Photo credit: My Kitchen Escapades/Half Baked Harvest
There’s just something about cooking on the grill and eating outside that makes dinner special. We’re all familiar with grilling chicken, steak, fish, vegetables — nothing out of the ordinary there. Sometimes, we all just need something different. How about grilled watermelon? Doughnuts? BBQ blueberry cobbler, anyone? Why not? Surprise your dinner companions with these 10 dishes you never knew you could cook on the grill!
1. Grilled strawberry cheesecake sandwich
Appetizers on the grill? Check. Dinner on the grill? Check. How ’bout dessert? Yes, dessert cooked on the grill. Strawberry cheesecake sandwiches, to be exact. In fact, these little pieces of heaven might just be too good to wait for dessert, so you might want to make them as a breakfast treat or for a special lunch.
Pick the reddest, plumpest, juiciest strawberries you can get your hands on for this. (If fresh strawberries aren’t available, frozen will do quite well.) While you’re in your store’s frozen section, don’t forget the poundcake. Circle around to the dairy aisle, grab the cream cheese, and you’re ready to get home and begin creating.
Until you’ve had cream cheese-filled pound cake warmed on a grill and topped with strawberries, you’ve been deprived. So quick and easy to make, these sandwiches are great for a special dinner, a birthday party or just an ordinary summer day.
2. Grilled watermelon
Watermelon is the quintessential summer food. On warm days, it’s cool, refreshing and delicious. How do you improve on that? Make grilled watermelon!
All you need for this tasty, unique summertime treat is one big, juicy watermelon, and the prep couldn’t get much easier. Slice the watermelon into thick, 1-1/2 inch pieces, sprinkle with salt and let sit for half a hour.
If you haven’t tried adding a pinch of salt to your fruit (especially melons), you’re in for a treat. Salt enhances sweetness and reduces bitterness in any food. (Try adding a pinch to any sugar-free beverage to see what we mean.) Likewise, adding salt to unripened or not-quite-sweet fruit can save it from ending up in the trash can.
Brush the watermelon pieces lightly with olive oil, spear them with a wooden skewer, grill for up to 5 minutes, add a bit more salt and pepper, and enjoy. Skewering them makes it easy for everyone to just grab and eat — no utensils needed.
3. Grilled Caesar salad
Salad: For some, it’s the part of the meal we look forward to. For others, it’s just something to munch through on the way to the main course. This grilled Caesar salad will bring both sides together in recognizing the pure joy that is a delicious salad.
So, the obvious question is: Why in the world would anyone put lettuce on a grill? Let’s begin with the lettuce. Romaine lettuce, by itself, is great in a salad or added to a sandwich, but nothing to write home about. Grill it with a little olive oil, salt and pepper, though, and it goes way beyond the usual. As with so many vegetables, the char that comes with grilling elevates the lettuce to a new level. You’ve never tasted romaine lettuce like this before.
Now, let’s talk about the dressing. Garlic, anchovy, mustard, balsamic vinegar, lemon, olive oil, Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper and Parmigiano-Reggiano come together to create the definitive Caesar salad dressing — only better than you’ve ever tasted. Bonus: You can make this long before you need it. The pièce de résistance is the skewered French baguette and mozzarella on the side. These take a bit more time, but they’re definitely worth the effort.
4. Grilled espresso-glazed coconut doughnuts with coconut ganache
You start out with a basic doughnut, nothing terribly special. Sugar, coffee and coconut come together for the glaze. But then the doughnuts get grilled, and things go from blah to wow in a hurry. Dip them in a sauce of espresso, chocolate, coconut milk and vanilla, and just savor.
No more waiting outside a doughnut shop for doughnuts fresh off the line. Instead, you just might end up with neighbors following the scent to your backyard. So, trust us: Make extra.
5. Bacon-wrapped mozzarella sticks
With “bacon” in the name, how bad could bacon-wrapped mozzarella sticks be? (Well, except for the mess that cooking bacon typically creates.) And, for just this moment in time, you are not going to worry about nutritional value — this is only an occasional indulgence. Taking it to the grill solves the first problem, and an extra workout this week solves the second.
The only preparation needed for these delectable morsels is to wrap the bacon around the cheese sticks, then to secure it with toothpicks. Next, just toss these babies onto the grill until cooked to crispy, melty perfection. Tip: Soak the toothpicks in water before putting them on the grill so they won’t be as likely to burn.
Just like with other especially tasty things, no one will be able to eat just one — so do buy extra bacon and cheese.
Want more? Check out these other fun and unique grilled dishes!