Paired with grilled meats, or combined on a meatless menu, these vegetarian-friendly summer grilling recipes can please any crowd.
Grilled Watermelon Pizza
Get creative at your next cookout with this handheld take on watermelon salad. This all-star melon creates the perfect base for the bold flavors that are highlighted in the toppings.
Grilled Corn and Bell Pepper Salad
Get the most out of your grill space by adding a little char to every element of this quick, fresh corn salad. Add all the vegetables at once; remove each as it finishes cooking.
Grilled Caesar Salad with Sourdough Breadcrumbs
Grilling these bright leaves makes for a toasty char you wouldn't expect from a fresh plate of greens. Greek yogurt and sourdough bread lend a natural dose of probiotics to our riff on Caesar salad. Alliums such as garlic offer prebiotic fuel to help the good bugs thrive. Keep the sourdough croutons whole if you don’t want to dirty the food processor, or you can lightly crush them in a ziplock bag.
Grilled Romaine with Feta and Nuoc Cham
Chef Bill Kim uses fresh minced chiles in his bigger batch of nuoc cham in Korean BBQ. This recipe calls for crushed red pepper for convenience, since it's only 1/8 teaspoon in our adaptation.
Grilled Corn Salsa
Don’t be afraid to get some good char all over the corn; that’s where a lot of the flavor comes from. We like the look of red jalapeños here, but you can also use green jalapeños (which taste the same) if they’re easier to find. Try the citrus-spiked salsa as a dip with tortilla chips or a topper for blackened fish, steak, or chicken; or tuck some into fish or shrimp tacos, combine it with black beans for a quesadilla filling, stuff a hefty spoonful into an omelet or frittata, or toss a generous amount with quinoa for a hearty main-dish salad.
Grilled Sweet Potatoes with Fresh Cherry Salsa
The meaty texture of fresh cherries holds up in a salsa that goes well with the charred sweet potatoes.
Grilled Eggplant and Purple Cauliflower Caponata
Purple cauliflower is becoming more widely available at farmers markets; white cauliflower would also be delicious here.
Grill-Steamed Corn with Cilantro and Chile Flakes
Aleppo is a fruity Middle Eastern pepper with moderate heat. Sub 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, if desired.
Hot-Sweet Grilled Watermelon
Texas chef Tim Love likes to use guajillo chile powder here, which provides moderate heat. Cayenne or chipotle powder would also work.
Grilled Pineapple Salsa
Photo: Jennifer Causey Styling: Heather Chadduck Hillegas
Sweet and smoky grilled pineapple combines with peppers and onions for an brightly colored salsa that deserves a spot at your next cookout.
Grilled Bok Choy "Wedge" with Blue Cheese-Buttermilk Dressing
Bok choy adds a funky edge to our riff on a classic steak house salad, with far deeper flavor than lettuce.
Spicy Grilled Mango with Chiles and Crema
Photo: Randy Mayor; Styling: Lindsey Lower
Grilled mango is a charred sweet treat, and here we top the gently charred slices with chiles, cilantro, and tangy Mexican crema. This quick dish is a study in balance: Sweet, spicy, sour, and salty flavors come together harmoniously and for maximum effect. Look for Mexican crema in the supermarket dairy section or in ethnic markets, or substitute crème fraîche.
Grilled Zucchini Caprese Stacks
What a showcase for garden treasures! Rainbow layers of veggies benefit from extra basil tucked in between for more flavor. Grilling brings out earthy tones that are balanced out by the tangy-sweet balsamic glaze.
Grilled Sweet Potato and Bell Pepper Toss
Photo: Jennifer Causey; Styling: Paige Hicks
Cut the red bell peppers from top to bottom into four panels; then simply discard the core. The wide pepper pieces will take on more char and be easier to maneuver on the grill.
Andrew Zimmern's Grilled Corn and Snap Pea Salad
Photo: Christopher Testani
You can assemble this salad the day before you plan to serve it, but toss in dressing just before serving to keep Zimmern's salad as crisp as he intended.
