Seven Things You Can Grill That Aren’t Hamburgers

I always forget that Memorial Day Weekend exists, which, as has been pointed out to me, is very ironic! I always remember, though, because there comes a weekend when everyone I interact with inquires earnestly about what I plan to grill. To be honest, most days, I don’t plan to grill anything. I don’t have a grill. I don’t even have a grill pan. I don’t even have a gas stove, or a stove that isn’t a child’s size because I live in a tiny apartment made for someone to die alone in. But I guess it’s possible that at some point in my life I will be invited to partake in the social event which is “Memorial Day grilling,” and if that ever happens, I’d like to avoid what happened the last time I went to a grilling event, which was eight people standing around politely waiting to start eating ribs until my lone black bean burger slowly thawed and was actually still mostly frozen in the middle but I ate it anyway because I just wanted it to be over. Anyways, if you also don’t want to eat hamburgers or ribs or elks or whatever it is people eat today, here’s some other stuff you can grill.


Let’s be real: pizza is already your favorite food. The only thing that can make it better is finding new ways to cook it. Laura already helpfully explained to you about grilled pizza, and if you’re not super committed to the specific combination of marinara and cheese, you can open your mind to the more expansive categories of “flatbreads.” Any and all toppings are available to you! Hummus! Barbecue sauce! Ranch dressing, if you hate good food! Isa Chandra Moskowitz put up a really delicious-sounding recipe for flatbreads with creamy red pepper scallion spread that I would probably kill a man for. Or maybe just a cyborg who looks like a man. Let’s not get crazy here.


I know virtually nothing about raddichio besides how fun it is to say. Ra-DEECH-ee-oh! Go on, say it again. Anyways, I believe firmly that anything grilled and drizzled with balsamic vinegar can’t be that bad. Like that Sheryl Crow song. Apparently all you need to do is marinate it for 15 minutes or so (this recipe recommends olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, rosemary, orange peel, and crushed red pepper, but probably something less complicated would be okay too!) and then pop it on the grill for 5 or 6 minutes each side. After you take it off the grill, drizzle with balsamic vinegar and some parmesan or pecorino cheese if that’s your thing. Bam! I think you can also grill endive, but I’m not 100% sure what that is, so.


I know, we just met, and this sounds crazy. Watermelon is literally 90% water; how can you grill it??? That’s like battling a water Pokemon with a fire Pokemon! Bear with me. This recipe recommends brushing the watermelon with honey first, and then throwing it on the grill for a few minutes on each side. I haven’t tried this, but I imagine that ice cream tastes good with this.

Portabella Mushrooms

If you are a vegetarian, maybe you have already eaten enough portabella mushroom burgers to build a house out of, and then a side garage for that house, and also possibly a gazebo for the yard. Still, though, this is a tried and true Burger Substitute, and you will probably end up eating it at your Uncle Phil’s. Try marinating them in something interesting! Lime juice! Baby Ray’s barbecue sauce! Milkshakes! Just kidding, don’t do that part. Grilling some onions and peppers to put on top might help take this next level.

how exciting


This is a delicious thing to eat at all times. Make sure you have some stick thingys to eat them with, and you’re good to go! You’re in a really good place as long as you have some butter and salt and pepper; you can just put the cobs on the grill as are until they’re cooked through and a little charred and then brush butter on them. Or, alternately, wrap them in foil with some butter and they’ll sort of steam. If I may make a polite suggestion, maybe try eating some of your corn on the cob with lime juice squeezed over it and chili powder on top. You won’t be sorry.


Avocados are the best food. This is not up for debate. As with many things grilled, they are delicious with lime juice! Also would probably make the platonic ideal of taco ingredients. This recipe has a salsa you can make to put on top of it! What a good idea you guys!


Once upon a time, my friend Batia told me in hushed tones about “haloumi: the cheese you can grill!” We found some in a specialty grocery — it’s from Cyprus, I think? — and indeed, the packaging said “the cheese you can grill.” It’s a pretty solid cheese that you can just cut into thick slices and then throw on a grill, and it will be salty and a little crispy and a little melty (and also weirdly squeaky? I don’t know how else to explain it. You can hear a little squeaking noise when you bite into it). It’s a great kebab ingredient, but also I’ve eaten it on its own, with my hands, and I’m not ashamed.


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Originally from Boston, MA, Rachel now lives in the Midwest. Topics dear to her heart include bisexuality, The X-Files and tacos. Her favorite Ciara video is probably "Ride," but if you're only going to watch one, she recommends "Like A Boy." You can follow her on twitter and instagram.

Rachel has written 1142 articles for us.


  1. peaches! grilled peaches! i’ve never done it, but i heard alton brown discussing them on npr the other day and i thought BY GOD YES, IT’S TIME.

    so now i just need a grill.

    and some peaches.

  2. I’m just waiting for the bbqueers to rejoice over this post.

    this needs repeating: “That’s like battling a water Pokemon with a fire Pokemon!”

    • I am a bbqueer and I am rejoicing! Also, I can’t believe how many of you don’t have a grill! I have four, you guys. No lie.

  3. This article is glorious in every way. I could quote the turns of phrase that made me chortle with glee, but there are too many. Well played.

  4. My dad always grills corn without taking the husks off. He just puts some water in them and tosses them on. It’s the best I’ve had, although I could be biased.

    • I repeat this!!

