Non-Traditional Grilled Sides for Memorial Day

We love serving up a few non-traditional grilled sides for Memorial Day. It surprises people and adds dimension to your menu, highlighting the traditional dishes we love by adding in new experiences. And with grilling, it’s so easy and fun to try new things – so let’s get a little out of the box this Memorial Day.


These may just be better than the main event – be careful if you’re bringing any of these to a gathering, you might just upstage the hostess. Unless she’s grilling ribs, in which case, she wins.


non traditional grilled sides polenta bruschetta

1.Grilled Polenta Bruschetta: Make your own or used pre-cooked polenta and slice 1/2 inch thick, coat with olive oil, salt and pepper (use a garlic, herbed or spicy salt mix if you want a little extra punch) grill on an open, medium-hot grill for about 3 minutes per side, until they are crispy and golden. Top with mozzarella, tomatoes, basil, olives, prosciutto – really any topping you like – or you can make a traditional bruschetta topping of Roma tomatoes, basil, balsamic, salt and pepper. 

2. Grilled Avocado: Cut avocados in half, toss the pit, coat open sides lightly with olive oil, salt and pepper (or lemon pepper) and grill them face down for a few minutes until they are charred and smoky. Top with a dollop of salsa, hot sauce, mayo and lemon juice, or lemon pepper. You can also scoop and use for guacamole.

3. Grilled Sweet Potato Fries: Cut sweet potatoes into wedges if you’re placing straight on the grill – if using a basket, you can cut into the long, skinny traditional fry shape, brush with olive oil, salt and pepper and grill on medium with the grill open, for a couple of minutes on each side (two, three or four, depending on how you cut them). Fries may cook at different rates, so just pick off as each is ready. They’re done when all sides are golden brown with visible grill marks.


grilled watermelon salad

4. Grilled Watermelon: Cut 3/4 inch thick wedges of watermelon with the rind still on and grill them for 3 minutes on each side or until grill marks appear. You can get fancy and make a little pre-brill sweet or savory rub for your melon. We like salt, sugar, lime or orange zest and red pepper flakes; or brown sugar, orange and cumin. Serve on their own, with mint garnish, cut and toss into a salad or serve on skewers with mint and cubed feta.

5. Grilled Fruit Skewers (and by fruit, we mean sweet fruit not cukes, tomatoes and bell peppers): Thread chunks of your favorite fruits onto skewers (soak them in water for 20 minutes while you’re cutting the fruit so they don’t catch on fire), coat with coconut oil (and a bit of sugar if you like things really sweet) and grill them for 2-3 minutes on all four sides until they are tender and lightly browned. We love pineapple, peach, plum, pear and of course, watermelon. Serve as a side, as a dessert on their own, or with ice cream, cheesecake or angel food cake.

These are just five of our favorite non-traditional grilled sides for Memorial Day. We’d love to see what you grill up. Tag us @hassettacehardware.
Happy grilling!