Ever wonder why grilling and Father's Day go hand in hand?

Maybe it's the chance to spend quality time outdoors with family. Or because it's an efficient way to prepare a meal without heating up the house. It could also be because it's a hobby that many cooks enjoy.

Whatever the reason, Father's Day remains one of the most popular grilling days of the year, with more than 34% of households partaking, according to the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association. The HPBA also found that cooks' experimentation with global flavors is making its way to the backyard. So, too, is the desire for healthier proteins as more shrimp, scallops and salmon sizzle on grills. And with food prices a concern for many households, grillers are embracing more affordable options, including vegetables and whole grains.

While you can't go wrong with grilled (insert your favorite meat here), shellfish, sides and desserts all benefit from flame-kissed cooking, too, as today's recipes demonstrate.

After a quick dip in marinade, grilled shrimp makes quick work out of dinner and charred bok choy becomes the star of a salad — but is also tasty on its own. Round out the meal by grilling stone fruit, in this case plums, which caramelize over the flames. Served with a spiced mascarpone, fruit ends dinner on a sweet note.

It's a meal that's not too heavy as the days get warmer, and will leave you with plenty of energy to continue that riveting game of corn hole.

Garlic and Herb Grilled Shrimp with Dill Yogurt

Serves 4.

This is a dinner party favorite. Grilled shrimp skewers are easy to knock out while getting things ready for guests to arrive, and they are without fail a winner with kids as well as adults. I always like to make the marinade right before grilling the shrimp so the flavors are robust, but it can be made in advance, if needed. Don't marinate the shrimp for too long, or you'll end up with ceviche, as the acid in the marinade denatures the proteins and "cooks" the shrimp instead of adding flavor and tenderizing the seafood. You'll love the char from the fire on the shrimp and the garlicky, herbal notes that come through from the marinade. From "Thoughtful Cooking: Recipes Rooted in the New South," by William Dissen (Countryman, 2024).

For the dill yogurt:

• 1/2 c. Greek yogurt

• 1/4 c. finely chopped dill

• 1 tbsp. mayonnaise

• 1/2 tsp. lemon zest

• 1 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice

• 1/2 tsp. kosher salt, plus extra to taste

• 1/4 tsp. paprika

• Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

• 1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

For the shrimp:

• 6 (12-in.) wooden skewers

• 1/4 c. extra-virgin olive oil

• 1 tbsp. minced garlic

• 1 tbsp. finely chopped parsley

• 1 tbsp. finely chopped basil

• 1 tsp. lemon zest

• 1/2 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice

• 1/2 tbsp. orange zest

• 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

• 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes

• 1/2 tsp. paprika, divided

• 1/2 tsp. kosher salt

• 1 lb. (21/25 count) shrimp, peeled and deveined (see tip)

• Blended oil for the grill

• 1 lemon, cut into wedges

• 10 to 20 dill sprigs


To prepare the dill yogurt: Place the yogurt, dill, mayonnaise, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt and paprika into a small bowl and whisk to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed with black pepper and salt. Transfer to a serving dish, drizzle with olive oil, cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

To prepare the shrimp: Soak 12 6-inch skewers in warm water for 30 minutes.

Place the olive oil, garlic, parsley, basil, lemon zest, lemon juice, orange zest, black pepper, red pepper flakes, 1/4 teaspoon of the paprika, and salt in a medium bowl and whisk to combine. Remove one-quarter of the marinade for use after grilling.

Add the shrimp to the bowl and gently toss to coat with the marinade. Refrigerate 20 to 25 minutes. While the shrimp are marinating, preheat a grill to medium-high heat (about 450 degrees).

Skewer the shrimp, two per skewer, through the tail end and head end of the shrimp to make a "half-moon." Place the skewers onto a sheet tray and spoon the marinade over the shrimp. Sprinkle the shrimp with kosher salt.

Brush the grill with the blended oil. Lay the skewers on the grill and cook until golden, 3 to 4 minutes. Turn the skewers over and grill until just cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes.

Remove the shrimp to a serving platter and sprinkle with the remaining paprika. Spoon the reserved marinade over the shrimp, garnish with the lemon wedges and dill, and serve with the yogurt.

