Food & Drink

While you’re grilling your Fourth of July burgers, throw some sides on the grill, too

Grilling fruit helps bring out their natural sugars.
Grilling fruit helps bring out their natural sugars. MCT

This Fourth of July holiday weekend, try grilling something different. Most have already planned for burgers and brats, but try grilling all of your sides, too, for a change of pace.

You might wonder what type of sides can be grilled. The sky’s the limit, really. Some of our grilled favorite sides are shishito peppers, portobello mushrooms, corn on the cobb, bacon-wrapped jalapeños, romaine lettuce, pineapple and peaches. When exploring different things to throw on the grill, remember a few things: Unlike your meats, these foods don’t have naturally occurring fat (other than the bacon). Lightly spray or brush high heat oil on whatever delicious item you’re grilling to keep it from sticking to the grill.

Also keep in mind what you’re grilling. For example the romaine lettuce can only take a minute or two on each side for a slight char. Cut the head of lettuce in half lengthwise so there’s a flat surface to make grill marks. Serve with Caesar dressing, a recipe for which I’ve included below.

For the shishito peppers, spray or brush lightly with oil, add a bit of desired seasoning and slightly char on the grill, then finish with a squeeze of lime. If you haven’t tried shishito peppers, you should. A lot of people haven’t had them before, and these peppers are a crowd pleaser. You eat them by hand, biting off the pepper and discarding the stem. Shishitos are mostly mild, though occasionally you’ll find one with a tiny bit of heat. Plus, it’s just fun to say – shi-shi-to. You can find them at Sprouts or Whole Foods, and maybe other grocers.

Grilling is also a great way to prepare fruit. It gives it a slight grilled flavor and brings out the natural sugar in the fruit. Peaches and pineapple happen to be favorites –– you can eat them plain, use them as ingredients on a salad, or chop them up to make a salsa.

Bacon-wrapped jalapeños make an incredible appetizer. You can stuff them with cheese or chorizo or just wrap them halved. Bacon truly makes everything taste good, so this is a great option for a barbecue side this holiday weekend.

Whatever you grill, I hope you don’t run out of propane, your burgers are cooked to perfection, your sides surprise your guests and you make memorable times with family and friends. Happy Fourth of July!

Adriene Rathbun is an enthusiastic Wichita cook who offers cooking classes through her business, Social. Reach her at or

Caesar Salad Dressing

2 tablespoons fresh garlic, minced

1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, divided use

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 egg yolk

2 teaspoons anchovy paste or minced canned anchovies

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

1 cup good olive oil

Put garlic, 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese, the Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, lemon juice, egg yolk, anchovy paste, salt and pepper in a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth, about 10 seconds. With the motor running, add oil in a thin stream until its fully incorporated.

Source: Celebrating the Seasons at Westerbeke Ranch