It’s a great feeling when the days start to warm up and you can have a meal outdoors by the grill. But rather than stick to the same old burgers and hot dogs with a side of corn on the cob, you can make your summer barbecue more exciting by including a few creative grilling ideas on the menu. There are plenty of delicious foods that can be made even better by cooking them on the grill. Here are six food ideas for the grill you should try at your next barbecue—and don’t forget to grab the right tools.
Whether you’re cooking for vegetarians or are just looking for new grilling ideas, tofu makes a great addition to your meal. Tofu can be sliced and grilled like a steak or it can be cooked on grilling skewers, either by itself or with vegetables such as mushrooms or peppers. For the most flavor, it’s best to marinate it in something like soy sauce or oil with spices first. Grill for about eight to ten minutes on each side, until tofu starts to firm up and brown with grill marks.
We’re so used to grilling meats and veggies that fruits can get completely overlooked. There are many fruits that can go on the grill, but watermelon tends to be a crowd favorite. To grill, cut the watermelon into triangles with the rinds attached. Season the melon with salt and spices (try red pepper flakes or cumin), and place on the grill. Cook on high heat for about one minute on each side, until the watermelon begins to char. Another option is using a melon baller and making watermelon kebabs. After you’re done grilling, you can sprinkle the watermelon with herbs like mint or cilantro, and you can even chop it up and place it into a salad.
Say hello to your new favorite way to enjoy avocado: grilled to perfection. Yes, even avocados can be cooked on the barbecue. Just cut your avocado in half, season with a little olive oil and salt, and place on the grill for about two or three minutes on each side, until slightly charred. This adds a nice smoky flavor to the green fruit, and you can even fill the hole left by the pits with salsa or cheese.
Take your salad to the next level by grilling up romaine. Whether you’re making a classic Caesar or drizzling on your favorite homemade dressing, putting romaine on the grill gives the lettuce a sweeter flavor and a slightly crispy texture. Simply slice the lettuce in half, brush with oil, and season with salt and pepper before grilling. Grill for about three minutes on each side, until the romaine just begins to char. Salads have never tasted better.
Some of the best grill ideas involve the foods you would least expect. Grilled oranges might take the cake for the most unexpected, but they sure are tasty—and they make a great dessert at the end of your meal. You can cut them in half—peel on or off—and place them directly on the grill for one minute, or you can cut them up and grill them on a skewer with other fruit. To bring out their sweet flavor, you can brush them with vanilla and cinnamon, and you can go the extra mile by topping them off with Greek yogurt or a scoop of ice cream. You can also try a grilled lemon.
Grilled Halloumi Cheese
Cheese lovers, this idea is for you. Because halloumi cheese is firm and has a high melting point, it doesn’t lose its form and melt all over the place when you grill it. The result is a salty, chewy cheese that can be eaten on its own, seasoned with herbs, tossed in a salad, or even placed on a burger or sandwich. Just brush the slices with olive oil and grill for about three minutes on each side, until the halloumi is brown and crispy on the outside and soft and melty on the inside.
Playing around with unique grilling ideas can bring some excitement to the table. And don’t forget: You can get creative by making an assortment of different kabobs on grilling skewers. Plus, try these delicious grilled side dishes, creative grilled fruit ideas, and everything you need to know about grilling.