Grill Scouts: Don’t wait until tomato season to have bruschetta

There’s a reason that tomatoes are the perennial farmers market favorite. They lend a sweet, meaty flavor and color to any meal, and require little more than a quick chop to become dinner. But although there’s something great about the singular tomato-basil bruschetta, there are countless other ways to make a meal using early-season favorites instead—all on the grill. Faintly sweet summer squash and asparagus caramelize alongside halved lemons; combined with a crumble of feta, it yields a savory topping that is equally good heaped onto grilled baguette as it is straight out of the bowl. The richness of avocado paired with spicy radishes, and cool smoked trout yields a bruschetta that comes together faster than the grill heats up. When fresh strawberries are available, a quick toss in a grill-warmed pan with a little maple sugar gives them campfire flavor, creating a glossy sauce that, when splashed over a triple cream cheese, could compete with our love of tomatoes any day. 

Grilled Asparagus & Zucchini Bruschetta with Charred Lemon
½ pound asparagus
1 pound zucchini or other summer squash
1 ½ lemons
6 scallions
½ cup feta, crumbled
1 clove garlic, halved
Baguette or other 
crusty bread
Black pepper
Olive oil
  • Heat grill to high heat. 
  • Halve lemon and drizzle cut side with olive oil. Wash asparagus and snap off stem ends. Trim scallions and, if bigger in diameter than a dime, halve longways to create a flat side. Slice zucchini and summer squash into planks the width of a pencil. Toss squash with a tablespoon of olive oil and pinch of salt and pepper. In a separate bowl, toss asparagus and scallions with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt.
  • Place lemon, cut side down, and sliced squash on the preheated grill. Grill squash 4 minutes, rotating 90 degrees halfway through to create grill marks. Flip.
  • Once squash has flipped, add asparagus and scallions to the grill. Grill all produce an additional 4 minutes until pleasantly charred in places. 
  • Remove squash, lemons, asparagus and scallions from the grill to a cutting board and allow to cool slightly. 
  • Squeeze juice from charred lemons into a measuring cup and add the equivalent amount of extra virgin olive oil. Stir to combine.
  • Chop vegetables together and add half of lemon-olive oil mixture, tossing to combine. 
  • Halve baguette longways or slice bread thickly. Grill until charred. Remove from grill and rub each slice with halved garlic clove. Top bread with vegetable mixture. Drizzle remaining lemon-olive oil mixture over top and serve. 


Smoked Trout, Radish & Avocado Bruschetta

1 large avocado, halved
1 filet of smoked trout, flaked
½ bunch radishes thinly sliced
Baguette or other crusty bread
Extra virgin olive oil
Black pepper
Pinch of salt

  • Heat grill to high heat. 
  • Halve baguette longways or slice bread thickly. Grill until charred in places.
  • Mash half of the avocado and spread onto the bread; slice remaining half. 
  • Top the bread with sliced avocado, radishes and flaked trout. Grind black pepper over top and drizzle with olive oil to serve.


Grill-Roasted Strawberry Bruschetta

1 quart strawberries
2 tablespoons maple sugar
Optional: sherry vinegar or
lemon zest
8 oz. mascarpone or a triple cream cheese, such as Delice de Bourgogne
Baguette, halved or other crusty bread, sliced

  • Heat grill to high heat 
  • and preheat an 8” cast iron skillet along grill. 
  • Quarter or slice strawberries into a bowl with maple sugar, and toss to combine. 
  • When the grill and skillet are hot, add strawberries, stirring. The berries will sizzle and char, releasing liquid as they cook. Cook 4 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until 
  • berries appear slumped and liquid has thickened slightly. 
  • While berries cook, grill baguette until charred. Remove from grill and spread thickly with mascarpone or triple cream cheese. 
  • Remove strawberries from heat and spoon over baguette. If desired, top with lemon zest or a drizzle of sherry or vinegar.

 Emily Teel is a food freelancer dedicated to sustainable, delicious food in Philadelphia. See more of her work at