The start of summer kicks off some of everyone’s favorite warm-weather activities: beach lounging, rooftop bars, poolside cocktails and outdoor barbecues. While this summer in particular might be synonymous with ‘unbearable heat wave,’ the fact that we love to pair our summer cocktails and cool beverages with grilled food of every kind remains true.
There’s something about the char of a freshly-grilled bite that just screams summer.
And because we’ve still got two months of it left, we thought we’d share some of our favorite, easy grilled recipes. (Don’t worry – it’s not your basic burgers, or hot dogs. We’re thinking outside the box here, and raising the bar for everyone’s summer barbeque menu).
Deconstructed Grilled Chicken Caesar “Salad”
This one’s for all of you who convince yourselves you need “something green” on your plate (probably after 2 burgers and 3 hot dogs). It’s okay; so do we.
This grilled take on a Caesar salad is – quite frankly – barely a salad, but it’s definitely delicious. It’s as simple as taking the main components of your chicken Caesar salad, and hitting them with some char for an extra kick and a change of texture.
It’s easy: grill your lettuce and chicken, place them side by side on a plate, sprinkle generously with parmesan and drizzle with Caesar dressing. Alternatively, serve your dressing on the side as a dipping sauce. For a more filling option, add some slices of your favorite bread to the grill (with some olive oil, salt, and garlic or garlic powder for extra flavor) to take the place of the standard Caesar salad ‘croutons’.
Get a similar recipe here.
Mini Pineapple Pizzas
We know what you’re thinking – and we know how much the world is passionately divided on the pineapple on pizza debate. But, if you’re firmly anti-pineapple based on principle alone, we’d urge you to at least give it a try. The saltiness and richness of pizza toppings plays well with the sweetness of the pineapple, and cuts a lot of the denseness of pizza as a whole.
If you already love pineapple on pizza, I offer my sincerest congratulations on your great taste in flavor combinations. This next recipe will be perfect for you.
Disclaimer: if you still insist on cutting the pineapple out of this recipe, you can simply take a piece of pita or naan bread and use it as your pizza crust, slather with tomato sauce and add cheese and your toppings of choice. Toss it on the grill until your bread is charred and your toppings have melted. Voila!
If you want the more adventurous, and less carb-heavy version, read on. Hint: pineapple rings will replace your usual pizza crust. The best thing about these (besides everything)? They’re small, and much more guilt free than any other pizza, so you won’t be left poolside mid-food coma.
Have 2, or 3, or 5. You need your daily servings of fruit and vegetables after all. Here’s a recipe you might like.
Grilled Eggplant Planks
This one goes out to you veggie-lovers out there. It’s an ode to one of my personal favorite vegetables: the eggplant.
Unfortunately, eggplant gets a bad rep because too many people don’t know how to maximize its flavor. You often end up with a mushy, flavorless mess, or the skin is too tough and ruins the whole culinary experience. Here’s a hint: seasoning your eggplant is key.
The recipe here is easy as can be: grill your eggplant. That’s it.
But, the seasonings are up to you: go Mediterranean with some oregano, Italian with some garlic powder, or give it some kick with paprika or cayenne. Pair it with your favorite dipping sauce (marinara, tzatziki, or creamy lemon garlic dressing; make it your own!) for a richer flavor combo.
Did that eggplant and lemon garlic dressing combo pique your interest? Here’s the recipe.