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This July 4th, we declare independence from goopy, mayo-choked potato and macaroni salads, uninspired vegetable dishes, and lame store-bought, frozen or canned versions of what should arguably be the most important part of your 4th of July barbecue: sides. Obviously the meat is the most important part, but it just hangs out on the grill.

Pay attention to your side dishes, and you’ll be greatly rewarded when somehow your ribeye tastes even better because you’re eating it with Cobb Macaroni Salad and the char on your grilled chicken is charr-ier because there’s a little smoked mozzarella caprese on that forkful too. No matter what your food creed, there’s something in this mix for everyone from lovable vegan to borderline problematic bacon addict. 

Macaroni salads

Potato salads

Other salads

Not salads