Summer’s here and it’s time to enjoy the warm-ish weather!  In Canada, we’re excited for the summer months, as they always seem so short!  Nothing screams “Summer’s here!” like outdoor dining with friends and family!  It’s BBQ and patio dining season! Here are a few favourite side dish recipes to enjoy with your loved ones this summer.

Quinoa Salad

  • Ingredients
  • 1 box President’s Choice Organics Quinoa
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1 yellow pepper. diced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup black olives, pitted and sliced
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • juice of half a lemon
  • black pepper to taste
  • chives, chopped (to garnish)


1. In a small pot, bring 2 cups water to a boil. Stir in quinoa, cover, reduce heat to low and let simmer for 15 minutes.

2. In a prep bowl, add olive oil, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, and black pepper and mix or whisk. OR you can also add these ingredients in a mason jar, seal lid and shake.

3. Once quinoa is cooked, fluff with fork. In a large bowl, add cooked quinoa, chopped vegetables and olives. Add balsamic ‘dressing’, mix, making sure to evenly distribute dressing. Garnish with chopped chives.

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 15 minutes

Total time: 25 minutes

Serves: 4-6

Loaded Potato Casserole

Love a yummy loaded baked potato?  Then you’ll love this casserole version!  It’s also great with crumbled up bacon added, but I was in a rush and didn’t get to include the bacon (much to my husband’s dismay).


  • 6 cooked potatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 cup Gay Lea sour cream
  • 8-10 chives or green onions, chopped
  • 1 cup cheese (marble or cheddar), shredded
  • 1/4 cup melted butter (optional, but makes potato casserole a beautiful golden colour when baked)


1. Boil potatoes and when cooked, grate them.

2. Butter/grease your  casserole dish.

3. In a large mixing bowl, combine potatoes, salt, sour ream, chives or green onions, and grated cheese. Add mixture into casserole dish.  If adding bacon, sprinkle crumbled cooked bacon.

4. Pour melted butter over top of potatoes bake at 400° for 25 minutes (or until potato casserole is nicely browned).

5. If you wish, you can add an extra sprinkle of chopped chives on top of the casserole like I did.

6. Serve hot and enjoy as a great side dish!

Prep time: 20 min.

Cook time: 25 time.

Serves 6 to 8.

Heart Beet Salad (get it?)

  • Ingredients
  • 6-8 medium-sized beets
  • 5-6 cups kale
  • ¼ c walnuts, chopped
  • ¼ c dried cranberries
  • ¼ c Feta cheese, crumbled
  • Dressing:
  • ¼ extra virgin olive oil (I like using President’s Choice)
  • ¼ c Balsamic vinegar (I use President’s Choice)
  • 1-2 Tbsp local honey (I get ours from a local bee farmer on the Island)
  • salt & black pepper


1. Cook beets. You can either roast them in your oven or boil them. I boiled them today. I boil them as I boil potatoes — bring water to a boil and cook for 15 minutes or until fork tender.

2. Wash kale and dry in salad spinner. Tear kale leaves into bite-sized pieces.

3. In a mason jar, add olive oil, Balsamic vinegar, honey, salt and pepper. Cover with lid and shake until emulsified.

4. Once beets are cooked, allow to cool. When cool, you can either cut beets into bite-sized pieces OR slice them into ½ inch rounds and take a heart-shaped cookie cutter to cut out heart pieces. These are fun for Valentine’s Day.

5. In a large salad bowl, add beets and kale. Toss gently with Balsamic dressing, sprinkle chopped walnuts, dried cranberries and crumbled feta cheese.

6. Et voila! Enjoy!

The above side dishes pair well with Maple BBQ Ribs, Manitoulin Shawarma, and Filipino BBQ.

Kick back and enjoy lots of BBQ time with friends and family!  What’s your favourite Summer recipe?

Christine is an ESL teacher, mother, wife, freelance writer, product reviewer, and blogger. She lives on a farm with her husband (Hubby), daughter (Little One), beloved canine baby (Chance), a bunch of rambunctious barn cats and some really stubborn cattle. Read her blog at Life On Manitoulin.