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9 Essential Grilling Recipes That Make Great Leftovers

Written by Katie Workman
Photography by Cheyenne Cohen, Carrie Crow and Mia

In the past few weeks, many of us wheeled out our grills for the first time. For me, it wasn’t a particularly pretty sight under the hood (see 10 Things to Do to Get Your Grill Ready for Summer). But luckily, there was propane in the tank, and this summer’s maiden grill voyage was just some very simply grilled sliced red onions and bell peppers, which then got chopped into a couscous salad (if you want to see the grilling and couscous salad-making in action, you can see my rudimentary video skills on Instagram.)

The salad was delicious, no more than some Israeli couscous mixed with the grilled vegetables, some fresh orange juice, finely grated lemon zest, salt and pepper and a handful of torn mint leaves. It made its first appearance as a side dish for Mother’s Day dinner, then became the base for some lunches later in the week. And it was a beautiful reminder that during grilling season, the best thing to do is not overthink it.

I say this about almost all dishes, but I mean it particularly much when it comes to grilled foods: make extra. Those surplus grilled onions will top a burger in a couple of days. Additional grilled peppers will turn into a roasted pepper mayonnaise which can be layered into a sandwich or used as the base of a crostini. Grilled romaine can be chopped up and added to grain bowls. If you think you like the feeling of being on top of things, wait till you peek into your fridge to find leftover grilled eggplant and cauliflower waiting to be put to use. Intentional leftovers, people. It’s the backbone of my meal prep strategy.

And – here we go!

Image of Grilled Asparagus
Grilled Asparagus with Vinaigrette
This recipe creates a fabulous, pretty, simple side. Make sure to serve asparagus with grains or crusty bread to sop up all of the tangy vinaigrette. Save time the day of and make the vinaigrette a couple of days ahead, and store it in the fridge. Bring the dressing to room temp, then serve it on top of grilled or roasted asparagus. Find green, purple and white asparagus year-round, and save extras for omelets and salads.

Image of Grilled Lamb Chops and Onions with Herb Salad
Grilled Lamb Chops and Onions with Herb Salad
This simple grilled lamb chop meal is elegant, delicious, and not challenging to make in the slightest. It’s one of those recipes where you want to buy the best ingredients you can afford, since that will make all of the difference. Play around with the herb lettuce mixture. Any assortment of tender lettuces and fresh herbs, like organic butter lettuce and baby dill, would be lovely alongside the rich grilled chops and tender, smokey onions.

Image of Grilled Romaine
Grilled Romaine
Does this seem surprising? Grilling firm lettuces is downright delicious and a fun way to "summer up" your salads. You can grill all kinds of lettuce, but firmer heads of lettuce hold together better and don’t wilt as much. The outside gets a nice chariness, but the inside holds a bit of crunch. Grilled lettuces are popular in Italian cuisine, and endive and radicchio are common, but romaine is also very much a thing.

Image of Grilled Onions
Grilled Onions
Grilling turns onions into something sweet and silky and sultry, the perfect accompaniment to just about anything else you will throw on the grill that day. Any onions will grill up nicely, but sweet onions, like Vidalia or Walla Walla, have more natural sugar in them, so they caramelize better. For a special treat, try Hatch Sweet Onions from Hatch Valley, New Mexico, where beloved Hatch peppers grow.

Image of Grilled Vegetables
Grilled Vegetables
The best way to perfect vegetables on the grill starts with colorful, fresh vegetables. SO many vegetables are great on the grill. You can grill potatoes, corn, lettuces, cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, eggplant, zucchini, summer squash, tomatoes, carrots, onions, peppers, brussels sprouts and more. For extra flavor, toss grilled veggies in Melissa’s Basil Pesto or Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto. And make extra to toss in salads, pastas, casseroles, grain salads, and other bowls.

Image of Grilled Peaches
Grilled Peaches
Grilling peaches is one of the best and most simple ways to elevate an already perfect fruit at the height of the season. Grilling caramelizes the natural sugars in peaches, ramping up their sweetness and accentuating their juiciness. Choose peaches that are just ripe, but not soft, and make sure to wash them but leave the skins on. Try Melissa’s sweet selection of organic stone fruit grown in California. To serve, pair with soft cheese and grilled crusty bread as an appetizer, and save extra to top vanilla ice cream later on for dessert.

Image of Grilled Provencal Chicken and Peppers
Grilled Provencal Chicken and Peppers
A colorful dazzler of a grilled dinner. It’s gorgeous and flavorful and very healthy to boot. Use any assortment of colored peppers—I just found some very cool striated ones, called Enjoya, and I can’t wait to make this dish with those. These peppers are pleasantly sweet, very crunchy, and a bit juicy.

Image of Grilled Pizza
Grilled Pizzas
Arguably the best food on the planet. This is simply the best way to cook pizzas during the summer, and it's so easy. No pizza stone; the pizzas cook right on the grill! When it comes to pizza toppings, the possibilities are endless. Try chopped cooked broccoli, pepperoni, sliced black olives, sautéed sliced mushrooms, sautéed chopped onions, roasted or sautéed bell peppers, in strips or pieces or chopped or sliced fresh tomatoes (in addition to or instead of sauce). Save a step and consider Melissa’s Fire Roasted Sweet Red Bell Peppers.

Image of Grilled Mexican Street Corn
Grilled Mexican Street Corn
If you're going to tamper with an ear of corn, you'd better make it good. And, there is nothing better than an ear of simply steamed or grilled fresh corn in late summer. Except for Mexican Grilled Corn. Start with the best corn you can find, like super sweet Brentwood Corn, and garnish with fresh cilantro and mild Red Hatch Chili Powder.


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