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If you haven’t brought out the barbecue yet this season, the weekend (or any time!) is the perfect chance. But, grilling staples like fish and meat aren’t the only things your barbecue is good for. From breakfast to dessert, try tossing some of these unexpected items on for your next gathering!

Peaches and nectarines. When you cook stone fruit on the barbecue, it’s just like eating pie filling! Cut each in half, and remove the pit. Coat with butter and brown sugar, and place flesh-down on the grill. Pro tip: drizzle on your favorite honey. Serve as pudding or as a sweet complement to a savoury meal.

Bananas. Grilled bananas are the perfect way to update classic banana splits – split down the center, grill skin-on and top with ice cream. Or, smear in a dollop of your favourite chocolate spread. For a delicious, filling snack, spoon in your favourite nut butter instead.

Feeling more adventurous? Swap bananas for plantains – you’ll want to halve them and remove the stem and tip, then grill open-side down. Brush with honey, cinnamon or a dusting of sugar before you spoon out the indulgent center!

Grilled pineapple. Slice into rings and grill to add a tropical flair to burgers, thin-sliced steak, or pork entrees.

Grilled watermelon. Grill slices, then chop up into a watermelon salad. Sprinkle with feta, or mix with cucumber, radish and basil for an unexpected side that’s perfect to bring to the next summer picnic.

Grilled Watermelon

Via minidesastre / creative commons

Seared avocado. Skip the toast and try searing it on the barbecue! Cut in half, remove the pit, brush with olive oil and sear open-side down for 5-7 minutes. Top with tomatoes (bonus if you char them on the grill as well), drizzle with tahini or sprinkle with herbs or seeds to play with texture.

Grilled artichokes. Grilled artichokes may look (and taste) impressive, but they require very little prep. To get them going, steam or boil in hot water to begin cooking. Once they’ve softened, trim the ends of the stems, halve, brush with olive oil and toss on the grill with salt and pepper to finish them off. Serve with an aioli!

Grilled poblano peppers. Make it an entree by splitting, grilling and filling with melty cheese, shredded meat and chopped tomatoes for a twist on stuffed peppers.

Potato wedges. A healthier update to fries, grill up wedges of golden or sweet potatoes. Sprinkle with salt, and add chili flakes for a spicy kick! For something sweeter, sweet potato wedges and blondie spread are a surprisingly satisfying combination (trust us!).

Grilled bread. It’s no secret we’re all about good bread – and grilling up slices introduces a whole new, smoky flavour. Grill slices to dip, use as a tartine or toast base – just add some good butter and sea salt.

Cake. In the same vein, amp up simple cake – like a sponge cake– by grilling slices. Simmer your favourite berries in a saucepan for a sweet reduction sauce, and voila!

Lead photo via Mike McCune / creative commons

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