Grilled Green Onions with Lemon and Parmesan
Bright green onions get a facelift when they hit the grill. A simple lemony dressing takes them to next-level freshness. Serve with grilled zucchini planks.
Grilled Tomato, Onion, and Olive Salad
Giving the tomato and red onion a bit of char on the grill transforms this simple salad into a fantastic summer side. The tomatoes become extra juicy as they soften and blister on the grill. The red onions become tender, sweet, and slightly smoky.
Grilled Bean and Cheese Stuffed Poblanos
Grilling the peppers over blazing flames not only saves countless time in the kitchen, but it also results in a blackened, sweet-charred skin. Round out this recipe with creamy-crunchy-tangy Spicy Jicama Slaw on the side.
Grilled and Dilled Corn on the Cob Recipe
This is a riff on elote, Mexican street corn. We love how sweet dill plays on the richly caramelized corn and briny cheese.
Grilled Sweet Potato and Napa Cabbage Salad with Lime Vinaigrette
To save time, you could also cook the pumpkin seeds in a skillet directly on the grill.
Grilled Fig Toast
Who knew toast could be so delicious? Brushed with butter, dipped in sugar, and grilled, the bread (a nice enriched challah) becomes almost brûléed.
Prosciutto-Wrapped Grilled Okra
A sweet-tangy balsamic glaze makes this summertime appetizer irresistible. Using two skewers for the wrapped okra makes it easier to flip on the grill.
Grilled Baby Eggplants with Green Onion Salsa
If you can't find Indian eggplants, as we used here, go for small, slender Japanese eggplants instead.
Marinated Grilled Apples with Mint
Serve these highly flavored apple rings as a side with pork or chicken. (One serving size for this recipe is three apple slices, but you can easily double the number of slices for even larger, guilt-free portions of this healthy dish.) We liked this recipe with Granny Smiths. For a dessert version, use Pink Lady apples, and serve with low-fat ice cream.
Grilled Asparagus Rafts
This recipe is a nice twist on traditional grilled asparagus spears. Skewering groups of asparagus spears together makes them easier to flip on the grill. Sesame seeds lend additional crunch and a sprinkling of color to the dark green spears. The secret for cooking asparagus is simple: don’t overcook it. The slender shoots should turn out crisp and bright in color.
Grilled Stone Fruit Antipasto
Black pepper and vanilla heighten the sweetness of the stone fruit. Make sure to clean the cooking grate thoroughly so that no residue from previously grilled foods ruins the flavor of the fruit.
Tandoori Tofu and Vegetable Kebabs
Golden raisins in the rice pilaf are a sweet balance to the intense spices in the tandoori marinade. Both tofu’s subtle flavor and tender texture merge well with a multitude of Western and Asian seasonings. The variety of flavors in this dish makes it a healthy, instant classic.
Grilled Eggplant with Caramelized Onion and Fennel
To prepare this appetizer indoors, broil the eggplant rounds until browned, and continue the recipe as instructed. White balsamic vinegar offers the sweetness of regular balsamic but won’t discolor the salad. You can use regular balsamic vinegar if white isn’t available.
Lemony Grilled Potato Salad
Grilling the vegetables brings unexpected smokiness to a familiar picnic staple.
Pinto, Black, and Red Bean Salad with Grilled Corn and Avocado
"When I was growing up in Mexico City, my parents would throw wonderful summer barbecues," says Chef Medina (Toloache, Yerba Buena, Coppelia, New York City). "We would grill corn on the cob and mix in leftover beans from the weekend and make a delicious, simple corn and bean salad." This Latin-accented three-bean and corn salad is studded with guacamole components: jalapeño, cilantro, white onion, lime, and avocado.
Grilled Caesar Salad
Grilling lettuce gives it a hint of smokiness and lends the leaves crisp-tender contrast. Toasted garlic bread stands in for croutons.
Grilled Caponata Salad with Grilled Flatbreads
Look for caper berries near the olives in the supermarket; they should be next to the capers, but they're much bigger and have a stem. In a pinch, substitute about a tablespoon of chopped capers. Japanese eggplants have thinner skins than typical globe eggplants, so you can leave the peel on. The light purple color is pretty, too.
