27 Unexpected Foods to Grill This Summer
There’s nothing better than cooking up a feast on the grill. Practically anything can cook under a flame, yet many unexpected foods are hidden in a hamburger’s shadow. So it’s time to think outside the grill marks! From meatballs to avocados, French toast to banana splits, grilling will never be the same.
1. Pizza. Forget delivery and DiGiorno — pizza is great on the grill! Simply brush olive oil on flattened dough (you can find pre-made pizza dough at most grocery stores) and place it on the grill. Once grill marks appear, take it off the heat and add desired toppings, grilled side up. Place back on the barbeque for two to three minutes, or until the cheese is nice n’ bubbly.
2. Clams. Nobody should shy away from throwing seafood on the grill — especially shellfish. The only prep for grilling clams is cleaning them: Simply place in a bucket of cold water with cornmeal to extract any sand. Dry the shells, brush with olive oil, and place on a high-heat grill for two to three minutes — they’re ready when the shells pop open!
3. Lemon Kebabs. Take a twist on normal vegetable kebabs by adding lemon quarters on the skewer. Vegetable combinations are endless: from peppers to onions, mushrooms, and tomatoes. The grilling softens the sourness of lemons and adds the perfect amount of citrus flavor to the veggies!
4. Meatballs. Place the uncooked formed meatballs on the grill and cook covered for three to four minutes. Open the grill back up, roll them over, and continue cooking for another two to three minutes. After about 15 minutes, the meatballs should be browned on each side and ready to enjoy on a sub, with pasta, or solo!
5. Tofu. Vegetarians rejoice: Veggies burgers aren’t the only hearty meal to enjoy on the grill. Try cutting tofu into ½ inch thick slices and soaking in a favorite marinade. Then, drain the tofu to get rid of excess liquid and pop on the grill. Cook each side for about three or four minutes and serve on a salad or with brown rice.
6. Oysters. Nothing says summer like a bucket of buttery oysters! For some fiery flavor, simply place them on the grill (flat-side up) for five minutes, or until the shells open up. Make sure the meat inside is hot — a sure sign it’s time to dig in.
7. Quesadilla. Skip the pan and take the tortillas outside! Prepare the filing, then light up the grill. Brush the tortilla with olive oil and place on the heat, oiled side down. Top with cheese and fillings (chicken, beans, etc). Once the cheese starts melting and the bottom is browning, fold one side over with a spatula to seal it up. Remove from the heat and enjoy (with guacamole, of course).
Sides Dishes and Add-Ons
8. Whole Peppers. Use this DIY method to have real flame-roasted peppers that are perfect in any main-dish or as a side. Slice in half and clean out the centers. Brush with olive oil to avoid sticking and place ‘em on the grill skin side down. After about 20 minutes, the skin should be charred. Remove and place in a sealed bowl for 15 minutes so the steam can loosen the skin. Afterwards, simply peel off the blackened skin and enjoy.
9. Bacon. Cooking bacon can be one greasy mess when cooked indoors, so try grilling it instead. The bacon wont sit in its own fat, so it’ll be healthier option without the extra clean-up. For perfect crispy pieces of perfection, cook each slice of bacon for five to six minutes on medium-high heat. Stick on a burger, crumple into a salad, or enjoy straight from the plate — we won’t judge.
10. Romaine. Salad greens are great for us, but let’s be serious: It’s usually what’s on the leaves that sparks the cravings. So to spice (and smoke) things up, try throwing lettuce on the grill! Simply wash and cut a head of lettuce in half and grill for about five minutes on each side, or until grill marks appear. Add veggies, or simply enjoy with a tasty dressing.
11. Avocado. Yep, we went there. Not only should we rub our faces with avocados — we should grill them, too. Just cut the fruit in half (the skin stays on), take out the seed, and coat with olive oil. Place the cut side down on the grates and grill for five to seven minutes. Top with salsa and Greek yogurt, and enjoy with tortilla chips (or a spoon...).
12. Fries. For a healthier and tastier version of a burger’s best friend, try roasting potato slices on the grill. Cut the potatoes into wedges, toss with olive or coconut oil and desired seasonings, and grill for about 10 minutes on each side. For an even healthier version, try using a sweet potato.
13. Zucchini. Summer’s the perfect time to grab fresh zucchini at the farmer’s market. (And c’mon, these are picture perfect.) Simply slice a zucchini into rounds and season with olive oil and spices, like basil or garlic. Cook for about five or six minutes per side, depending if you want them soft or with a little crunch!
