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the food allergy app—

from Allergy Force

  • Writer's pictureAllergy Dragon

Allergy Friendly Side Salads for Extra BBQ Sizzle

We're thinking July 4 and barbecue gatherings. Allergy Dragon shares some DELICIOUS sides for your barbecues this weekend. What we love? Beyond being easy to make and fresh? Is that they can be made in advance and just taste better and better the more they marinate.

Thank you Allergy Dragon for sharing these with us!


“Good food is very often, even most often, simple food.”

—Anthony Bourdain


With the 4th of July holiday just ahead, I thought I’d serve up some refreshing BBQ sides for your holiday celebration. I created a special recipe just for the Allergy Force community — an Easy Southern Style Cucumber Salad —to put some of your summer cucumber and herb harvest to good use. I’m also sharing a bonus recipe I recently taught at my hybrid cooking class at Rainbow Blossom Natural Food Market — a delicious Watermelon and Mint Salad.

Both recipes are simple to make and you can eat them right away or let them marinate for later. They’re gluten-free and top-9-free, plus super easy to adapt to different dietary restrictions and taste preferences.

Make it family time and get the kids busy in the kitchen with you — slicing, chopping, tearing, tossing all the ingredients. Measuring ingredients will give their brains a summertime math refresh and they won’t even realize they're having a math lesson because it's fun! 😎

Everyone deserves to eat delicious food and these BBQ sides definitely fit the bill.

Get the recipes...

Easy Southern Style Cucumber Salad

(Serves approximately 4)


  • 2 average cucumbers, thinly sliced, with peel on

  • 2-3 small onions, red or sweet yellow, thinly sliced

  • 1 bunch of fresh dill, washed, dried, and chopped (or 3 tablespoons of dried dill)

  • ½ or 1 teaspoon of salt

  • Black pepper to personal taste

  • 5 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar

  • 1 or 2 tablespoons of sugar

Let’s get started!

  1. Wash, dry, and thinly slice your cucumber and onions and put them in a bowl.

  2. Chop the fresh dill (if using; omit step if not).

  3. Combine the chopped, fresh dill (or dried dill), salt, pepper with the cucumbers and onions and toss until well coated.

  4. Cover and refrigerate for at least 10 minutes. (The salt will help release water from the cucumber and onions, softening them. Discard the liquid that's released.)

  5. In a small bowl, whisk the apple cider vinegar and sugar (to taste) together until the sugar is mostly dissolved into a dressing.

  6. Add the vinegar and sugar dressing to the cucumber and onions in the bowl and toss together until well combined.

  7. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.



1. From the Garden:

This is a great summer dish for using up your fresh cucumbers and dill from the garden

2. Cucumber Selection:

I prefer English cucumbers since they have thinner skins. Using a mandolin slicer (if you have one) speeds up the prep process and ensures slices are uniform. Variation: You can dice the cucumbers.

3. Onions:

Our test kitchen mixed red onions with Vidalia onions for color and taste. If you slice your cucumbers into rounds, suggest also thinly slicing onions into rounds. Variation: If you dice the cucumbers suggest dicing the onions, as well.

4. Timing:

You can make this recipe last minute or ahead of time. It depends on your preference and your BBQ timing.

Allergy Friendly Watermelon Salad

(Serves approximately 4)


  • 5 Cups or one small seedless watermelon, diced into bite-sized pieces.

  • ½ cup of vegan crumbled feta cheese (or regular if you can have it.)

  • ½ cup of torn mint leaves.

  • 3 tablespoons of lemon juice or lime juice.

  • ¼ to ½ teaspoon of Himalayan salt or salt of choice

Let’s get started!

  1. Dice the watermelon and place in a large bowl.

  2. Tear the mint leaves into small pieces.

  3. Whisk the lemon (or lime) juice and Himalayan salt together in a small bowl.

  4. Next, toss the mint leaves together with the lemon (or lime) juice & salt mixture to make the dressing.

  5. Add the dressing to the bowl with the watermelon and mix very well to ensure the watermelon is fully coated.

  6. (Optional) Top with vegan (or regular) crumbled feta.

  7. You can serve immediately but this salad tastes better after sitting a while (even overnight) in the refrigerator.

  8. Mix well before serving every time the salad has rested awhile.



1. Herbs:

Variation: You can substitute fresh basil if you can’t find mint or don’t like it. In the picture, I have used basil in the salad.

2. Timing:

You can make this recipe last minute or ahead of time. It depends on your preference and your BBQ timing.

A word about my cooking class. I hold classes 1 to 2 times a month and you can find the schedule of upcoming classes here. The classes are offered in person and via zoom. If you’ve registered, you’ll be able to access a recording after the class to review the lesson.

In my most recent class I showed students how to make three corn free, top-9 free BBQ side dishes plus a zesty BBQ sauce that’ll have guests coming back for seconds (and even thirds.) I invite you to come learn with me.

Bon appetit!



About the Author: Chef Martha Morgan (aka Allergy Dragon) is a specialty diet and allergy chef who shares tips, tricks and best recipes from almost 30 years of professional cooking experience on social media and at the Allergy Dragon's Lair.

Chef Martha provides support in the kitchen to everyone with food allergies, food intolerances, and specialty diets. Her expertise includes providing a full range of cooking guidance in the kitchen from technique, to finding safe products, to handling those new products, to creating (or re-creating as the case may be) recipes.

Connect with Allergy Dragon on Instagram (@allergy_dragon), Facebook (@allergydragon), Twitter (@AllergyDragon), and LinkedIn and follow Allergy Dragon on YouTube.

Images: Courtesy of Allergy Dragon, the Allergy Dragon test kitchen, and Vincent Keiman on Unsplash


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