30 Grilled Appetizers and Sides

Round out any cookout or barbecue with these grilled recipes

Ribs, burgers, and other main dishes aren’t all a grill is good for—we love throwing vegetables, marinated shrimp, and breads over the fire, too, for side dishes and snacks with a smoky char. These grilled appetizers and sides make great additions to any cookout or barbecue.

Salads might be most closely associated with raw vegetables, but grilled ingredients can add delicious flavors to the party. Romaine lettuce is much more interesting with a smoky char, especially when topped with blue cheese and bacon. Grilling endives with honey softens their bitter edge. In our Swedish grilled shallot salad, cooking the alliums with olive oil and butter lets them soften and caramelize, which gives them a deep, sweet flavor.

Other vegetables are at home on the grill, too. Marinating ripe summer tomatoes in soy sauce gives them an umami-rich flavor. Corn becomes sweet and smoky when grilled—serve it on the cob with a goat cheese compound butter or pesto, or make it into a succotash with tomatoes and edamame.

Toasting bread is boring—grilling it gives it a more flavorful char. We love grilling up homemade flatbread and topping it with pickled peaches and plums, as well as burrata and arugula. Storebought bread can be given new life on the grill and topped with briny crab, a refreshing parsley and onion salad, or hearty kale and salty prosciutto.

Next time you have a cookout, grill more than the mains with these grilled appetizer and side recipes.

Grilled Corn and Ricotta Dip

Grilled Corn and Ricotta Dip
Get the recipe for Melitzanosalata »

Grilled Squash and Scallions with Chile-Honey Vinaigrette

Grilling adds smokiness to summer squash, a flavor that chef Steven Satterfield of Atlanta’s Miller Union balances with bright ingredients like vinegar, chile, and honey. Get the recipe for Grilled Squash and Scallions with Chile-Honey Vinaigrette »

Grilled Calçots and Asparagus with Romesco Sauce

Grilled Calçots and Asparagus with Romesco Sauce

Pickled Stone Fruit and Burrata Flatbread

A light vegetarian lunch, or even savory summer dessert, the sugary pickling brine in this recipe helps the peaches and plums caramelize on the grill.

Grilled Oysters on a Bed of Salt

“You can grill any oyster you’d eat raw,” says John Finger of California’s Hog Island Oyster Co., “but bigger is better, since the longer they cook, the more they shrink.” Rules of thumb: Opt for Pacific over Eastern, and look for 4–5-inch shell size. Have your fishmonger shuck one before you buy; the meat should almost fill the shell.

Grilled Shiitake Mushroom with Chile and Thyme

Grilled Shiitake Mushroom with Chile and Thyme

Grilled Peach with Rosemary, Smoked Country Ham, and Toasted Pistachios

Grilled Peach with Rosemary, Smoked Country Ham, and Toasted Pistachios

Escalivada Catalana

Akin to Puerto Rican escabeche, roasted, tender vegetables are marinated in a simple sherry vinegar dressing for an easy side dish to grilled fish, roast pork, or tender rib eye steak. Get the recipe for Escalivada Catalana »

Crab Toast

Spreading mayonnaise on both sides of the bread before grilling yields a perfectly golden brown crust. Get the recipe for Crab Toast »

Shaved Fennel and Grilled Corn Salad

A base of crunchy, fresh fennel contrasts perfectly with grilled corn kernels and crumbled feta cheese in this summer salad.

Grilled Greens and Leek Tops with Chile-Garlic Sauce

When buying leeks for this dish, cookbook author Amy Thielen says to look for ones that have all or most of their dark green tops still attached. If trimmed leeks are all you can find, use the dark and light green parts only. Get the recipe for Grilled Greens and Leek Tops with Chile-Garlic Sauce »

Summer Succotash Salad

Summer Succotash Salad

Warm Red Potato Salad

Tender grilled red-skinned potatoes are doused in herb vinaigrette in this warm salad. Get the recipe for Warm Red Potato Salad »

Parsley and Onion Salad

Fresh red onions add cool spice to this simple parsley salad from Jeremiah Cooks (Stewart, Tabori and Chang, 2002), by Jeremiah Tower. Served on grilled bread with a touch of mint and a sprinkle of capers, the salad looks as appealing as it tastes. Get the recipe for Parsley and Onion Salad »

Grilled Corn with Herbed Goat Cheese Butter

Sweet corn grilled in its husk is enhanced by an herbal goat cheese compound butter. Get the recipe for Grilled Corn with Herbed Goat Cheese Butter »

Endive Salad with Bee Pollen Vinaigrette

A thick honey vinaigrette pairs with pleasingly bitter endives that are steamed, grilled, and marinated in this recipe from Castle Hill Inn in Newport, Rhode Island. Get the recipe for Endive Salad with Bee Pollen Vinaigrette »

Grilled Eggplant with Basil Vinaigrette

Sliced, grilled vegetables served in a simple marinade or vinaigrette are a fixture at many Tuscan meals. Get the recipe for Grilled Eggplant With Basil Vinaigrette »

Cavolo Nero and Prosciutto Bruschetta

Cavolo nero, also known as Tuscan kale, Lacinato kale, or Dinosaur kale, balances thinly sliced, salty prosciutto over toast. Get the recipe for Cavolo Nero and Prosciutto Bruschetta »

Chile-Garlic Shrimp (Gambas Al Ajillo)

These shrimp are cooked in a hot cast iron pan with tons of garlic and red Thai chiles.

Grilled Shrimp Lettuce Cups

Iceberg lettuce leaves make great vessels for eating marinated grilled shrimp. For added kick, drizzle with sweet chile sauce. Get the recipe for Grilled Shrimp Lettuce Cups »

Grilled Shallots with Dill (Schalottenlök i Folie)

Milder than their cousin the onion, shallots are ideal for grilling. For a midsummer cookout in Sweden, home cook Asa Johanson tosses shallots in butter and olive oil, wraps them in foil with dill, and cooks the package slowly on the grill until the shallots soften and caramelize, taking on a deep, sweet flavor.

Tadashi’s Grilled Tomatoes

Ripe tomatoes develop umami-rich flavor when grilled with a soy sauce marinade. Mitsuba, a Japanese relative of parsley, lends a mild cilantro-like freshness. Get the recipe for Tadashi’s Grilled Tomatoes »

Grilled Vegetable Salad (Sallad på Rostade Grönsaker)

Grilled Vegetable Salad

Grilled Romaine Salad with Blue Cheese and Bacon

Fresh heads of romaine lettuce are split down the middle, grilled until charred and smoky, and then topped with blue cheese and bacon for this satisfying salad. Get the recipe for Grilled Romaine Salad with Blue Cheese and Bacon »
Stuffing sardines with fresh herbs, garlic, and lemon before grilling suffuses them with zesty flavor.

Grilled Scallion Skewers (Kao Xiang Cong)

Double-skewering scallions ensures they don’t fall through grill grates and allows for easier basting and flipping.

Grilled Corn with Pesto

Grilled Corn with Pesto