For chef and food stylist Carla Contreras, it all starts with seasonal ingredients. “Food that grows together usually goes together,” she says. “Tomatoes, peaches, green beans, and corn. I love using local produce as the star for my summer barbecues, from salads to grilled veggies, and even desserts.”
From there, the key is a stocked condiment cabinet. "Mayonnaise and ketchup are staples in my fridge," says Contreras. "They are part of my family’s food story and they help us create the memories that will be remembered for generations to come." For high-quality ingredients, no added sugar, and flavors she knows her friends and fam will love, Contreras opts for Primal Kitchen’s full suite of condiments, sauces, dressings, and dips to upgrade her spread.
"When adding condiments, sauces, and dips, play with opposites like savory and sweet," she recommends. "This is why hamburgers and ketchup are a classic combination. Don't be afraid to experiment, you never know unless you try!"
From grilled fish to black bean burgers, find out how she upgrades each dish with genius condiment pairings below—and get ready to experiment.
Scroll down for summer grilling recipes and their inspired condiment pairings.
1. Grilled Corn + Chipotle Lime Mayo = Elotes
Contreras combines Chipotle Lime Mayo with chopped cilantro and cotija cheese, melts it over ears of grilled corn, and garnishes the finished product with lime wedges. For a deconstructed alternative, serve corn warm and off the cob with your homemade dipping sauce on the side. “Food is always more fun to eat when you play with flavor and textures,” says Contreras. Charred veggies, meet crisp and zingy dip.
2. Hard-Boiled Eggs + Spicy Mustard = Deviled Eggs
These deviled eggs evoke summertime nostalgia with an unexpected hint of smoke and tanginess. Mix hard-boiled yolks with Chipotle Lime Mayo, Spicy Brown Mustard, and vinegar—and then go garnish-crazy. “Fresh herbs are plentiful during the summer and another way to elevate your food,” says Contreras. “Try adding fresh basil, mint, chives, thyme, or oregano to your recipes.”
3. Potatoes + Mayo = Potato Salad
For a hearty side dish, toss boiled potatoes with a creamy Greek yogurt-mayonnaise dressing and top with tons of those fresh herbs. “It doesn't take a lot to create food that is delicious. Adding [basics like] salt, pepper, and a pop of acid like lemon juice or vinegar will really make your food stand out,” says Contreras. “It also makes the condiments, sauces, and dips’ flavors sing.” You might just give that old family recipe a run for its money.
4. Black Beans + Quinoa + Ketchup = Black Bean Burgers
Remember Contreras' theory that flavor opposites attract? You’ll please every palate on your patio with plant-based burgers (think beans, quinoa, almond flour, and a touch of soy) and organic ketchup, which together do just that. Primal Kitchen’s unsweetened option delivers iconic summer flavor without added sugar—and the new squeeze bottle makes for super easy, mess-free second (and third) helpings.
5. Grilled Fish + Jalapeño Lime Mayo = Spicy Grilled Fish Salad
Mostly, summer is about making memories. “I long for nostalgic recipes that my mom made when I was growing up (that I now make for my kids),” says Contreras. Her mother’s tuna salad gets a top spot on the list. For a twist, she likes to toss grilled tuna, salmon, or sea bass with Jalapeño Lime Mayo (find the totally plant-based dip in the refrigerated aisle), citrus juice, salt, and pepper.
Pro tip: before turning on the heat, coat your grates or pan liberally with Avocado Oil Spray. The high smoke point and even coating create a crispy texture and those beautiful, restaurant-style grill marks. Backyard bistro, open for business.
Top photo: Primal Kitchen & W+G Creative
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