SSummer grilling is in full swing and with it comes the usual rotation of charred vegetables, your family’s famous pasta salad and bowls of potato chips. You gravitate towards the classics year after year, and for good reason. But if you want a menu with a bit more punch, take this (actually simple, seriously nourishing) advice from a chef at heart.
For chef and food stylist Carla Contreras, it all starts with seasonal ingredients. “Foods that grow together usually go together,” she says. “Tomatoes, peaches, green beans and corn. I love using local produce as the star for my summer barbecues, grilled vegetable salads, and even desserts.
From there, the key is a well-stocked condiment cabinet. “Mayonnaise and ketchup are staples in my fridge,” says Contreras. “They are part of my family’s food history and they help us create memories that will be remembered for generations to come.” For high-quality ingredients, no added sugar, and flavors she knows her friends and family will love, Contreras opts for Primal Kitchen’s full line of condiments, sauces, dressings, and dips to enhance her spread.
“When adding condiments, sauces, and dips, play with opposites like salty and sweet,” she recommends. “That’s why burgers and ketchup are a classic combination. Don’t be afraid to experiment, you never know unless you try!”
From grilled fish to black bean burgers, see how she enhances each dish with awesome condiment pairings below and get ready to experiment.
Scroll down for summer grilling recipes and their inspired condiment pairings.
Contreras combines Chipotle Lime Mayo with chopped cilantro and cotija cheese, melts it over grilled corn cobs and garnishes the finished product with lime wedges. For a deconstructed alternative, serve hot, fresh corn with your homemade dip on the side. “Food is always more fun to eat when you play with flavors and textures,” says Contreras. Charred vegetables, meet a crisp and tangy dip.
2. Boiled Eggs + Spicy Mustard = Deviled Eggs
These deviled eggs evoke the nostalgia of summer with an unexpected touch of smoke and acidity. Mix hard-boiled egg yolks with chipotle lime mayonnaise, spicy brown mustard and vinegar, then go crazy for the topping. “Fresh herbs are abundant during the summer and another way to elevate your food,” says Contreras. “Try adding fresh basil, mint, chives, thyme, or oregano to your recipes.”
3. Potatoes + Mayo = Potato Salad
For a hearty side dish, toss boiled potatoes with a creamy Greek yogurt and mayonnaise dressing and top with tons of these fresh herbs. “It doesn’t take much to create delicious dishes. To add [basics like] salt, pepper and a touch of acid like lemon juice or vinegar will really make your food stand out,” says Contreras. “It also makes condiments, sauces and dip flavors sing.” You strength just give this old family recipe a run for its money.
4. Black Beans + Quinoa + Ketchup = Black Bean Burgers
Remember Contreras’ theory that opposite flavors attract? You’ll delight every palate on your patio with plant-based burgers (think beans, quinoa, almond flour, and a touch of soy) and organic ketchup, which together do just that. Primal Kitchen’s unsweetened option delivers iconic summer flavor with no added sugar, and the new squeeze bottle makes for a super easy, no-mess second (and third) serving.
5. Grilled Fish + Jalapeño Lime Mayo = Spicy Grilled Fish Salad
Above all, summer is about making memories. “I crave nostalgic recipes my mom used to make when I was growing up (that I make now for my kids),” Contreras says. His mother’s tuna salad ranks first on the list. For a twist, she likes to mix grilled tuna, salmon, or sea bass with Jalapeño Lime Mayo (find the all-vegetable dip in the refrigerated aisle), citrus juice, salt, and pepper.
Pro tip: Before lighting the fire, generously coat your grills or pan with a spray of avocado oil. The high smoke point and even coating create a crispy texture and those beautiful restaurant-style grill marks. Backyard bistro, open for business.
Primal Kitchen is giving Well + Good readers 20% off sitewide with code WELLGOOD20. Stock up before your next summer barbecue.
Top photo: Primal Kitchen & W+G Creative