8 Recipes for Backyard BBQs and Grilling Gatherings

Summertime is right around the corner, and we could not be more ready for this season of outdoor adventures, beach trips and, of course, backyard barbecues. If your outdoor space allows for a grill, we highly recommend investing in one; and if you’ve already got one, check out the ZENB guide to grilling, where we answer all your, ahem, burning questions about cooking over fire!

Once you’ve gotten comfy with your grilling technique, it’s time to invite some folks over for a sun-soaked gathering and shared meal. If guests ask what they can bring, suggest drinks or dessert, and then pull together this chic, curated (but super-easy) menu that pairs savory, fresh, plant-forward flavors:

Drinks: Sparkling Lemonade, Rosé, and Spicy Lime Michelada

When it comes to drinks, we like to keep things simple. Keep pitchers of still water or sparkling water handy so everyone stays hydrated, then offer one sweet and one savory bevvie. Sparkling lemonade is a crowd-pleaser, and a celebratory option for kids or anyone laying off the booze. Rosé goes great with grilled favorites. For the savory option, try a kickin’ michelada, a low-ABV sipper that combines a light Mexican beer with a spicy tomato mix.

Save time and energy by using ZENB Roasted Tomato Gourmet Pasta Sauce as the base for your homemade micheladas; it brings so much flavor and even sneaks in an entire cup of vegetables per serving! For low-key service, lay out a pitcher of the michelada mix, a bucket of cold beers, ice, cups, and garnishes (like limes, cherry tomatoes, and pickles) to let everyone make their own drinks.

Sides: 

It’s widely understood that cookouts are just as much about the sides as the main dishes. While you’ve got the coals burning or the flames going, chop up some gems from your last farmers market haul and thread them on these colorful Easy Grilled Veggie Skewers with Cilantro Lime Sauce. Remember: always soak wooden skewers for about 30 minutes before grilling to prevent them from burning.

Pasta salad is a barbecue hero because it’s a snap to make ahead, adds a fresh touch to the spread, and, in the case of the ZENB Greek Pasta Salad Board, is easily customizable to lots of peoples’ preferences. Bonus: You can do 100% of the prep for this ahead of time and keep it all chilling in the fridge until go-time.

Mains:

Want to elevate your cookout beyond the standard burgers and hot dogs? Nicely seasoned, beautifully grilled proteins and vegetables are just as quick and easy to prepare, and make for an impressive presentation. If that’s your style, try out one of these mains:

For a gorgeous vegan dish, Grilled Cauliflower Steaks with Asparagus & Harissa is just the thing. Both veggies get brushed with avocado oil and grilled to caramelized perfection, then hit with a powerful dose of spicy, savory flavor, thanks to harissa, a Middle Eastern pepper sauce and a squeeze of lime.

In the mood for a steak? Our Grilled Citrus Steak with ZENB Rotini & Gremolata is a foolproof recipe that sings with summer flavors. The citrus marinade brings a brightness to the beef, and the gremolata (a loose parsley, garlic, and citrus zest sauce) will be your new go-to condiment that you’ll want to drizzle on everything.

When tomatoes are in season, buy the smallest, sweetest cherry tomatoes you can find, and use them in this Grilled Chicken Chimichurri Agile. Along with sweet bell peppers, tender grilled chicken, and a loose herb-y sauce, this is a seasonal dish that harmonizes pure flavors in a glorious way.

Want to go even simpler? Grilled chicken, ribs, or vegetables can get punched up a notch or two with a swipe of ZENB Memphis BBQ Sauce. There is a raging debate in the bbq enthusiasts’ community about what style of sauce is best. We’re not here to take sides, but we think our version, which is tangy, sweet, and spicy, is pretty dang good. Feel free to use it in this delicious ZENB Elbows with BBQ Chicken recipe.


For more tasty dishes for any type of gathering, check out the ZENB recipe collection, with over 150 recipes to explore. Follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest for more tips and inspiration for living a balanced life.


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