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Three Grilled Salad Recipes for Summer Entertaining

The season of long days and warm evenings is upon us, and it’s the perfect time to fire up the grill and host a backyard barbecue. While hot dogs and hamburgers are barbecue staples, they’re far from the only items that are best served grilled. We’ve rounded up 3 grilled salad recipes that are perfect for summer entertaining.

Grilled Watermelon Salad

This recipe transforms your summer watermelon into a savory dish. It may seem unexpected, but it is such a crowd pleaser during the warm summer months. If you’re planning to bring it to a summer potluck or barbecue, it can also be made on small skewers to transform it into an appetizer.

Recipe adapted from Food Network


  • 1/2 (5-pound) seedless watermelon
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • California Olive Ranch extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 cups fresh baby arugula, washed and dried
  • 1 cup goat cheese, crumbled
  • Fresh finely cracked black pepper


  1. Stand the watermelon half cut side down on a cutting board and slice away the rind, leaving a solid block of melon.
  2. Turn the block on its side and cut it into 8 squares, roughly 3 by 3 inches and 1-inch thick.
  3. Pour the vinegar into a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Cook until reduced to a thick syrup consistency. Set aside.
  4. Heat a nonstick grill pan over medium-high heat. Drizzle Extra Virgin Olive Oil over watermelon slices to thinly coat and place on hot grill pan. Grill each side about 2 minutes until grill marks appear; transfer to a plate and season with salt.
  5. To assemble the salads, put about 1/4 cup of baby arugula on a serving plate, followed by a grilled slice of watermelon in the center, and top with a tablespoon of crumbled cheese and 1/4 cup arugula. Add another watermelon slice and another tablespoon of cheese. Repeat with remaining ingredients. Finish each salad with a light drizzle of olive oil and balsamic syrup. Dust with black pepper and serve immediately.

Charred and Raw Corn Salad

This easy corn salad pairs well with other grilled dishes or stands alone as the perfect summer snack. It also keeps for several days in the fridge, making it a great option to make ahead of time to bring out at your next BBQ.

Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit


  • 4 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, divided
  •  6 ears of corn, husked
  • 1 small shallot, cut into rings
  • 1 red chile (Fresno or red jalapeño), sliced into rings
  • 5 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • Kosher salt
  • 3 Tbsp. whole-milk Greek yogurt
  • 1 oz. finely grated Parmesan (about 3 Tbsp.), plus more for serving
  • ½ cup cilantro leaves with tender stems, coarsely chopped, divided


  1. Brush 2 ears of corn with extra virgin olive oil and grill
  2. Mix shallot, chile, lime juice, and remaining 3 Tbsp. oil in a medium bowl; season with salt. Let sit at least 5 minutes or up to 1 hour to let shallot soften slightly.
  3. Remove corn from grill and slice all kernels off the cobs
  4. Add charred corn, remaining corn kernels, yogurt, 1 oz. Parmesan, and half of cilantro; season with salt. Toss to combine.
  5.  Top corn salad with more Parmesan and remaining cilantro just before serving.

Grilled Caesar Salad

Elevate a simple Caesar salad by tossing it on the grill to add some char and smokiness. This grilled Caesar salad is the perfect side dish to accompany grilled meats, but it can easily be transformed into the main dish by adding the protein of your choice.

Recipe adapted from NYT Cooking

For the dressing:

  • clove garlic, peeled and minced
  • 4  anchovy fillets, rinsed and minced
  • egg yolks
  • teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • ¾  cup extra virgin olive oil
  • tbs Worcestershire sauce
  • tbs red-wine vinegar
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

For the vinaigrette:

  • tbs lime zest
  • lime, juiced, approximately 2 tbs
  • tbs white balsamic vinegar
  • ½  cup extra virgin olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


  • 2  tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • 2  heads romaine lettuce, tops and bottoms trimmed neatly, the heads cut lengthwise into quarters
  • ½  cup grated Parmesan cheese


  1. Make the Caesar dressing: Put the minced garlic into a medium bowl, and add the minced anchovies. Using a whisk, mix and mash these ingredients together until they form a paste. Add the egg yolks and the mustard, and begin to whisk them with the paste. Add a small stream of olive oil while continuing to whisk. Add more olive oil, whisking all the while, until the dressing begins to emulsify. Add the Worcestershire sauce, and continue to whisk until the dressing achieves a mayonnaise-like consistency. Add the red-wine vinegar, whisk to combine, then season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  2. To make the vinaigrette: Combine the lime zest, lime juice, balsamic vinegar and oil in another small bowl, and whisk to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  3. Making the salad: Drizzle the olive oil over the quartered heads of lettuce. Lightly grill these over a low fire for 15 to 20 seconds on each side, until they have a light goldenness, and remove to a platter. Using a pastry brush or a small spoon, paint the Caesar dressing over the lettuce, making sure to get dressing between the leaves. Return lettuces to edges of grill, sprinkle with Parmesan and cover for 30 seconds to allow the cheese to soften and toast. Remove lettuce to a platter, and drizzle with lime vinaigrette. Serve two pieces each, alongside a steak.

We hope you enjoy these recipes! If you make any of them, share them with us on social media by tagging us @CAoliveranch. Happy grilling!


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