It’s officially SUMMER, y’all. Bring on the sunshine, blow-up pools and backyard dinners.
It’s no secret that summer is my favorite season of all. The warmth, the bursting gardens, the lake and beach days, the patio hangs, the FOOD. It’s all so simple feeling, and just plain GOOD. Like, uplifting for the mind, heart, body. There are sweet things about the other seasons too, but summer is just bliss for my soul.
And when it comes to summer, I don’t mess around with meals. We’re eating (and cooking) outside as much as possible. We love it just as much as my kids do. There’s something so carefree about sharing a meal in patio chairs or on a picnic blanket as the sun starts to dip lower in the sky. Less mess, less cleanup and less stress.. leaving room for way more actual enjoyment.
And we’re about keeping things extra simple around here– especially so in the summer when we want to spend more time being together. Seasonal ingredients and colorful veggies– many from our own garden if possible– thrown on the grill is my summer mealtime staple. Easy, fresh and minimal is the name of the grill game.
And you guys, if you’re not a big “griller” or haven’t given it a shot, DO IT. Try it. It is so easy, and so fast, and creates the best flavor ever, for ALL foods (mmm, lightly charred peaches and zucchini and corn, anyone??).
But if you’re not sure where to start with grilling, or are looking for some new ideas, let me share some of our very own go-to summer grilling recipes that are super straightforward, family friendly, healthy & delish. Dig in, friend!
My favorite summer grilling recipes:
01. Maple-Hot Sauce Grilled Chicken with Grilled Peaches
Makes approximately 4 chicken breasts
Notes: This marinade works great for steak, shrimp and fish too! If peaches are not in season, use whatever fruit is, like apples, pears, plums, or berries, or veggies of your choice instead.
4 organic chicken breasts
2 peaches, semi-firm, sliced in half
For the Maple-Hot Sauce
4 tablespoons maple syrup
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon hot sauce (or more if you like it spicy)
½ teaspoon sea salt and pepper
Mix marinade ingredients together first, then place chicken and peaches in a shallow glass baking dish or plastic bag, and pour the marinade over the top for up to 24 hours before grilling, pan frying on the stove or baking at 375°F until cooked through, approximately 10-15 minutes.
02. Grilled Kale or Romaine Caesar Salad
Makes approximately 4 servings
Notes: You can make this salad as a traditional Caesar salad with romaine lettuce or kale, and even try it grilled for an extra special touch and boost of flavor. Optional to serve with grilled chicken, steak, or wild prawns for an entrée style salad.
2 hearts romaine lettuce, cut in half lengthwise or 2 bunches Italian/Lacinato kale, bottom stems removed
Rub each flat side of the romaine lettuce with some olive oil (or lightly rub each leaf of the kale). Preheat the grill to medium-high, and place lettuce with the inner core facing down for a few minutes, until you get some good grill marks. Remove from heat and drizzle dressing over the top to serve. Sprinkle with black pepper, grated parmesan cheese, and red pepper flakes to serve.
03. Molasses Ginger Salmon
Makes approximately 2 servings
Notes: Fun fact: blackstrap molasses has great health enzymes and minerals that you can’t get anywhere else. Make good use of its smoky flavor with this amazing marinade for grilled or roasted fish. Just be sure to remove the fish from the heat 1-2 minutes before it looks done, as it will continue cooking when you take it out. If you don’t like fish, try this same sauce combination over rice, quinoa or vegetables.
1 12 ounce wild salmon filet
4 tablespoons fresh ginger, grated or finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons unrefined sesame oil
2 tablespoons unrefined blackstrap molasses
1 teaspoon chili powder
sea salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350°F, or preheat a grill to medium heat. In a bowl, mix together sesame oil, chili powder, sea salt, pepper and garlic. Add molasses and chopped ginger, and whisk ingredients together, melting the molasses if necessary. Rinse the salmon, pat dry with a paper towel and place on parchment lined baking sheet. Pour the molasses-ginger marinade over the fish. Cook on the grill at a medium temperature about 8-10 minutes, or until the thicker part of the fish is almost opaque. Broil for 1-2 minutes at the end to caramelize the natural sugars. Remove from the oven and let sit covered, for 2-3 minutes before serving.
