It’s time to put away the slow cookers and Instant Pots and dust off your grill. Warm weather’s here, and with it comes all things grilled, barbecued and full of fiery flavor. The season of charcoal celebrations is upon us, with Israel’s Independence Day, Lag b’Omer (begins on the evening of May 2 this year), Memorial Day and then July 4th. From Israel to America, everyone is getting into the grilling spirit and cranking up the AC and their grills!
While you can keep your parties classic with hamburgers and Hebrew National hot dogs, the grill is a magical kitchen appliance that adds flavor to just about anything you put on it. During the winter, one of the best things to do is roast up a tray of root vegetables like sweet potatoes, carrots and butternut squash. In the summer, you can do the same sort of thing with the grill.
Instead of boiling your cabbage or turning it into slaw, throw it on the grill for an hour and unwrap it to find a surprise that even cabbage haters will get excited about. Malfuf, or grilled cabbage, is a Middle Eastern dish that uses the grill to add flavor and flair to an often-detested vegetable. Another way to use the grill to let the season’s best produce shine is with salads. Make this Grilled Caesar Salad with Pomegranate and Avocado to impress all your guests, even the meat-eaters (omit the cheese for a meat meal)! With only a few minutes on the grill, lettuce gets transformed as a boring base of a salad into its star component.
If you want some chicken to top off that salad, try out these Grilled Chicken Tikka Kebabs. The trick to avoiding overdone, dry grilled chicken is to let it marinate in a dairy-free yogurt spice coating that helps tenderize the meat and infuse it with lots of flavor. While you’re on the kebab kick, throw some Persian luleh kebabs on the grill as well. Not your traditional burger, this beef and lamb mixture gets a combined with grated onion and sumac to balance out the sweet grilled meat.
Grilled food goes best with something cool and refreshing, besides a nice cold beer or lemonade. Late spring and summer mark the return of fresh tomatoes. With varieties in all shapes and sizes, tomatoes make a show-stopping dish that pairs perfectly with your grilled meats and veggies. Grab a variety of tomatoes and some fresh herbs to make this Perfect Summer Tomato Plate (leave off the cheese to keep it dairy-free). It’s such a simple dish, but usually the first one to go at any gathering!
No meal is complete without a sweet treat, especially one that’s a celebration. Beat the heat with a Picolé de Milho Verde (Corn Popsicle). A corn dessert may sound crazy, but what’s summer without sweet corn? Roasted—or even grilled—the sweet corn gets even sweeter and blends up into a vegan frozen treat that will have you eating, and loving, vegetables for dessert.
Step up your grilling game this summer, and challenge yourself to use the grill instead of the microwave or oven. With only a few months of the year warm enough to eat outside, the grill is the perfect place to gather around with friends and family for a quick and delicious meal. From breakfast toast to late-night s’mores, the grill can be your guide for a whole day’s worth of eats. Get your grill tools ready, because grilling season is finally here!