If it's a barbecue you're after, there's nothing better than cooking up a feast on the grill. Practically anything can cook over 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.
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. This recipe uses the irresistible combo of asparagus and ricotta, but you can use grilled dough as the base for any pizza, salad, or open-face sandwich you want.
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, coat with this awesome paprika butter mixture, and place on a high-heat grill for two to three minutes—they’re ready when the shells pop open!
Put a twist on normal vegetable kebabs by adding lemon quarters on the skewer. This recipe uses chicken, asparagus, lemon, and onion, but the 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.
These lamb meatballs may look fancy, but they only take six to eight minutes to cook on the grill! You'll roll them into tiny balls and pop them on skewers. The salsa verde is a nice twist on traditional red sauce and gives the dish a zesty kick.
Vegetarians rejoice: Veggie burgers aren’t the only hearty meal to enjoy on the grill. Try cutting tofu into 1/2-inch thick slices and soaking in this awesome homemade curry-flavored 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.
Nothing says summer like a bucket of oysters. For some awesome flavor, make this easy garlic butter sauce and place the oysters 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.
Skip the pan and take the tortillas outside. Prepare this loaded veggie filling, then light up the grill. This recipe also includes homemade kale pesto between layers of veggies and cheese for the ultimate savory treat. If you're a pescetarian, we think this would taste pretty awesome with some grilled shrimp too.
Side Dishes and Add Ons
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. This version tops the grilled avo-goodness with some herbs and tomatoes for an extra-summery flavor.
Use this DIY method to have real flame-roasted peppers that are perfect in any main dish or as a side. We love this Greek-inspired version that tops the peppers with a homemade minty tzatziki sauce. These also taste awesome on larger meat and veggie skewers.
Cooking bacon can be one greasy mess when cooked indoors, so try grilling it instead. The bacon won't sit in its own fat, so it’ll be a healthier option without the extra cleanup. 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.
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. This version tops it off with an easy homemade Caesar dressing, but feel free to use whatever you have on hand or make your own!
For a healthier and tastier version of a burger’s best friend, try roasting sweet potato slices on the grill. Cut the potatoes into wedges, toss with olive oil and the awesome cilantro-lime dressing, and grill for about 10 minutes.
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, season with olive oil, and top with some irresistible feta. Cook for about five or six minutes, depending if you want them soft or with a little crunch!
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 hot dogs went.
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 grilling—about four to five minutes on each side. Take off the heat, squeeze on some lemon juice, and enjoy!
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. If you have an Asian food market near you, using Japanese short-grain rice works best.
Summer is all about peaches, and now you can enjoy them on the grill too! This recipe just takes a few minutes to make and tastes awesome with a big scoop of ice cream on the side. Grilled peaches à la mode, anyone?
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.
Place a sheet of aluminum foil full of berries and granola on the grill for a warm and crunchy treat. Serve immediately over grilled ice cream or Greek yogurt.
Breakfast is the perfect time to fire up the grill. This recipe adds a full tablespoon of vanilla extract to the traditional French toast recipe for an added flavor boost. If your grill is big enough, you can knock out all 12 slices at once.
To forgo sloppy, juicy watermelon slices that can ruin pretty much any summer outfit, try throwing them on the grill. This funky recipe uses a spicy lime-chili sauce, but you can also sprinkle grilled watermelon with salt and a squeeze of citrus for a simpler dish. Add a dollop of Greek yogurt or coconut whipped cream for some extra sweetness!
Originally published May 2013. Updated June 2016 and May 2017.