The Veggie-Heavy Grilled Dinner to Make Before Summer Ends

updated Aug 19, 2020
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With every day blurring together through these strange and scary COVID times, I didn’t think it was going to happen this year and yet it still did: Summer came and went. Well, it hasn’t left just yet — and trust me, I am in no hurry to let the balmy weather turn into sweater weather — but September is within eye’s reach. It’s always around this time that I start grilling in fury because I want to get in every summery dinner before it’s time to hunker inside and turn on the oven.

This menu is exactly what I want to cook (and plan to cook) right now. It celebrates late-summer staples like juicy heirloom tomatoes, sweet corn, and peaches while keeping the relaxed vibes in check. I’ve even created a timeline to ensure it’s as easy as possible.

Kitchn’s Guide for a Simple yet Special Late-Summer BBQ

Summer’s not over yet, which means neither are the unfussy, carefree dinners. This menu is exactly that. It has the simplicity we crave during summer months yet manages to feel special. It relies on ingredients that are at their very best right now and lets them show off a little so you can wrap up the season the way it should be wrapped up: deliciously.

Credit: Greg Davis; Food Styling: Josh Gandee

For Sipping: Honeymoon Spritz

I’ve been drinking a lot of Aperol Spritzes this summer. I thought by August I’d be tired of them, but alas, I am only craving them more as the season wanes. I’ve been wanting to try this clever riff on the classic, which we published earlier this summer, that calls for a rosé wine syrup, lemon juice, and white rum in addition to the usual suspects, so I am kicking off dinner with one in hand.

Get the recipe: Honeymoon Spritz

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Credit: Matt Armendariz

For Dinner: Heirloom Tomato and Steak Caprese

My general opinion about August is that if you’re not eating a tomato every day, you’re not doing in right; they’re at their sweetest and juiciest right this very second. I’ll happily eat them out of hand right now, but I am even happier slicing them for a caprese salad. I love that this one adds grilled skirt steak to the mix to become a showstopping, colorful main event that’s finished off with a punchy basil vinaigrette.

Get the recipe: Heirloom Tomato and Steak Caprese

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Credit: Joe Lingeman

For a Side: Grilled Corn on the Cob

When it comes to corn, you might call me boring: I just want it grilled, slathered with butter, and sprinkled with a little bit of salt and a whole lot of freshly ground black pepper. Corn on the cob is so candy-like right now that it really doesn’t need to be served any other way.

Get the recipe: Grilled Corn on the Cob

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Credit: Jason Rampe

For Dessert: Summer Peach and Tahini Tart

Nothing against apples, but I don’t actually look forward to their arrival as much as I probably should because it always means peaches’ departure. When Amelia’s recipe for this peach and tahini tart dropped last month, I immediately favorited it. It calls for puff pastry, so it couldn’t be easier to make, and the combination of bright stone fruit and nutty, rich sesame paste is nothing sort of brilliant.

Get the recipe: Summer Peach and Tahini Tart

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Your Late-Summer Grilled Dinner Timeline

You hardly have to prepare much at all in advance before getting to work on this menu, which is always a win.

  • In the afternoon: Make the peach tart. While it bakes, prepare the rosé wine syrup for the cocktails and the basil vinaigrette for the caprese, then marinate the steak.
  • Before lighting the grill: Shake the cocktails.
  • While the grill preheats: Shuck the corn and slice the tomatoes and red onion for the caprese.
  • Once the grill is hot: Grill the steak. Once it’s cooked to your liking, let it rest on a cutting board and grill the corn. Slice the steak, assemble the caprese, grab the butter and salt for the corn, and eat.
  • Later on: Pour the peach syrup over the tart, finish it with dollops of honey yogurt, grated nutmeg, and torn fresh basil leaves, and serve.