Eating Right

7 Foods You’d Never Think to Grill

By Caitlin Ultimo

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Hot dogs don’t necessarily make for hot bodies, and when was the last time a grilled onion wowed the crowd? This summer try subbing out the usual fatty proteins and carbs for more swimsuit-friendly options. Take a bite of this unusually good grilling menu, sans buns and burgers.


Crisp and crunchy, this refreshing veggie can be much more than a base to your salad. Romaine lettuce has natural sugars that are only released with grilling, serving up a sweet smoky taste. Pair the grilled leafy green with sharp grated cheese, and you’ll be in for a healthy treat. We like Spa Bettie’s easy prep of this grilled goodie: Just add a drizzle of balsamic and olive oil before it hits the heat.


Ready for an exotic punch of flavor? Try this gloriously good fruit grilled instead of chilled, and you’ll be swaying like an island local in your own backyard. Give Lil Miss’ Thai glazed recipe a go and you won’t think of mangoes the same way again.


We all know that ovens are the main maker when it comes to pizza, but that doesn’t mean the grill doesn’t have something to offer this fan-favorite meal. Roll out -- or unwrap -- some whole-wheat dough and sprinkle with your favorite toppings. Carefully place the pie on the rack -- within no time, your grill will serve up the perfect smoky, crunchy crust. The Bee Cave Kitchen tops their grilled pie with pepperoni, shredded asiago, fontina, parm and mozzarella. Yum!


Corn on the cob may be a standby side for summer cookouts, but trading husks for hearts can kick your barbecue up a notch. Not only is this unusual side dish unbearably tasty, it’s also gluten- and dairy-free -- perfect for pickier guests. Everything Reconsidered suggests making a garlic lemon aioli for your dipping pleasure.


Fill your pies with something else this summer and save the peaches for the grill. This charred fruit tastes great in a salad. Or serve it up like The Church Cook does, on top of some low-fat ice cream or frozen yogurt for a delicious dessert.


Think this soft buttery fruit of the tree is strictly made for mashing into a guacamole base? Think again. Avocados become the perfect melt-in-your mouth treat when grilled. Iowa Girl Eats serves them up just right with a simple sprinkle of lime and healthy scoop of fresh salsa in the groove where the core used to be.


OK, like hot dogs, donuts don’t necessarily make for hot bodies either. But what’s a meal without dessert? For a sweet ending to the perfect summer cookout, serve up these divine grilled donuts. Top them with ice cream the way Pretty Southern does, and your backyard bash is sure to be a hit.

Caitlin Ultimo is an associate editor at Studio One, which publishes Ideas That Spark. Specializing in parenting and family-driven content, she is a former editor at and writer for Parents magazine, where she covered family, finance, lifestyle, health and nutrition.

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