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Beat Burger Boredom: Grill This Instead

How to get more adventurous with your summer grilling

Grilled watermelon with mint pesto
Seasons.agency/Gräfe & Unzer Verlag/Grossmann.Schuerle

I’ve always believed that if you can eat it, you can grill it. It might seem like sacrilege to suggest sidelining your sausage and burger sizzle, but think of your grill as an ultra-versatile cooking medium. Would you buy a fancy sports car and then just drive it around the block? Of course not! Your grill deserves a bigger challenge than just another round of blackened wieners doused in ketchup.

Here are four foods to throw on the grill that aren’t business as usual.


A brick of semihard cheese traditionally made with a combo of sheep milk and goat milk. Its superpower is the ability to withstand melting into cheese soup when spending time on the grill. Instead, the outside becomes flecked with crispy pieces while the inside turns velvety. 

Your biceps will appreciate its protein prowess — there’s more than 6 grams in each ounce serving of the dairy import, or slightly less than the amount you get from boring chicken breast.

Fire it up: Upend a block of halloumi and slice lengthwise into two slabs. Brush with oil and heat until grill marks appear on both sides, one to two minutes per side. Or cut into 1-inch chunks and skewer kebab-style. 

Add grilled halloumi to tacos and summer salads. Or treat a slab like you would a burger and stuff it between a bun with your favorite toppings.


Flame-licked avocado is a game-changer. Grilling makes an avocado’s flesh extra creamy with a hint of smoky flavor. Healthwise, you can do a lot worse than making more room on your grill for avocado, as research shows unsaturated fat can help improve your cholesterol score.

Fire it up: Slice your ripe avocado in half, remove the pit, and brush the flesh with some oil and sprinkle on a bit of coarse salt. Place flesh-side down on a hot grill for about five to seven minutes, or until you get some nice grill marks. Scoop out flesh and mash it into guacamole or spread on a piece of toast. 

Also, slice the torched flesh and stuff into sandwiches, burgers and tacos. Or go fancy and fill the grilled avocado cavities with salsa and crumbled queso fresco.


When briny meets smoky, magic happens. You’ll be amazed just how easy and fast these inexpensive shellfish are to grill, minus the usual seafood fretting about fish sticking to grill grates like superglue. Plus, by taking your seafood outside, you avoid making your kitchen smell like low tide.

Mussels are a nutritional treasure trove with high amounts of protein, heart-benefiting omega fats and a range of must-have micronutrients.

Fire it up: Build a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill, or heat a gas grill to medium-high. Dunk mussels in a large bowl of cold water, stir them around a bit, wait 15 minutes and then drain. Place mussels in a grill basket, close lid and grill until the shells pop open, four to six minutes.

Remove mussels from grill and place in a large bowl. Squeeze on a generous amount of lemon juice and scatter on a bunch of fresh parsley. Add some corn on the cob to the grill and dinner is made.


If you think watermelon tastes like mildly sweet water, you’ve never sunk your teeth into a wedge after it’s hovered over an open flame. When heated, all those naturally occurring sugars develop a caramel-like flavor and the texture becomes downright meaty. That leaves grilled watermelon useful for both sweet and savory uses. 

And at just about 45 calories in each cup, you could grill up and munch on an entire melon without losing the war on belly flab.

Fire it up: Watermelon for grilling should be cut into manageable triangle wedges with the rind attached. Brush lightly with oil, sprinkle on some coarse salt and grill over medium-heat until nice grill marks appear, about three minutes per side. 

For a sweet-spicy treat, sprinkle on tajín seasoning. Or chop it up and toss with greens, mint, cherry tomato and feta for the best salad ever.

Follow Article Topics: Eating-&-Drinking