Summertime cookouts are fun ways to enjoy long, warm days; escape the hot kitchen; and have a cold drink while manning the grill. Summer is also when I crave cool salads for lunch but don't really want spend extra time in the kitchen prepping all the ingredients.
Here's a mindset I've adopted that maximizes my grill time and results in delicious salads the next day with almost no prep: I plan to grill extra food so there are great leftovers to throw into tomorrow's lunch salad!
If you're grilling for dinner, think about what you have planned for the menu. For the items that would be a great ingredient in a salad, double that amount. Yes, it means a little extra prep time and perhaps another round of grilling, but take advantage of those hot coals, pour yourself another drink, and grill away.
A little extra grill time will result in delicious leftovers that will make that ho-hum green salad way more interesting to take to the office. Plus, since you're using those leftovers in a salad, you won't feel like you're eating the exact same thing two days in a row.
5 Foods That Are Worth Grilling Extra of for Salads
1. Meat and Seafood
I rarely cook proteins like meat and seafood from scratch for salads. Instead, I just cook or grill extra of something I'm already making for dinner. Most any meat will work, as well as seafood like salmon, tuna, or shrimp. It'll bulk up your salad and make it more satisfying so you're not hungry two hours later.
- Thai Grilled Steak Salad
- Blackened Beer-Brined Chicken Breasts
- Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Herbed Cornmeal Rub
- Spicy Grilled Shrimp
2. Cheese and Tofu
Are you vegetarian? Just grill extra tofu (freeze it first so it soaks up marinade better) or try a firm grilling cheese like halloumi. Tofu and halloumi can take on some nice smoke and caramelization from being on the grill.
Replace some of the leafy greens in your salad with grilled vegetables. I like dense, satisfying vegetables, like potatoes, cauliflower, and carrots, since they hold up well after the grilling process and aren't as watery. Brush the vegetables with some herb or garlic oil to add a little flavor before grilling.
- Grilled Packet Potatoes
- Grilled Okra with Spicy Chipotle Dipping Sauce
- Grilled Chipotle Lime Cauliflower Steaks
- Grilled Carrots with Lemon and Dill
- Grilled Peppadews with Smoked Mozzarella
4. Fruit and Citrus
Grilled stone fruit or even pineapple can add a little sweetness to your next salad. Brush large, cut pieces of the fruit and grill briefly to get some char marks, but be careful not to overcook the fruit or it'll get mushy.
Grilling citrus is also one of my favorite things, as it not only adds character to a cocktail, but you can use it in your next salad dressing to add a nice smoky flavor.
- Recipe: Saucy & Sweet Grilled Pineapple
- Citrus Is the Weirdest but Best Thing You Haven't Grilled Yet
Have you ever grilled bread? I love doing it for bruschettas, bread salads, Thanksgiving dressing, or even garlic bread. If your grill is already on, it takes just a few minutes to toast and crisp up bread. This toasted bread makes a nice crouton the next day, or you can have the bread ready to go for a panzanella salad.