Get Grilling. Get Gathering.

In case you hadn’t heard, it’s officially grilling season and time to kick off a few months of outdoor entertaining.

Loyal readers will already know that I love dishing up an al fresco feast, be it a taco bar, a canoe buffet or a pie social. There are no limitations when you set a table outdoors; you can always add a few more chairs (as I do for my harvest dinners) and create a generous centerpiece -or three- out of wildflowers.

We recently gathered around the barbecue on my sister’s back deck and watched her and hubby Mike grill spiced kofta, colourful vegetable kebabs and soft pita bread. Grilling is such a spectator sport, isn’t it? The glowing coals are memerizing, the scents are enticing and there’s always action on the grill; of course people congregate here.

Naturally, the food was excellent, and I so enjoyed this deviation from the standard burgers and buns fare (although we love those too!) that I vowed to recreate the whole menu again for a future gathering of my own. And then I thought that if I appreciated the inspiration,  you might too.

Grilled kofta tablescape | outdoor entertaining

So here is my sister’s menu, captured only by iPhone, alas, but I wasn’t about to be that guest who lets food get cold and wine get warm. No sir. I snapped a few photos with my phone and we immediately tucked into dinner on that warm Saturday evening.

Summer Grilling Menu with Friends

Here’s a modern Mediterranean-inspired menu that features fresh ingredients and simple preparation. It’s great for 4 or more people and much of it can be prepared in advance.

Strawberry Lemonade – I make a concentrate with fresh berries and freshly-squeezed lime juice in advance, then mix it with ice water just before serving. Get the recipe >> Strawberry Limeade Concentrate

Greek Salad – As tomatoes and cucumbers start coming into season, this is a summery salad everyone loves. My version is so simple, even the kids can make it. Get the recipe >> Easy Greek Salad

Tabbouleh Salad – Fresh parsley, lemon juice, a touch of mint and chewy grains make up another popular summer salad, Tabbouleh. This one pairs particularly well with the kofta. Make it with traditional bulgher or try it with quinoa or cous cous. Get the recipe >> Kale Tabbouleh with Cucumber, Mint and Garlic Scapes

Spiced Beef Kofta – Spice up the beef or lamb and assemble the kofta a few hours in advance. The grill them up quickly on a charcoal grill for maximum smoky flavour. I like this recipe from the girls at The Modern Proper >> Beef Kofta Kebabs

Grilled dinner al fresco tablescape

Hummus – A condiment essential to this feast. Buy a tub of your favorite brand or whip up a batch in the food processor. I like adding roasted vegetables to mine for extra flavour. Get the recipe >> Roasted Rutabaga Hummus

Tzatziki – Another condiment that is easy to make at home. Try the recipe from my friend Shaina >> Homemade Tzatziki

Grilled Pita – Brush a few whole wheat pitas with garlic-infused olive oil and grill them for a few seconds per side. Then wrap them in a tea towel to keep warm. Delicious torn and dipped in the hummus or tzztziki. Get the recipe >> Garlic-Oregano Grilled Pita Bread

Grilled Vegetable Kabobs – You don’t need a recipe for these – just try to eat the rainbow. Purple onion, red tomatoes, orange bell pepper, green or yellow zucchini, white mushrooms, etc. Soak bamboo skewers over night in water and thred the vegetables on for grilling. This is a fun job for kids! If you really want a recipe, this one from Chungah of Damn Delicious is about the prettiest I have ever seen.

So there you have it! Plenty of inspiration for your next gathering around the grill. Find more ideas like this on my Pinterest board Simple Summer Entertaining.

Happy grilling and gathering!

About Aimee

Cooking has always been Aimée's preferred recreational activity, creative outlet, and source of relaxation. After nearly ten years in the professional cooking industry, she went from restaurant to RSS by trading her tongs and clogs for cookie cutters and a laptop, serving as editor here at Simple Bites. Her first book, Brown Eggs and Jam Jars - Family Recipes from the Kitchen of Simple Bites, was published in February 2015.

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  1. Oh my goodness, talk about a perfect spread! I don’t even know where to begin everything looks so amazing.

  2. McKenzie says

    I love when you post full menus like this! How veggie-centric and yummy everything looks. Love it.

  3. Happy Mum says

    Gorgeous! Tiny typo: glowing coals are mesmerizing (not memorizing). I really enjoy your blog — well done!

  4. What perfect timing. I’m compiling ideas to take on an RV road trip and this is a perfect menu to include!
    I wonder if the beef Kofta kabobs could be made with lamb or a combination? Seems like the flavor would be even better, if you like lamb, like I do. I think I will try making and freezing and then pulling them out to thaw on the grill when camping.
    Thank you!

  5. hey girl it all looks so yummy!

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