14. Bread. Sure, we have to bake bread. But what about grilling it, too? Simply slice a nice, crusty loaf, brush with olive oil, and rub with a garlic clove. Place on the grill until lightly browned — about three minutes per side. Sprinkle with salt and shaved parmesan and nobody will even wonder where the hotdogs went.
15. Hearts of Palm. This white, tube-like, asparagus-like veggie doesn’t often make an appearance on the hot plate, since it’s usually served in cold salads (straight out of the can!). Give it some extra love by drizzling with olive oil and slapping on the grill, turning frequently for about 15 minutes or until nicely browned. Top with cheese or balsamic vinegar — a perfect summer side dish!
16. Mozzarella Cheese. What’s better than cheese? Grilled cheese — without the bread! Take a thick slice of mozzarella cheese and lightly coat in an egg batter and bread crumbs. Grill for a few minutes on each size, or until the cheese starts to slightly melt. Serve with marinara sauce, crackers, or on a turkey burger!
17. Artichokes. Canned artichokes have nothing on the grilled version, which gives them a nice smoky flavor. Boil the artichokes before heading outside, and then slice them in half. Scoop out the few first layers, brush with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt. Turn occasionally while it’s grilling — about four to five minutes on each side. Take off the heat, squeeze on some lemon juice, and enjoy!
18. Rice Balls. Grilled… rice? You heard it right! Simply prepare rice balls, lightly brush with olive oil, and place them on the grill. Cook for about five minutes on each side so they get nice and crunchy.
19. Pineapple. It’s time to bring the tropics to your backyard. Simply slice a pineapple into rounds and grill until brown — about three minutes per side. Feeling extra fancy? Brush the fruit in a honey-citrus marinade before throwing on the grill.
20. Ice Cream. Who said ice cream has to be a frozen treat? Scoop your favorite flavor into two-inch balls and place back in the freezer for two hours. Then, coat them in an egg batter and roll in shredded coconut; repeat three times. Place a metal skewer through the ice cream balls and put back in the freezer ‘till frozen solid. Then it’s grilling time! Cook for one to two minutes on each side or until the coconut is browned. Remove from heat, slide off the skewers, and enjoy with a cherry on top.
21. Berries. Berries may grow on bushes, but they’re perfect on the grill! Create a simple lemon and sugar mixture and add blueberries, raspberries, and any other-berry favorites. Pour the mix in aluminum foil and seal up the sides. Place on the grill over medium heat for about 10 minutes. Serve immediately over grilled ice cream or Greek yogurt!
22. Peaches. Cut the peach in half and rub with butter. Place buttered-side down and close the lid. Grill for about four minutes on each side or until softened and charred. Can you say perfection? We recommend a big scoop of banana ice cream on the side!
23. Pound Cake. Have your cake and…grill it too? Use pound cake from the grocery store or make a healthy version, and slice it up. Brush the cake with melted butter and place on the grill over medium-low heat. Grill for about two minutes per side, and serve with warm grilled berries!
24. French Toast. Breakfast is the perfect time to fire up the grill! Soak cubes of crusty bread in an egg batter, and slide on a skewer. Cook on a covered grill over medium-high heat for roughly two minutes per side. Enjoy with a refreshing glass of iced-coffee.
25. Watermelon. To forgo sloppy, juicy watermelon slices that can ruin pretty much any summer outfit, try throwing them on the grill! Brush with olive oil and grill for three minutes on each side. Sprinkle with salt and squeeze some citrus once it’s ready to serve. Add a dollop of Greek yogurt or coconut whipped cream for some extra sweetness!
26. Grapes. This superfood is awesome when eaten frozen, fresh, or hot off the grill. Take a (literal) bunch and place on a hot grill rack. Cook for four to five minutes, turning occasionally. Serve with a lean pork tenderloin or in a summer salad.
27. Banana Split. We saved the best for last, because this sh!t is bananas. Take a ripe but firm banana and cut lengthwise with the peel still on. Grill cut-side down for 2-3 minutes, then remove from heat. Carefully remove the peel and enjoy with the works: ice cream and berries also straight off the grill, chocolate sauce, and sliced almonds.
What's your favorite thing to grill? Let us know in the comments below or tweet at the author @lschwech
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