Barbecue season is at its peak and, naturally, hot dogs, burgers and grilled veggies are on the menu. But if those are all you’re grilling this summer, you’re missing out. Mix it up at your next cookout with these highly unusual but extremely delicious barbecue treats.
For a warm spin on a summer classic, cut a head of tightly packed romaine lettuce into four wedges, brush the edges with oil and grill for about 2 minutes on medium-high heat or until the lettuce bears grill marks. Drizzle with dressing, top with bacon and fresh Parmesan cheese and serve warm.
Grilled nachos are made for outdoor gatherings. Poke a few holes in an aluminum pan and fill it with nacho chips layered with your favorite toppings. (We recommend pepper jack cheese, jalapeño, diced tomatoes and ground beef or turkey.) Grill on medium-high heat until the cheese melts and serve with salsa and sour cream.
The best Italian pizza is cooked quickly in super-hot ovens or over wood or coals … sounds a lot like a grill, right? Start by stretching pizza dough into a thin crust and place it on an open, oiled grill. Barbecue on a hot grill until lightly charred. Flip it over and quickly add toppings of choice. Then close the lid, lower the heat and grill for 2-3 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the dough is cooked through.
Grilling works magic on firm cheeses like halloumi and queso fresco, which retain their exterior shape and develop warm, gooey interiors. Grill thick slices of these cheeses on medium heat until lightly browned, then flip and repeat on the other side. Add to tacos or alternate with roasted veggies and drizzle with dressing for a delightful, warm summer salad.
Turn boring, store-bought pound cake into a gourmet treat by throwing thick slabs on the grill (on medium-high heat) until they get lightly golden and toasted. Serve warm with ice cream or fruit sauce. Pound cake can also be cubed and threaded with peaches or strawberries on skewers for a unique grilled dessert.
Vegan? You can get your grill on, too!
- Peaches — The combination of two summer classics, peaches and barbecue, are a match made in heaven. Halve peaches and remove their pits, then grill cut-side down on a clean, oiled grate for 1-2 minutes on medium-low heat. Mix with cilantro, lime and diced chilies for a sweet and spicy salsa, or serve warm with your favorite vegan ice cream.
- Avocado — Place halved, pitted avocados flesh-side down on an oiled grill (on high heat) for 5-7 minutes, or until grill marks appear. Scoop the cooked flesh onto veggie burgers or veggie dogs, or use it to make an extra-smoky guacamole.
- Bananas — Slice whole, unpeeled bananas in half lengthwise (the peel helps the bananas hold their shape). Place cut-side down on the grill (on medium-high heat) and cook until lines appear, then flip and grill on the other side for another 2-3 minutes. Top with whipped coconut cream or maple syrup before serving.
Do you grill any unusual ingredients? Inspire us with your selections in the comments below.