Sure, as San Diegans we can fire up the grill almost anytime, but lately, the smattering of hot days have us itching to officially kick-off backyard barbecue season.

This meal is inspired by the incredible bounty of our farmers' markets with dishes starring new warm-weather arrivals like fava beans and corn, as well as year-round favorites like butternut squash.

We kept this menu vegetarian (mostly plant-based) but an herb-crusted steak or whole grilled fish would certainly be a welcome addition to the spread.

Farmers' Market Grilled Green Tomato Panzanella Salad

This twist on a traditional Italian panzanella salad is a great way to take advantage of the hearty green tomatoes currently on tables at San Diego County farmers markets.

Image: Olivia Hayo.

Grilled Fava Beans with Spring Garlic and Mint

Chef Olivia Hayo's recipe for tender grilled fava beans with spring garlic and fresh mint was inspired by her time in Jerusalem and the local appearance of these harbingers of spring in the San Diego farmers' markets.

Image: Olivia Hayo.

Barbecued Mushrooms with Rosemary, Garlic and Soy Butter

You need firm, sturdy fungi to stand up to the heat of the charcoal and develop a crust while staying juicy inside – rather like a good piece of meat.


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Grilled Elotes Mexican-Style Corn

This grilled corn can be served on-the-cob, or cut off and mixed with tangy lime, chili, salt, and cheese in small cups for easier serving. This recipe is very adaptable, so feel free to add and eliminate per your taste, the end result will still be delicious.

Grilled Watermelon with Feta and Mint

Grilling watermelon for just a few minutes can completely transform this fruit, lending it a subtle smokiness along with caramelized sweetness that pairs well with savory and spicy flavors.

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