By Stacey Stein
By the time the Victoria Day long weekend rolls
around, summer is in the air – the days are longer, kids are outside riding
their bikes, and patios are filled with people enjoying their meals al fresco.
The warmer weather also makes this a
popular time to host an outdoor barbecue, another favourite summer pastime. Burgers
and dogs may be the obvious go-to, but this long weekend, why not wow your
guests with unexpected dishes that stray from standard barbecue fare?
Read on for ideas to help you plan a unique long weekend barbecue that guests will be raving about all summer.
The possibilities for interesting apps that
incorporate grilled veggies are endless. Here are a few options that are sure
to be a hit:
- Potato salad gets a makeover in
version that uses grilled mini potatoes and has a light, herby flavour.
Before grilling the potatoes, boil them first, run under cold water, and then toss
with some melted Gay Lea Spreadables butter.
- Add a DIY element to your
barbecue by including a crostini bar. Registered dietitian Shannon Crocker recommends
using this grilled
crostini recipe and mixing things up by putting out different toppings –
try grilled veggies, sautéed mushrooms and avocado slices. Guests will have fun
assembling their own creations. Tip: grill the crostini ahead of time and then
warm it on the grill once your guests arrive.
- Create a grilled veggie platter
filled with in-season spring fare like asparagus, zucchini, peppers and radishes.
Try serving the grilled veggies with a crowd-pleasing dip, like Nordica
Smooth roasted red pepper.
Replace chunks of meat with chunks of
cheese to create healthful, innovative barbecued dishes. Halloumi works well on
the grill (be sure to cut it about ½ inch thick) – it’s the star ingredient in these
- This fattoush
salad pairs grilled halloumi with a variety of crunchy vegetables. A lemony
dressing ties it all together.
- This nutrient-rich grilled
veggie salad is loaded with a variety of grilled vegetables along with the
grilled halloumi. Quinoa adds a kick of protein.
- Who needs beef sliders? These
grilled halloumi sliders are a great meat alternative, and the herbs and
tzatziki lend some Mediterranean flair.
You can skip the meat in these other
- For this roasted
red pepper flatbread recipe, grill the naan bread (rather than baking it in
the oven). Feel free to mix up the veggie toppings.
- Lightly grill the zucchini on
the barbecue in this mushroom-stuffed
zucchini recipe. Toss some chickpeas or black beans into the stuffing mixture
for a protein boost.
For meat lovers, you can try a twist on the
conventional Caesar salad. Brush some Romaine lettuce with canola oil and grill
on a lower heat (be sure to keep the core so the lettuce holds together on the
barbecue). Serve with Caesar dressing, grated parmesan and croutons, then top it
off with a grilled beef or chicken kabob.
Desserts and grilling might not seem like a
natural combination, but you can make some truly inventive – and delicious –
desserts on the barbecue while impressing guests with your ingenuity. Here are
- Keep things simple and healthy
fruit kabobs, paired with a sweet sour cream honey dip. Pear, apple and
pineapple work well – so do peaches, plums and nectarines, which will soon be
- Replace the peaches with
in-season pears in this
recipe, which marries grilled fruit with pan-seared halloumi cheese. Top it
all off with a champagne syrup for a dessert that’s sure to impress (feel free
to skip the arugula).
- Cake on the grill? Why not? A
dense pound cake works perfectly (buy or make your own) – place thick slices on
the barbecue, flip them over until you see grill marks, then top it off with some
Smooth Blueberry Acai and berries (either fresh or frozen – both work