Delicious Summer Grilling Ideas

 Grilled peaches & halloumi.

Grilled peaches & halloumi.

With summer fast approaching, it’s time to say sayonara to the hot kitchen and head to the great outdoors because the grill is your warm-weather friend and companion. There's nothing better than the taste of some nice char on your juicy hamburger and roasted hot dogs.

What's even better is you don’t have to be limited to just burgers and dogs. That grill can work overtime so that the entire meal can come from under the bbq lid. Even cooler? You can head out at any time and prepare some pretty good breakfast. Hot coffee and a grilled breakfast is a pretty sweet way to start a beautiful, summer day.

1. Grilled bananas

I love grilled bananas. The heat really wakes up the sweetness, and the char gives them a nice, savory element. Pairing them with cottage cheese, honey and a sprinkle of nuts and coconut, makes me feel like I woke up in the Caribbean. 

2. Grilled zucchini bread

If you have some day-old zucchini bread (or older) that's started to go a little dry and stale, don't toss it!  Instead, cut it into thick slices, brush the slices with some butter and grill it up! The crackly, crusty grill marks will have you and your whole family reaching for more.  

3. Grilled peaches & halloumi

Another great use of the grill is for some tasty appetizers like grilled peaches and halloumi cheese. Halloumi, a firm, salty Greek cheese is perfect for grilling and pairs beautifully with sweet peaches. Tear up some mint, slice some grilled baguette and everyone will be amazed that the entire dish came from the great outdoors!

4. Grilled avocados

Yes, avocados! Just cut them in half, remove the pit and brush with a little olive oil. Grill cut side down for two to three minutes and you’ll have a warm, smoky avocado that you can top with some salsa roja or salsa verde. Add a little sour cream, cheese, beans or any other delicious combos you can come up with, then serve it all up with a spoon and everyone has there own little guacamole cup to enjoy.

These make for a delicious and easy appetizer to serve before a meal like carnitas.

5. Grilled zucchini with ricotta

Grilling your side dish is a simple and tasty way to get your veggies. Sturdy veggies like zucchini, asparagus and eggplant are always winners on the grill. Sliced 1/2 inch thick, brushed with olive oil and sprinkled with salt, they're tender and flavorful after just a few minutes on the grill. I love to platter them with dollops on fresh ricotta and fresh herbs. Healthy and delicious.

6. Grilled oysters

If you're a fan of raw oysters and you haven't had them on the grill, you're missing out! There are dozens of great recipes available online, so find one with ingredients you love and get grilling.

7. Grilled meatloaf

If your family loves meatloaf, they're bound to fall for this summertime variation. Just mix your meatloaf ingredients as you normally would, but form a flattened loaf. You may also want to make it into two loaves so they're easier to turn on the grill. You'll get your typical, delicious loaf, but with a beautiful char on the outside.

8. Grilled kale

You've probably had a salad made with grilled romaine, but what about grilled kale? It wilts and chars on the grill, making a lovely base for your homemade citronette dressing and some crunchy additions like toasted pine nuts, which you can also make on the grill.

9. Grilled chocolate cake

Please don’t forget about dessert! You don’t need to turn on the oven for some delicious cake. Buy your favorite chocolate pound cake or brownies and throw them on the grill just before serving. It not only warms them up, waking up that deep, rich chocolate flavor, but it adds that smoky char quality that will complement your grilled dinner. 

Make it a la mode and watch the ice cream ooze all over that warm, chocolatey goodness. Some grilled strawberries will take your al fresco dessert to the next level!

Anna Gass