Sure, throw hot dogs on the grill. But don't forget bananas, too.


In this pandemic summer, who doesn't want to eat and cook outdoors? And if you're firing up the grill, don't forget dessert.

I am bananas for grilled bananas. Fast and easy, they become instant favorites and remind you of classic desserts. And there are so many variations: You can make grilled banana s'mores, grilled banana splits, grilled bananas with peanut butter and jelly, grilled banana pudding, etc.

The key to grilling bananas is leaving them in their protective skins. Slice a banana once lengthwise and once crosswise, so each banana is in four pieces. Because I like a bourbon-flavored Bananas Foster as opposed to rum, I sprinkle the cut side of the bananas with a bourbon that has predominant notes of vanilla and caramel.

Next, I make a simple "dessert rub" of white sugar, cinnamon and a pinch of fine-grain sea salt. You can use this sweet rub to good effect on any fruit you are grilling. I toss a dusting of the rub over the cut side of the bananas and let them sit for 5 minutes. This is enough time to allow the natural sugars and the bourbon to absorb and dissolve the rub. Then it's time for the grill.

I generally grill the banana cut-side down for a minute or two to get grill marks, but that is not necessary. What is necessary is to let the banana cook skin-side down until it is slightly cooked all the way through and the fruit begins to recede from the skin. The skin will be black, but the banana inside will be warm, slightly caramelized, soft and fragrant.

When I am short on time but want to serve an unexpected crowd-pleaser, this Grilled Banana Sundae with Dulce de Leche and Shredded Halva is my quick and easy version of a grilled banana ice cream sundae.

Halva is a Middle Eastern confection made with tahini (sesame paste) and sugar. The sesame flavor is delicate, and softly complements the honeyed bananas and dulce de leche ice cream. But the best part is that the crunchy crisp texture makes you want to take another bite and another bite!


Serves 4

Direct/Medium-low Heat


2 bananas (not too ripe)

2 tablespoons bourbon, divided

2 tablespoons granulated white sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Pinch of fine-grain sea salt

1 pint best-quality dulce de leche vanilla ice cream

Dulce de leche sauce, optional

2 tablespoons shredded halva (easy to order online)

Do not peel bananas. Slice them, in their skin, in half lengthwise and crosswise, so each banana yields four pieces. Set aside.

Sprinkle the cut sides with half the bourbon. Combine sugar, cinnamon and salt and mix well. Cover the cut sides of bananas with the rub by carefully spooning it on or by using your hands. Let the bananas sit for 5 minutes.

Place bananas cut side down on the center of a clean cooking grate, and place the lid on the grill. Cook for 1 minute or until grill marks appear. Using long-handled tongs, carefully turn over and let cook 4-5 minutes or until the skin pulls away from the flesh of the banana.

Remove bananas from grill and serve immediately on top of the dulce de leche ice cream. Top with a generous amount of shredded halva. Drizzle with extra bourbon and extra dulce de leche sauce, if desired.

Serve immediately.