It's still technically Spring, but given how April showers have quickly passed into sunny May days, now's the perfect time to head outdoors and fire up the grates for a pre-Summer cookout.
You could go for the classic sides — or take the lazy way out and grab some bags of chips — but putting in some extra effort won't go unnoticed by your guests, who are looking forward to what you'll be heating up on the grill! Scroll down to check out nine less-conventional sides that will have everyone impressed.
— Additional reporting by Lizzie Fuhr
Photos: Nicole Perry and Lauren Hendrickson
Southeast Asian Gazpacho
Take advantage of tomato season, and cool down with a fresh gazpacho soup , perfect for the warmer weather and a great introduction to your grilled dishes.
Sesame-Roasted Asparagus With Wasabi Vinaigrette
Wasabi adds a clear burst of spice wherever it's used, and with this recipe, it's no different. A wasabi vinaigrette makes this standard asparagus side  stand out, and it's great served at room temperature.
Grilled Flatbread Stuffed With Herbs and Cheese
You've already got the grill out, so why not cook up some warm flatbread stuffed  with herbs and cheese? This will pair wonderfully with your other grilled goods!
Sesame Soba Noodle Salad
Perfect for feeding a large group, this soba noodle salad  is stocked with fresh vegetables and topped with a flavorful sesame-ginger dressing.
Minty Spring Salad
The first lady knows her way around the kitchen — and this crisp mint pea salad  is a testament to that! This recipe, inspired by Michelle Obama's dish in her book American Grown  ($30), is a lighter side for your BBQ meal.
Sun-Dried-Tomato Pasta Salad
An al dente dish is perfect in the heat, and this sun-dried-tomato pasta , kept at room temperature, can serve your many guests while staying fresh.
We can't get enough of Louisa Shafia's recipe for sesame-carrot salad . It's a great way to bring a Persian sensibility to your all-American table.
Grilled Fava Beans
Simple and clean grilled fava beans  are a delicious addition to a heavy meal.
Ribboned Vegetable Salad
This bright ribboned vegetable salad  would be a beautiful addition to any late-Spring soiree. It's easy to put together the night before; just dress it before your guests arrive!