7 New Reasons to Fire Up Your Grill—from Drinks to Dessert!

Get Your Grill On: 7 delicious, allergen-free ways to use your grill, from drinks to dessert!

The days are long and hot, summer produce is at its peak, and it’s almost dinnertime. Forget heating up the oven or throwing a pan on the stove. Get outside and load up the grill with all your favorite fruits and vegetables. Not only is it more fun to grill, it’s a great way to get the whole family outside, and everything tastes better when your bare feet are in the grass.

1. Grilled Lemonade – Give your favorite lemonade recipe a lift with this simple but impressive technique. Before juicing the lemons, cut them in half and grill cut-side-down until charred. Then proceed with the recipe as normal. Charring the lemons not only makes them easier to juice, but it also gives them a caramelized, slightly smoky flavor.

2. Grilled Avocado and Tomato Salsa – Grill one halved and pitted avocado, two medium halved tomatoes, half a red onion, and one jalapeño. If you have a grill basket, you can even throw a couple unpeeled garlic cloves in. Once everything is charred, remove and cool slightly. Dice the avocado, tomato, onion, and jalapeño, and peel and mince the garlic. Toss in a bowl with lime juice and salt to taste, plus a handful of cilantro if desired.

3. Charred Radicchio and Fennel Salad – Quarter a head of radicchio and soak in cold water for 30 minutes. Cut a fennel bulb into wedges. Brush the radicchio and fennel with a little oil and grill until charred. Chop the vegetables, season with salt and lemon juice, sprinkle with toasted pumpkin seeds, and drizzle with your favorite creamy dressing, such as Hilary’s Ranch Chia Dressing. Don’t be tempted to skip the soaking step for the radicchio—it draws out some of the bitterness and makes it extra crisp.

4. Grilled Watermelon Salad – This jewel-toned salad is as delicious as it is lovely. Cut watermelon into 3” squares. Lightly brush with oil and grill until charred. Place the watermelon on a bed of arugula with chopped cucumbers and mint. Drizzle with a balsamic vinaigrette and sprinkle with flaky salt. Believe it or not, grilling makes the watermelon seem even juicier.

5. Ratatouille Stacks – Typically, ratatouille requires a bit of simmering, but this version won’t heat up your kitchen. Lightly oil eggplant, zucchini, and red bell peppers that have been cut into rounds. Season with salt and pepper and grill until softened and browned. Form into stacks on plates, placing basil leaves between the vegetables. Serve topped with a simple tomato sauce and chopped black olives, if desired.

6. Grilled Fruit Compote – Move over, ambrosia! Lightly oil the grill grate. Grill halved and pitted peaches or apricots, pineapple spears, plums, figs, cantaloupe, and/or mango, then chop the fruit and toss with honey or agave, fresh lime juice, and mint leaves. If desired, top with toasted coconut flakes.

7. Grilled Peach Melba – This classic dessert was invented in honor of an Australian soprano named Nellie Melba, so it’s no coincidence that this simple but elegant dessert will have everyone singing your praises. Grill halved peaches until warm and charred. Top with coconut ice cream and a simple raspberry coulis made from pureed raspberries and a pinch of sugar. Garnish with more fresh berries.

Now what a great excuse to spend an entire day outside. Throw on those sandals and get to it!