BBQS and potlucks for years now, it’s still a perfect choice.  Pasta, veggies, some cheese, and some ranch dressing making this a quick and frugal option.  Try THIS pasta salad over at Together as Family.

Potato Salad.  Another classic, this is a cheap choice to bring and usually only requires some potato, some mayonnaise, and the option to add eggs, onion, or other veggies.  Try THIS ONE over at It’s a Gouda Life.  It includes bacon which would be delicious, but if you need a super cheap dish, just leave the bacon out.

Bean Salad.  Does it get any cheaper than beans?  Use some dried beans that you cook for the absolute cheapest option.  Don’t have the time to do that? Canned beans are still a really budget-friendly option.  Try THIS recipe over at Valerie’s Kitchen.

Baked Beans in the Crockpot.  The Crockpot is my favorite kitchen appliance.  I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again – it’s a dinner angel.  Baked beans can be made easily in the slow cooker.  Try THIS recipe over at Little House Living..

Perogies.  If you are looking for something a little hearty, bring perogies.  Fry them up and keep them warm in a casserole dish.  You can literally buy perogies from 2-4 dollars a bag.  Add a 2 dollar container of sour cream and you’ve kept your side dish under 6 dollars.  Or you can skip the sour cream and try out THIS recipe that uses the Crock-pot to make them, with a butter sauce topping.

Tortilla Chips and Salsa.  No recipe for this one!  Pick up a bag of tortilla chips and a jar of salsa (or grab some salsa you preserved during canning season!)  Put it all on a pretty plate.  Don’t underestimate this simple dish.  My husband can often be found near the chips and dip at any function!  If you have a garden, you can also try making this simple Pico de Gallo recipe to accompany those chips.

Garden Salad.  If you have a garden, this is an insanely cheap option.  You can grab all you need from your growing bounty!  Try out THESE salad dressing recipes from Spark People to accompany the salad.

Raw Veggies and Hummus.  Again, if you have a garden, this is a crazy cheap option.  Make some hummus for dipping.  Try THIS hummus recipe at Gimme Some Oven.

Homemade Baked Bread and Butter. Do you know how much I love bread?  Especially homemade bread?   And I know I am not alone in this.  You could make multiple loaves of bread and freeze them so that whenever you have a BBQ or potluck you can just go to the freezer and grab a loaf!  I share a step-by-step tutorial and recipe on how to make bread in THIS POST.

Cold Rice Salad.  When the weather gets warmer I love to make a huge batch of rice and making different kinds of salads for my lunches.  Try out THIS Confetti and Bean Rice Salad from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe.

Corn Bread.  I love corn bread but I just don’t make it enough, which is really a shame because it is so easy to make and most people love it!  Try out THIS Easy Homemade Cornbread at Eating on a Dime.

Deviled Eggs.  Eggs are super cheap.  This is an even cheaper option if you are like me and own your own chickens!  Try THIS classic recipe over at Pinch My Salt.

There is no need to stress when you have a summer full of BBQs and potlucks.  Try any of the above cheap BBQ side dish recipes for an easy and inexpensive option.

Writing this post just reminds me how excited I am that the warmer weather is here.  What about you?  What kind of plans do you have for this Spring and Summer? Am I missing any classic BBQ side dishes that you make every year?

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