04. Apple Onion Turkey Burgers
Makes 4 servings
Notes: For the best flavor, get a mix of dark and white ground meat.
1 lb organic ground turkey
2 green onions finely chopped
1 green apple finely chopped
1 handful mint chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
generous sprinkle of sea salt and pepper
In a medium mixing bowl, combine all ingredients and stir well to combine. Form mixture into patties- small or large, depending on your preference and grill or pan-fry over medium-high heat until done to your liking, approximately 4-5 minutes per side. Serve in lettuce wraps, over salads or on bakery-made buns/sprouted grain/gluten free bread with all the fixings!
05. Grilled Fish, Sausage & Shrimp in Packets
Makes approximately 2 servings
Notes: You’ll love this easy clean up method! Perfect for the oven or grill, and the packets can be prepped ahead of time for a picnic, camping or BBQ. Feel free to use a jarred olive tapenade or pesto too.
2 small pieces of wild white fish of your choice
2 small handfuls of wild shrimp shells removed
2 organic sausages sliced into rounds
2 servings of Olive Tapenade
2 large sheets of foil or parchment paper
sea salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 425. Place 2 sheets of foil (approximately 12 inches long) on the counter and place fish filets on the far side of each sheet. Drizzle each piece of fish with olive oil and spread the tapenade on top. Add shrimp and sausage pieces around it and drizzle with olive oil. Fold the foil over and crimp on all sides. Bake for 14-16 minutes, or grill for 8-10 minutes. Snip an “X” on top of each packet to serve (or store for tomorrow).
06. Lemony Greek Grilled Chicken
Notes: this is such a easy and quick marinade for chicken, but the same sauce would also work great as a dip or as a salad dressing. I love marinading the chicken for a few hours in this, if it’s possible. Add some extra olive oil if you plan on grilling it on a grill, otherwise it can stick. Great paired with a green salad, roasted or grilled veggies, and rice or potatoes.
1 cup greek yogurt or unsweetened coconut milk yogurt to make it dairy-free
1 tbsp olive oil plus and extra 1-2 TB if you are grilling this chicken on the grill
1 tbsp lemon zest or 1 large lemon, zested
2 tbsp fresh dill, mint or oregano finely chopped
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp each sea salt and pepper
6-8thin cut chicken breasts
Add all marinade ingredients together in a bowl and whisk well. Add chicken to a covered container or a plastic ziploc bag and pour marinade over the top. If you’d like, reserve 1-2 tablespoons of the marinade on the side to use as a garnish on top. Let sit for at least 30 minutes (and up to 2 days in the fridge). When ready to cook, preheat grill to medium high heat and grill 5-6 minutes per side, or until cooked through (depending on the thickness). Slice chicken, top with extra sauce or chopped herbs to serve.
07. Golden BBQ Chicken & Slaw
Makes 4 servings
For the Golden BBQ Sauce
3/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup maple syrup
3/ 4 cup whole milk yogurt (or coconut milk yogurt)
3 tbsp hot sauce
1/2 lemon, juiced
2 tsp pepper
2 tsp sea salt
For the Slaw
3 cups shredded cabbage(or 1 bag pre-shredded cabbage mix, like from Trader Joe’s)
2 medium radishes, thinly sliced
2 small seedless cucumbers, thinly sliced
1 small avocado, cubed (add right before serving)
For the Golden BBQ Chicken
1–2lbs organic chicken breasts(I prefer thin cut to speed up cooking time)
Make the sauce by blending all ingredients together. Pour into a glass storage jar or container with a lid. Marinate chicken breasts in a freezer bag or glass baking dish, covering to coat. Let marinate for 15 mins min, or up to 2 days if sealed in the fridge. Grill as usual on medium-high heat, flipping the chicken when it stops sticking on the grill. Assemble slaw right before eating, and pour dressing on top.
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