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Simple, Delicious Mother's Day Grilling Recipes for Your Backyard Cookout

Michele Borboa, MS is a freelance writer and editor specializing in health, fitness, food, lifestyle, and pets. Michele is a health and wellness expert, personal chef, cookbook author, and pet-lover based in Bozeman, Montana. She is also...

Take the Mother's Day celebration outside

The Mother Lode

Is there anything better than setting up the table in the backyard and firing up the grill for Mother's Day? The answer is absolutely not. It's finally warm enough to take the family outdoors and soak up the sun — and devour some grilled shrimp, chicken and veggies. We're salivating just thinking about it.

Here's a delicious Mother's Day menu packed with simple grilling recipes.

More: 15 Delicious Vegan Mother's Day Recipes — for Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Citrus herb grilled shrimp recipe

Yields 24


  • Zest and juice of 2 large oranges
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
  • Generous pinch of salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 24 jumbo shrimp (about 2 pounds), peeled, deveined, tails on


  1. In a large bowl, whisk together orange zest, juice, oil, garlic, oregano, thyme, parsley, salt and pepper.
  2. Place shrimp in the bowl and toss to coat. Cover the bowl and allow the shrimp to marinate for 20 minutes, tossing the shrimp once or twice.
  3. Heat grill to medium-high heat. Thread shrimp on stainless-steel skewers or place them in a grill basket and set them on the grill.
  4. Grill shrimp for 2 to 3 minutes per side or until the shrimp are pink and cooked through.
  5. Set the shrimp in a warm serving bowl and serve with cocktail forks for easy picking.

More: A Mother's Day Brunch Menu Everyone Will Love

Black bean grilled mango quinoa salad recipe

For your vegan guests, serve this protein-packed quinoa salad. Make sure the grill is clear of any meat residue before cooking.

Serves 8


  • 2 cups quinoa
  • Zest and juice of 2 limes
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Generous pinch of salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 large mango
  • 3 green onions, root ends trimmed
  • 1 (15-ounce) can vegan black beans, rinsed, drained
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro


  1. Cook the quinoa according to the package directions; you can make the quinoa up to 2 days ahead.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together the lime zest, juice, olive oil, salt and pepper.
  3. Preheat the grill to medium-high heat.
  4. Slice the "cheeks" off the mango pit, discarding the pit. Brush the mango and green onions with the lime vinaigrette.
  5. Set the mango and green onions on the grill and cook, turning every minute for about 4 minutes or until tender and lightly browned.
  6. Chop the green onions and place them in the bowl with the vinaigrette. Peel and dice the grilled mango and place it in the bowl.
  7. Add the quinoa, black beans and cilantro. Toss the ingredients until well combined. Serve warm or chilled.

More: 16 Cocktail Recipes for Mother's Day

Grilled chicken legs recipe

This down-home Mother's Day recipe is inspired by The Deen Bros Get Fired Up cookbook — written by celebrity chef Paula Deen's sons.

Serves 8


  • 4 pounds chicken drumsticks and thighs
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup peach preserves
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary


  1. Place the chicken in a large baking dish and season with salt and pepper.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together peach preserves, vinegar, ginger, garlic, thyme and rosemary.
  3. Pour the peach mixture over the chicken and toss to coat well. Cover the dish with plastic wrap and marinate at room temperature for 45 minutes.
  4. Preheat the grill to high heat and oil the grill grate.
  5. Place the chicken on the grill and close the lid. Grill for 10 minutes, flip, and grill for 10 more minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and the skin is well glazed. If the chicken starts to brown too quickly, reduce the heat to medium-high.

Grilled pound cake with berry sauce recipe

Serves 8


  • 3 cups fresh or thawed blueberries or mixed berries
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 store-bought pound cake, cut into 8 slices
  • 1/4 cup melted butter


  1. Preheat the grill to medium-high.
  2. In a grill-safe pot, combine berries, lemon juice, lemon zest and sugar. If using fresh berries, add about 1/4 cup water; thawed berries will have liquid.
  3. Place the pot on the grill and bring the berries to a low boil, stirring occasionally. Let the berries continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, until they break down and become saucelike. Remove the berries from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract. Keep warm.
  4. Brush the pound cake with butter and place it on the grill. Grill for 2 minutes per side or until grill marks form.
  5. Serve the cake with the berry sauce. Garnish it with whipped cream and fresh berries if desired.

More: 30 Simple Summer Dinner Party Recipes Your Guests Will Love

Grilled vegetables with lemon-basil aioli recipe

This is a side dish all your guests, vegans and non-vegans alike, can enjoy. Make sure it's grilled on a meat-free grill grate.

From Patricia Conte

Serves 4


For the lemon-basil aioli

  • 8 ounces silken tofu
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 fresh basil leaves, torn into small pieces
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Zest of half a lemon
  • 2 – 3 tablespoons lemon juice (to taste)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (a bit more as needed)
  • Basil leaves as garnish

For the grilled vegetables

  • 2 red bell peppers, seeds and membrane removed, quartered
  • 2 small zucchini, ends trimmed, cut in half width-wise, quartered
  • 1 large bunch asparagus, trimmed 1 inch from the bottom
  • 1 large onion, sliced into 1/2-inch-thick rings
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper


For the lemon-basil aioli

  1. Cut the tofu into cubes and add them to a food processor along with the garlic, basil, lemon zest, salt and pepper. Blend until smooth.
  2. Drizzle in the olive oil and lemon juice and blend until combined.
  3. Taste the aioli and adjust the seasoning as needed.
  4. Refrigerate for about an hour before serving.
  5. Stir the aioli just before serving, and top with basil leaves cut into ribbons.

For the grilled vegetables

  1. Place the vegetables on a baking sheet and drizzle both sides with the olive oil and season with the salt and ground black pepper.
  2. Because you'll grill the vegetables directly on the grate, make sure they're cut in large enough pieces that they do not fall through the grill grate. Otherwise, you can place them in a grill basket to grill them.
  3. Grill them over medium heat, uncovered, for several minutes on each side, just until the vegetables become slightly charred.
  4. Remove them from the heat and place them on a serving platter.
  5. Serve the grilled vegetables with the lemon-basil aioli on the side to dollop on the vegetables.

A version of this article was originally published in April 2011.

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