15 Jewish Recipes for Your Summer Cookout

Kate Bigam Kaput

Fire up the grill, it’s cookout season! Take your picnics and parties to the next level with these recipes for Jewishly inspired foods that are perfect for the grill.

Meat Entrées

If you’re planning a menu for carnivores, try one of these Jewishly influences recipes for kabobs and other grilled meats as the focal point of your meal:

  • Go traditional by grilling steaks – but give it a twist with this recipe for Grilled Steak with Chimichurri Sauce and Orange Slices. The use of sherry vinegar, cumin, and oranges speaks volumes about the Iberian influence on the cooking of South America.
  • Shishlik, a simple method of preparing kabobs on an open grill, goes back to ancient biblical times. To this day, Israelis tend to prefer their meat prepared in this manner. Shishlik is one of the most popular dishes requested at restaurants.
  • Speaking of kabobs, these Moroccan Chicken Kabobs are perfect as part of an assortment of small plates or on a bed of couscous. This method of cooking and the use of spice demonstrate the recipe’s migration westward with the Moors.
  • Sate is the shawarma of Indonesia. Skewers of Sate Manis, marinated cubes of meat, are favorite street and snack foods in Jakarta. This delicious recipe fuses Near and Far East ingredients.
  • Throw chicken breasts on the grill to make Grilled Chicken Breasts with Sofrito, a tomato- and pepper-based sauce loaded with spices. This recipe originated from the cooks at Adath Israel, a small, vibrant Orthodox synagogue established by Polish Jews in the 1920s.

Fish Entrées

Take your cookout the healthier route with these recipes centered around seafood:

  • To create a little excitement on your grill, make this Grilled Fish with Spice Rub, which captures the tantalizing taste of the Near East. Use a fillet of fish, such as swordfish, halibut, tuna, or salmon, and create a spice rub that includes peppercorns, pistachios, ginger, coriander, and more.
  • Though this recipe for Salmon with Pink Peppercorn Citrus Sauce has lots of ingredients, it’s easy to make. Serve the sauce with a side of salmon, poached or grilled. Make everything in advance, then mix the fruits with the sauce at the last minute to wow your guests.
  • Packed with fresh herbs, these Israeli Fish Kebabs with Yellow Tahini Yogurt Sauce are bursting with flavor. There are no binding ingredients, like eggs, so the secret is to knead the mixture like dough to break down the proteins.

Vegetarian Entrées

Vegetarians and meat-eaters alike will love these recipes for healthy, veggie-centric dishes:

  • Combine two of the most American food traditions – grilling out and eating pizza – with this simple recipe for Barbecued Pizza. After adults do the grilling, kids can do the decorating to create a dinner that looks just as good as it tastes.
  • This Vegan Mediterranean Grilled Tofu recipe combines both cooked and raw vegan items, including some of the most flavorful ingredients in the Mediterranean cuisine. The sauce is heavy on tamari, and the tofu is topped with artichokes, olives, and others flavorful additions.
  • Skewer these BBQ Tempeh Kabobs with cherry tomatoes and chunks of red onion, green pepper, and portabello mushrooms for a healthy vegan dish that’s full of veggies and bursting with flavor.

Sides and Desserts

Looking for the perfect dish to accompany your grilled goodies? Try these salads, sides, and sweet treats.

  • Whip up a simple and refreshing batch of Israeli Salad, which is so subjective to the taste of its chef that it barely needs a recipe.
  • This vibrant Ottoman Watermelon and Olive Salad is delicious any time of year, but it’s especially perfect when watermelon is at its sweetest – which happens to be right about now. 
  • The original Caprese salad is a staple at every Roman Jewish restaurant I visited. The addition of pasta in this recipe for Pasta with Salsa Cruda makes a hearty main dish or side for fish.
  • This recipe for Homemade Banana Pudding is a staple at URJ Jacobs Camp, a Reform Jewish summer camp in Utica, MS. Campers eat banana pudding on opening night, then again on closing night for a final sweet taste of summer.