Caramelized Fresh Figs with Sweet Cream
Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner
Sometimes the simplest dishes are the best. Caramelize honey-coated figs on the grill to intensify the sweetness and top with crème fraîche.
Rum-Spiked Grilled Pineapple with Toasted Coconut
Perfect for a backyard cookout with friends, just six ingredients make one delicious dessert in less than 10 minutes. Grilling caramelizes the sugars in the fruit for a light treat that is delicious on its own or served with low-fat vanilla ice cream.
Brush plantains (cooking bananas) with a mixture of butter and brown sugar and grill them until they are soft and tender.
Grilled Pineapple-Avocado Salsa
The sweet pineapple pairs expertly with cool avocado. Whether served with tacos, alongside grilled fish, or scooped with a tortilla chip—you won't want to miss this one.
Italian Grilled Zucchini and Red Onion
Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner
This simple side dish is tastiest at room temperature, so it's an ideal make-ahead. Any leftovers would be good the next day for lunch with couscous.
Grilled Corn on the Cob with Roasted Jalapeño Butter
This easy, 5-ingredient grilled corn gets its flavor from jalapeño peppers that are roasted, chopped and stirred into honey butter.
Grilled Peaches with Amaretto-Pecan Caramel Sauce
Caramel is nothing more than melted, browned sugar; we add water to hasten the melting process and reduce the risk of burning the sugar. Purchase freestone peaches so the pits will be easy to remove.
Grilled Stuffed Jalapeños
Photo: Jennifer Causey Styling: Heather Chadduck Hillegas
The rich and creamy combination of bacon, cream cheese, and cheddar nicely contrasts the muted spice of grilled jalapeño peppers. This appetizer recipe is a healthy, fresh alternative to the popular breaded and fried version.
Grilled Apricot Halves
Brush grilled apricots with a mixture of olive oil, honey, and fresh thyme and serve as a simple side dish, over a bed of greens, or even as a topping for grilled pizza.
Cantaloupe and Grilled Fig Salad
Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner
The contrasting flavors of the sweet fruit and tangy lime juice plus the variety of textures in the fruits, nuts, and vegetables create an intriguing and beautiful first course.
Grilled Nectarines and Plums with Vanilla Bean Syrup
Grilling heightens the fruit's sweetness and flavor. Slightly firm fruit will stand up to the heat; if you're using ripe fruit, take it from the grill just a few minutes sooner than directed. Garnish with mint sprigs.
Grilled Mexican Corn with Crema
On the streets of Mexico, people line up at vendor carts to buy giant ears of roasted corn dunked in rich crema Mexicana and sprinkled with chili powder and lime juice. This savory treat provides a festive twist to the basic corn-on-the-cob. Crema Mexicana is a sweet, heavy cream that ranges in flavor from tangy to mildly bland with a slightly stiff to thick consistency. If you have difficulty finding it, use low-fat sour cream as a substitute.
Grilled Eggplant Pita Sandwiches with Yogurt-Garlic Spread
This sandwich is also delicious cold the next day for lunch—to prevent the pita from getting soggy, don't assemble until you're ready to eat. We like thick, tangy Greek-style yogurt in this dish.
Plank-Grilled Zucchini with Couscous, Spinach, and Feta Stuffing
Cedar planks lend this dish a pleasant smokiness. If you don't have planks, cook the zucchini halves directly on the grill. Use zucchini with some heft; if it's too thin, it may get too soft.
Grilled Peaches with Honey Cream
The perfect summer cookout treat, grilling brings out the sweetness in peaches. If you can't find them, feel free to use apricots or nectarines instead of peaches. Garnish with mint to serve.
Grilled Vegetables and Chickpeas with Couscous
Served over couscous, this vegetable-bean combination makes a complete one-dish meal with rich flavors of the Middle East. Add Grilled Onion Raita as a side dish, or serve with hot pepper sauce.