Shrimp tip: While it's easy to get frozen or shelled shrimp, go with the biggest, most beautiful head-on shrimp you can find. I like to cook the shrimp with the shells still on, as it protects the flesh and adds even more flavor. The shrimp are equally great shelled, but it's important that you do it yourself so you know you're getting the freshest shrimp you can find. If you do peel your shrimp, save the shells for shrimp stock by placing them into a zip-top bag and storing them in the freezer.

Charred Bok Choy and Cannellini Bean Salad

Serves 4.

This recipe breaks bok choy out of its steamed and stir-fried box, demonstrating how well it responds to charring. Don't be afraid to cook bok choy aggressively; the stalks are robust and remain crisp while becoming smoky and sweet. Baby bok choy can be used, too, but the leaves are much smaller and more tender, so simply slice them through the middle lengthwise. Other sturdy greens like gai lan (sometimes called Chinese broccoli) or cabbages will also work. The punchy dressing is sweet and acidic, given heat and spice from the grated ginger, while tart rice vinegar cuts through the richness of the maple syrup. (It's equally lovely with cold soba.) Adapted from Hetty Lui McKinnon, New York Times.

For the ginger-maple dressing:

• 1 (1-in.) piece fresh ginger, finely grated

• 1 clove garlic, grated

• 2 tbsp. rice vinegar

• 2 tbsp. maple syrup

• 4 tsp. sesame oil

• Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the salad:

• 2 lb. bok choy (about 2 large bunches), rinsed and patted dry

• Extra-virgin olive oil

• 2 (15-oz.) cans cannellini beans, rinsed

• 1 big handful cilantro, chopped

• 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper

• 1 to 2 tbsp. toasted white sesame seeds


To prepare the dressing: Place the ginger, garlic, rice vinegar, maple syrup and sesame oil in a small bowl; whisk to combine. Season well with salt and pepper.

To prepare the bok choy: Preheat grill to medium heat. Trim the base of the bok choy and slice bok choy in half.

Brush both sides of the bok choy with oil, and season with salt and pepper. Place bok choy diagonally on grill grates, cover, and grill for 3 to 4 minutes, until char starts to form. Flip and grill for another 3 to 4 minutes, until charred and crisp-tender.

Remove from grill, and let cool slightly before roughly chopping into a large serving bowl.

Add the cannellini beans to the bok choy and pour in the dressing. Add the cilantro and toss to combine. Taste and season with salt and pepper. To serve, top with crushed red pepper and sesame seeds.

Grilled Plums with Spiced Mascarpone

Serves 4.

Sometimes the best desserts are the simplest. Since you've already got your grill fired up, why not make a casual dessert that everyone is sure to love? And what's even better is that you can whip up this recipe in no time at all. Stone fruit was made for the grill. Charring sweet, ripe stone fruit like plums or peaches really sets off their flavor. Top each plum with a spoonful of wildflower honey, a dollop of spiced mascarpone, and some crunchy hazelnuts and you're ready to look like a star when you bring this dessert to the table. From "Thoughtful Cooking: Recipes Rooted in the New South," by William Dissen (Countryman, 2024).

• 1 c. mascarpone cheese, room temperature

• 1/4 c. heavy cream, room temperature

• 1/4 c. plus 1 tbsp. wildflower honey, divided

• 1/2 tsp. ground sumac

• 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

• 1/4 tsp. ground cloves

• 1/4 tsp. kosher salt

• 4 black plums, cut in half and pitted

• 2 tbsp. canola oil

• 1/4 c. toasted, finely chopped hazelnuts

• 1/2 bunch lemon balm or mint leaves


Place the mascarpone in a small bowl, add the heavy cream a little at a time, and slowly whisk to combine. Add 1 tablespoon honey, sumac, black pepper, cloves and salt and gently whisk to combine. Set aside until ready to use.

Heat a grill, or grill pan, over high heat.

Place the plums and the oil in a small bowl and toss to combine. Place the plums onto the grill and cook until they have golden brown grill marks, 2 to 3 minutes. Turn the plums 90 degrees and grill for another 2 minutes.

Divide the plums among four plates and drizzle with the remaining 1/4 cup of wildflower honey. Place a dollop of the mascarpone on each plum, sprinkle on the hazelnuts and lemon balm, and serve immediately.