7 Super-Simple Summertime Sides with Fewer Than 5 Ingredients

Photo by: Matt Armendariz ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Matt Armendariz, 2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

It’s summertime and the living’s easy — or at least it should be, right? When the rest of your downtime is spent picnicking, beaching and traveling (or wishing you were), odds are you don’t have the time for extensive recipes or lengthy shopping lists. Luckily, we’ve got loads of simple-yet-sensational recipes using five ingredients or fewer (excluding salt and pepper) so that summer cooking is easy-breezy, just as it should be.

Swiss Chard + Slivered Almonds + Olive Oil + Shallots + Cider Vinegar

Though it calls for only five ingredients, Food Network Kitchen’s recipe for Swiss Chard with Shallots and Almonds (pictured above) is all about big, varying textures. The almonds add crunch, the olive oil adds silkiness, and the chard stems and leaves are nice and tender.

Photo by: Matt Armendariz ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Matt Armendariz, 2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Bacon + Baby Bok Choy + Onion + Butter Beans + White Balsamic Vinegar

Cook leafy baby bok choy down with smoky bacon drippings for a low-ingredient veggie dish brimming with flavor. Plus, Baby Bok Choy with Bacon, Onion and Butter Beans takes just 25 minutes to hit the table, and it’s healthy.

Plum Tomatoes + Red Onion + Kirby Cucumber + Extra Virgin Olive Oil + Red Wine Vinegar

Think of Rachael Ray’s 5-star Tomato, Onion and Cucumber Salad as the best use for juicy summer tomatoes. Instead of cluttering these in-season gems with other ingredients, simply toss the bright red beauties with red onion, thin-skinned cukes and a super-easy vinaigrette to let the tomato’s innate goodness shine through.

Corn + Red Onion + Cider Vinegar + Olive Oil + Basil

Ina Garten’s showstopping Fresh Corn Salad screams summer through and through. A flash of cooking, a punch of vinegar and a scattering of red onion and fresh basil are all it takes to elevate summer’s bounty to a dish worthy of more than 200 reviews and a five-star rating.

Bacon Wrapped Asparagus Bundles: Rachael Ray

Bacon Wrapped Asparagus Bundles: Rachael Ray

Photo by: Tara Donne ©Tara Donne

Tara Donne, Tara Donne

Asparagus + Extra Virgin Olive Oil + Bacon or Pancetta + Chopped Chives or Scallions

Gather asparagus spears together and wrap the bundles with a slice of bacon or pancetta. Not only does the bacon help to hold Rachael’s top-rated asparagus bundles together for an elegant presentation, but it also imbues them with a smoky saltiness as they cook and crisp on a hot grill.

ALEX_G_GRILLED_PORTOBELLO_MUSHROOM_BALSAMIC_H.jpg

Photo by: Matt Armendariz ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Matt Armendariz, 2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Portobello Mushrooms + Garlic + Extra Virgin Olive Oil + Balsamic Vinegar + Dijon Mustard

After grilling portobello mushrooms until tender and charred, Alex Guarnaschelli tops each one with a roasted garlic-infused balsamic dressing for her meaty-without-meat Grilled Portobello Mushrooms with Balsamic.

Photo by: Matt Armendariz ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Matt Armendariz, 2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Bacon + Shallot + Red Wine Vinegar + Frisee + Purple Figs

Bitter greens, smoky bacon and sweetly rich figs create a fresh, dynamic flavor profile in just 20 minutes. Serve this easy-to-make Fig, Bacon and Frisee Salad at the start of a summer party or to make an average night feel just a little bit more special.

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