Backyard grills beckon as the schoolyear schedule lets up a bit, the weather gets warmer, and the thought of turning on the oven makes you break into a sweat.
Summertime is made for barbecuing. But, to make as many of your summertime meals on the grill as possible, you have to add variety to the usual hamburgers and hotdogs.
Many less expected foods for the grill – fruits, vegetables, seafood – are also more healthful than the top-of-mind meats.
Read on for some surprising ways to expand upon your grilling go-tos this summer.
BBQ Your Breakfast
Transform brunch from a hectic outing into a relaxed backyard meal by firing up the grill on a Saturday or Sunday morning.
According to the Hearth, Patio, and Barbecue Association, just 11 percent of grill owners have reported using their grills or smokers for breakfast, but it makes a lot of sense. Breakfast or brunch is often the one meal that you can catch family and friends with busy schedules.
And, in the heat of the summer, grilling early in the day allows you to enjoy cooler temps. The following brunch favorites can be grilled:
- Grilled breakfast pizza
- Grilled fruit topped with yogurt and granola
- Grilled French toast with fresh fruit
- Grilled eggs in a muffin tin
- Grilled bagels with smoked salmon and cream cheese
Nothing says summer more than salads, except salads on the barbecue.
The key is to grill just one or two components of the salad to strike a balance between the smokiness of the barbecue and the bright flavors of un-grilled ingredients.
For example, grill fingerling potatoes mixed with fresh green beans, olives, and canned tuna and drizzle with lemon vinaigrette. Canned or pouch seafood couldn’t be a more convenient protein. And, as an added bonus, this dish gets you halfway to the two servings of seafood per week the most recent Dietary Guidelines recommend to boost your heart and brain health.
Below are some other BBQ salad combinations to try:
- Grilled corn and shrimp with tomatoes and avocados
- Grilled romaine with blue cheese
- Grilled haloumi cheese and eggplant with tomatoes and basil
- Grilled zucchini ribbons with Parmesan cheese and pine nuts
The goal of summertime is to keep the oven off completely. So, stay right by the grill for dessert too. When grilled, sugary ingredients develop a rich, caramelized flavor that pairs well with cool and creamy toppings.
Try the following twists on summery desserts:
- Grilled banana splits
- Grilled pound cake with fresh fruit and whipped cream
- Grilled pineapple slices with sorbet
- Grilled skillet berry cobbler with vanilla ice cream
- Grilled strawberry shortcake skewers