4 Meals On The Grill: From Salad To Dessert

by Stephanie Skinner-Lucas, MS, RD, LDN

Last Updated: August 3, 2021

It’s grilling time. The second most wonderful time of the year - at least for me! It’s when the whole neighborhood smells what is cooking in your backyard. Little do they know that you have an all-star grill line up with powerful proteins, vibrant vegetables, and a few more irresistibly flavorful surprises.

Get ready to expand your grilling library with these unique recipes showcasing foods you may not associate with the grill!
  1. Grilled Romaine Lettuce
    First up, a crunchy, nutritious salad putting romaine lettuce in the spotlight. Romaine lettuce has insoluble fiber, which aids in gut health. It is also a way to hydrate your body since it is almost 95% water. Grill marks and a smoky flavor will make this a new family favorite take on salad. Get creative and add protein, fruits, vegetables, and grains with a drizzle of your favorite dressing. Incorporating multiple food groups is easy with this salad. It could also easily be made into a meal!

    How to Make Grilled Romaine Lettuce
    1. Get a head of romaine lettuce. Remove the outer layer of leaves.
    2. Use a knife to shave off the very bottom of the solid browned base. Then slice the romaine down the middle longways so that the leaves stay connected to the base.
    3. Rinse the lettuce and dry it thoroughly.
    4. Drizzle the romaine hearts with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
    5. Place the sliced romaine cut-side down on a pre-heated grill and cook over medium-high heat until the leaves are slightly wilted and charred (about 5 minutes).
    6. Remove with tongs to a serving platter and squeeze fresh lemon juice over the top. Add whatever other dressing and/or topping you like. You can also keep it simple with a squeeze of lemon or a drizzle of balsamic vinegar.

    For additional grilled salad options, check out these recipes:
  2. Grilled Pizza
    Want to pep up your pizza and not sure how? Try making your next pizza on the grill! Picture a crust that is crispy and chewy with a wonderful smoky flavor. Normally the ingredients make the pizza. However, in this role reversal, the ingredients take a back seat to the crust! Then personalize it with amazing colorful and delicious toppings.

    How to Grill Pizza Perfectly
    1. Start with your favorite pizza dough. One pound will make 2-4 pizzas. Bring the dough to room temperature. Follow directions or recipe.
    2. Pizzas are grilled over direct heat, so do not overload the dough. Choose thin, quick-cooking toppings or pre-cooked items. Once the dough hits the grill, things start moving pretty fast. Shred or cut any cheese, open jars of sauce, chop veggies, meats, and herbs before beginning.
    3. Always start with a clean grill. Using tongs, dip a folded paper towel in olive oil and rub on the grate. Do not use too much-- dipping oil can cause flare-ups and excessive smoke.
    4. Make two cooking zones: For a gas grill, turn the burners on one side to high and the other side to low. For charcoal, push the hot coals to cover one-half of the grill. This allows you to grill the pizza dough over direct heat quickly, then transfer it to the cooler area for topping and finishing.
    5. Close the lid and preheat for 15 minutes. This will burn off the oil and make the grill very hot, about 500 degrees F. For a charcoal grill, keep lid vents open for air circulation.
    6. While the grill preheats, roll out a piece of pizza dough to a thickness of about a 1/2 inch. Lightly brush the top side of the dough round with olive oil.
    7. Place the dough round, oiled-side down, on the hot zone of the grill. Cook for about one minute, rotating as necessary with a spatula or pizza peel for even cooking.
    8. Do not panic if the crust appears to stick. Give it a few seconds more; it will naturally release when ready. If it is darkening too quickly, move it to a cooler spot. When ready, flip the pizza crust onto the cooler side of the grill.
    9. Brush pizza crust with olive oil and spread on pizza sauce--top with cheese, followed by the remaining ingredients. Do not overload it, or the toppings will not have a chance to heat through before the crust overcooks.
    10. Cover the grill with the lid vents open over the cooler side and cook for five minutes. This pulls the hot air over from the hot zone, creating a convection oven effect.
    11. Open the grill and transfer the pizza back to the hot zone for one minute. When the crust is browned on the bottom, and the toppings are hot, it is ready!
    12. Transfer pizza to a cutting board. Sprinkle with herbs and parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.

    For additional grilled pizza options, check out these recipes:
  3. Grilled Avocado
    Are you ready to venture out on your creative ledge a bit further? These days, avocados seem to be the rage. They are nutrient-dense and known for their healthy fat content. Avocados contain a wide variety of nutrients, including 20 different vitamins and minerals. You may have heard of avocado toast, but have you tried them on the grill yet? If not, here is your chance. You can use any size avocado for grilling. Pair your grilled avocado with other grilled foods such as meats, fruits, and vegetables.

    How to Grill Avocado Slices and Halves
    1. Cut washed avocado in half, peel, seed, and slice (FOR SLICES) and cut in half and remove the seed (FOR HALVES).
    2. Drizzle the flesh with fresh lime or lemon juice and brush lightly with olive oil.
    3. Gently place slices on a grill-you can do this over a gas grill or in your kitchen on a grill pan on medium-high heat (FOR SLICES) and place cut side down on your preferred grill and cook for two minutes or until you get grill marks (FOR HALVES).
    4. Grill slices on each side for 2-3 minutes until you get beautiful grill marks (FOR SLICES) and turn avocado 90 degrees to get cross grill marks and let it cook for two more minutes and remove (FOR HALVES).
    5. Season with salt to taste.

    For additional grilled avocado options, check out these recipes:
  4. Gratifying Grilled Desserts
    Time to finish the meal with a fantastic ending: grilled dessert! Grilling is a way to awaken the appearance and taste of the sweet course. You can choose to grill a variety of flavorful fruits or, for a bigger sweet presence, more indulgent desserts. Remember, all foods can fit into a healthful diet-- moderation is key! Whichever option you choose, be sure to enjoy the experience.

    How to Make Grilled Romaine Lettuce

    For delicious grilled dessert options, check out these recipes:

Looking for more ways to get creative with the grill? Connect with one of our registered dietitians in a 1:1 telenutrition visit here.

Disclaimer: This information is educational only and not providing healthcare recommendations. Please see a healthcare provider.

Stephanie Skinner-Lucas, MS, RD, LDN

Stephanie Skinner-Lucas, MS, RD, LDN

Stephanie is a proactive dietitian who believes healthy lifestyle changes are made one habit at a time. Small intentional steps early in life can lead to long-term victories for the rest of your life. With a background from geriatric nutrition to meal planning, renal disease to weight management, Stephanie has had the opportunity to serve many populations. She believes success is achieved by listening, mentoring and partnering with each individual to find what they need to live their healthiest life. Stephanie loves preparing meals with spice, crunch & texture that awakens the palate! In her free time, she enjoys helping others, walking for charity and improving her golf swing.