      Keep the husks on your corn when you grill them!!
      All the deliciousness, with less of the charred bits in your mouth!

    • I’ve heard glorious things about cooking corn with the husks on, but I’m always afraid of setting them on fire. But I set fire to my shirt with a microwave once, so maybe that’s just me…

      • I set fire to the kitchen every time I try to make tacos, but somehow the husks don’t burn. Just put a lot of water in them and keep a bucket handy if you’re really worried.

    • If you soak the corn w/ husks on in water before grilling, it reduces the burn off of the husks. I even salt the water I soak them in. Do it!

  5. SO MUCH REJOICING!! also, try grilling sliced tomatoes. just a minute or two and then throw some cottage cheese on top of them. not on the grill, on a plate. so good. god i love grilling.

    • Olive oil, coarse sea salt, fresh black pepper….oh god bro, we need to grill soon…


    and bring foil for some of the things. I always end up with issues of people toasting their buns on the grill and I’m like ‘noooooooooo the gluten I just washed that’ ‘nooooo i just washed it again.’

    it’s very saddening.

  7. It makes me really happy that you mentioned lime juice and chili powder on corn!
    Also paneer: it’s the other grilling cheese.

    • also awesome on grilled corn:

      1. garlic butter
      2. lemon, salt and onion powder
      3. insane, i know, but a little of that hidden valley buttermilk ranch packets mix in with a little bit of butter. like ranch doritos, but fresh and real and healthy for you and just waaay better. party in my mouth and everyone is invited.

  8. PLEASE do not forget the Artichoke. With a garlic/lemon dressing.

  9. I am Team Pineapple for life, no matter what. As an ice cream, as a beer, and yes, as a grilled item for eating. I cannot express just how much I fucking love pineapples. No joke.

    Grilled tortillas are all the yes. I don’t even need any fancy toppings.

    Also – I’ve never grilled halloumi before but I’m wondering if one could make a reverse grilled cheese sandwich? Do you think that could work out? It’d probs be a lil’ messy but still – I think it could possibly maybe work out wonderfully.

    • Just have to reply to my own post because I find it extremely important to point out that the tortillas I mentioned must be homemade…preferably with lard. Because you could die whilst grilling so you may as well live dangerously right??! Right.

    • Team Pineapple, also makes your… smell… nice. BONE AppeTIT! Oh dear god, my mind is in the gutter too early tonight. I blame this on the Autostraddle white tank tops article. <_<

  10. I’m not always a vegetarian, but when I am, it really seems to annoy people at BBQs. I’ve eaten more red meat this weekend then I have in the last year. My body hates me. Armed with this list, I shall throw meatless BBQs all summer and no one will even miss the dead cow.

  11. My girlfriend just grilled me a delicious dinner of asparagus, citrus-marinated chicken, and pineapple. I should probably repay her with sexual favors in addition to the quinoa salad I made, right? She really likes to grill.

    P.S. Haloumi is the best food ever. If it’s winter (or any time), you can make it in a pan instead.

  12. I just BBQ’d some corn as part of dinner an hour ago and it was delicious. My apartment small enough to die in includes a set of available outdoor grills so the tenants don’t buy our own. This holiday was the first time in four years I BBQ’d & I had a blast. You guys are making me feel impure though as I put various dead animals and nitrates on the grill all weekend.

    • I think the only real way to feel impure about the dead animals on the grill situation is if they were undead.

  13. My dad is the greatest griller ever and he just made some delicious burgers tonight.

    Maybe I should show him this so he can show off his skills even more often!

  14. Why would you include something you haven’t even tried? I mean, can anyone even vouch that grilled watermelon works or is remotely good tasting?

    • I can’t vouch for grilled watermelon, but I absolutely love dehydrated watermelon, and I imagine that popping some on the grill would have a similar effect of heating it up and concentrating the flavor.
      Grilled watermelon sounds to me like it would be delicious.

      If it doesn’t sound good to you, you don’t have to try it. simple as that.

  15. This is not very exciting, but I have the same exact plates as the one that mushroom burger was on, and it was oddly disorienting to see.

  16. There really isn’t very much that can’t be grilled. I have an electric stove, and following a vicious storm two years ago I went 2 weeks without power. I used my grill for every meal. There was a bit of trial and error, but mostly, delicious goodness. Now I use my grill year round! Suck on that Pioneer Woman!

  17. I dried out and cubed up tofu, while cooking ginger and garlic in a saucepan. I threw the tofu in there and heated it a bit, topped with soy sauce and BBQ sauce, then put it in foil and grilled it. Memorial day was a delight for my tummy with that recipe, just sayin’.

  18. I’ve learned to grill pretty much everything. We are undergoing a kitchen remodel which left me only the coffee pot, microwave,and grill. I’ve made a variety of things, such as scrambled eggs, enchiladas, and quesadillas. Several of my favorites are on this list, corn (husk on) peaches, and pizza. Try the peaches with honey, lemon juice and cinnamon. Mmmm, mmm good!

  19. is this an american thing, the need to grill…um,everything?

    I adore avocados and I would never survive life without them but grilling them? good lord,why? or watermelon?
    meat and stuff it’s good but putting fruit and vegetables there confuses me greatly.

    • I didn’t even think avocados could be cooked in the first place! I’m tempted to try that now.

  20. Mango goes great grilled, especially brushed with honey first. Its goes really nice with fish or chicken!

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