What’s more fun than dinner on a stick? A healthydinner on a stick. Grilling bite-size pieces on kabobs means quicker cooking and less chance for carcinogen-forming charred bits on meats, as well as a smaller carbon footprint and built-in portion control. Use our handy charts to learn how to prepare fruits, vegetables, and proteins for grilled kabobs; then jazz them up with your choice of marinade or sauce (or both!), or try our suggested combinations. With this mix-and-match approach, you can create an almost limitless number of tasty, nutritious meals. Accompany kabobs with a side of brown rice, couscous, quinoa, or tabbouleh; a leafy green salad; and grilled pita bread. It’s summer’s hottest way to eat.

Marinades, salsas, and relishes:

Lemon-Yogurt Marinade

Makes 1 cup / Use when you want to tenderize or finish foods with a slight tangy glaze; for example, it’s ideal for grilling beef, lamb, poultry, artichokes, eggplant, onions, peppers, potatoes, tomatoes, grapes, and melons. View recipe.

Citrus-Sesame Marinade

Makes 1 cup /This aromatic marinade is bright and fresh, with an unexpected sweet touch. Citrus acid causes meat to break down, allowing more moisture absorption for a juicier result (but don’t marinate too long or food will turn mushy). The blend is perfect for poultry, seafood, shellfish, tofu, and all veggies and fruits.View recipe.

Cucumber, Kumquat, and Jicama Salsa

Makes 4 cups / This may be made up to four hours in advance. Sweet-sour, tiny, orange kumquats are the only citrus fruit that can be eaten skin and all. If you can’t find them, substitute one medium orange, peeled and chopped.Jicama (HICK-ama), a favorite in Latin American cuisine, is often characterized as a cross between an apple and a potato. Underneath the tough brown peel, jicama’s white flesh is crisp and subtly sweet; it’s delightful raw but may also be cooked. View recipe.

Tomato Relish

Makes about 2 1/2 cups / This aromatic relish may be made up to four hours ahead; it’s a great platform for midsummer tomatoes and an excellent accompaniment to just about any grilled seafood, poultry, tofu, fruits, and vegetables. It even packs well for a picnic! View recipe.

Bonus recipe!

Grilled fruit dessert kabobs

Serves 6 / My favorite combination for this easy, warm-weather dessert is nectarines, pineapple, and cantaloupe. Crisp-soft amaretti (almond-flavored Italian macaroons) complement the sweet caramelized grilled fruits and cloudlike mascarpone perfectly. Buy them at specialty stores, or substitute your favorite almond or vanilla cookie. View recipe.