Want to fire up the grill? These grilled dinner ideas are perfect for entertaining or a laid back evening in, from shrimp tacos to grilled cheese.
Wanna fire up the grill? Yes, grilling season is all about infusing that smoky, charred flavor into everything you touch. And the grill’s not just for burgers and hot dogs! There are so many grilled dinner ideas beyond the bun. Alex and I are huge grill fans: in fact, if it’s food, we’ve probably tried to grill it! We love unique things like BBQ Cauliflower and Grilled Romaine Salad, just as much as more traditional things like Cedar Plank Salmon.
Here we’ve collected our top favorite grilled dinner ideas! From our very best grilled veggie burger that stays together on the grill (we promise!) to our always popular grilled shrimp tacos, we think you’ll love every single one of them. Ready to get started?
First up in our grilled dinner ideas...one of our favorite meals ever: Shrimp Tacos! These grilled tacos have a party vibe that works for both a summer dinner party or as an easy weeknight meal. The smoky shrimp are perfectly spiced, served atop a Mexican slaw and drizzle lightly with spicy mayo. Top with a spritz of lime juice and torn fresh cilantro, they’re pretty heavenly.
Yes, it is possible to grill a veggie burger! Here's our best veggie burger recipe, made specifically to be easy to throw onto the grill. Most homemade veggie burgers turn out mushy: but not this one! It’s got a sturdy texture and big, big grilled flavor. Paint it with homemade BBQ sauce and top with creamy guacamole and it's perfection.
Another the top of our list: Perfect Grilled Fish! This recipe is for tilapia, but you can use any white fish. If you’re looking for a healthy seafood recipe that fits into the Mediterranean diet: here’s the one! The flaky fish is bursting with savory, smoky flavor from the grill. Top it with sweet and tender blistered cherry tomatoes, and it looks simply stunning. It’s the ideal summer meal for entertaining or even a weeknight.
Grilled shrimp is one of the fastest things you can cook on the grill: it takes less than 5 minutes to cook these babies. Sure you can marinade the shrimp before grilling. But most of the time, why not go easy and lightening fast? Here's the perfect grilled shrimp recipe. Also try: Cajun Grilled Shrimp, Blackened Shrimp or Grilled Shrimp Skewers
This buffalo cauliflower sandwich is a grilled dinner idea that will blow your mind! The buffalo cauliflower is a play on buffalo chicken wings and slathered in a spicy buffalo sauce. Top that with a creamy blue cheese ranch sauce and a few fresh celery leaves, and it’s an unforgettable (and a little messy) veggie sandwich recipe.
Do nachos count as a grilled dinner idea? Because we would eat them for dinner! Grilled nachos are a perfect grilling recipe to wow a crowd for entertaining. The grill brings a smoky, charred flavor to the nachos and they look stunning in a cast iron skillet. Serve them with a salad or a few sides and you've got a tasty grilled dinner.
The best way to cook salmon? Meet our Perfect Grilled Salmon! It’s an easy method and comes out tender with a lightly crisp crust. Even better, we created a tasty magical seasoning blend to go with it. This Seafood Seasoning tastes so good, you’ll want to put it on everything…you might never make salmon without it again. It's a truly easy grilled dinner idea: serve with pesto quinoa and blackberry salad.
Grilling transforms humble vegetables into something brilliant. And this is the case with these grilled veggie fajitas! Bell peppers, portobello mushrooms, and onions transform into the most delicious meld of savory flavors you could fit into a taco! Alongside them, grill up a packet of black beans. It’s one of our favorite crowd pleasing grilled dinner ideas.
This grilled dinner idea was inspired by a sandwich shop we visited on a trip to Italy, and we've recreated it here! Focaccia bread is spread with basil pesto and Kalamata olive spread, and then it’s filled with grilled eggplant, juicy ripe tomatoes, and fresh mozzarella. It’s pretty darn heavenly, if we do say so ourselves. Even better: it's easy to put together!
Here's a unique grilled dinner idea: grilled veggie pasta! It has double the grilled veggies: both for the pasta and blended into a grilled romesco sauce. Romesco is sauce made of roasted peppers and almonds that originates from Spain. It makes a creamy bright red sauce for the lightly smoky pasta. Top it with feta crumbles and enjoy!
Grilled scallops come out incredibly tender and full of flavor, no special seasonings required! Grilling them is much easier than searing them in a pan: you don’t have to worry about how hot the pan is or getting an even crisp crust. Nope, just pop them on the grill and in 5 minutes they’re juicy and ready to eat.
Ever tried eggplant Parmesan...on the grill? Yes, grilling up the eggplant until it's tender, charred and smoky makes for the very best version of this Italian standard. It’s stunning enough to serve for entertaining, but a crowd pleaser that would work for a family dinner. Serve it with a glass of frose and a salad.
This grilled tofu tastes simply irresistible, charred to perfection and then painted with a sweet and savory marinade. Even if you're not a tofu lover: this is absolutely worth a try. It's a delicious grilled dinner idea that’s full of plant-based protein. You might even convert the meat eaters when they take a taste…because it’s darn delicious.
Grilled cheese on the grill? Yes, this grilled cheese is made on a charcoal grill, and once you've tried it you won't want to go back! Fire up the grill, grill the bread on both sides, and then top and grill until the cheese melts. The grill imparts a smoky flavor that’s a fine compliment to the gooey cheese and savory basil pesto.
This grilled veggie skewers are a tasty dinner idea featuring colorful veggies and halloumi, a Greek cheese that you can grill along with vegetables. The halloumi adds a super savory, filling element to these skewers that’s irresistible! Serving the skewers over pesto-scented quinoa also makes it a filling dinner, and the bright green bed of grains looks beautiful for serving.
Last up in our grilled dinner ideas: perfect portobello mushroom burger! This giant meaty mushroom is irresistible on is own. But add it to a burger bun and pile it high with toppings, and it’s downright outrageous! So you can make it in any season, we’ve got two methods: grilled or roasted. Of course, we prefer it grilled and eaten on the patio with the wafting smell of charcoal..but that’s just us! It’s fantastic in any season.
Grilled side dishes
Want to grill up some sides too? Here are a few to add to these dinner ideas!
Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.
Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.