Licensed to Grill

Licensed to Grill

Grilling is one of summer’s greatest pleasures, if you ask me. Making for a brightly colored plate with the right amount of smoky flavor, there is nothing better than the taste of grilled fruits and vegetables. Hello, sweet summertime (and easy mealtime)!

Simple, easy, fast, with minimal clean-up…count me in! Just choose your favorite produce in season, chop, lightly season, and throw them on the grill. Your veggies can stand alone for the perfect vegetarian meal, or pair next to your favorite lean meat.

If you’ve never grilled fruits and veggies before, or if you haven’t experimented farther than the ol’ standard grilled ear of corn on the Fourth of July, use these tips to help guide you:

– Toss your veggies in a little bit of oil to prevent sticking, if you are arranging them directly on the grill.
– Always cut into equal size pieces to ensure even cooking.
– Use a skewer or grill basket, especially for smaller items like cherry tomatoes, to prevent rolling around or falling through the grate. Or try cooking in a foil packet. This method works great for dense vegetables like potatoes as they require more cook time. Simply place seasoned veggies in a single layer on a large sheet of foil. Fold foil over and pinch the edges together, making a packet. Place the packet on the grill. Cover and grill until tender.

Some of my favorite veggies on the grill include:

Mushrooms: With their earthy umami flavor and high-water content, mushrooms perform fantastically on the grill. They are a great addition to a tasty kabob, or use them as a standalone for a vegetarian option. When making portabella burgers I love to marinate my mushrooms in an oil, balsamic vinegar, minced garlic mixture for one hour prior to grilling.

Another idea is opting for a fun twist on the classic Friday night pizza routine by creating grilled portabella pizzas. Marinate (listed above) and partially grill your mushrooms to begin (7-8 minutes). Remove from the grill. Add pizza sauce, fresh herbs and spices to the cavity of the mushroom. Top with cheese and toppings of your choice. Return the mushrooms back to the grill and cook until the cheese is bubbly and melted.

Romaine: If we’re throwing all parts of our plate on the grill…why not the base to our salad as well!? Adding a slightly smoky flavor to your salad can turn a boring old Caesar salad from drab to fab in minutes flat. Oil the grate of your grill. Place your romaine wedge on a preheated grill, cut side down. Grill until slight charred but not wilted (about 3 minutes). Serving the grilled romaine wedges whole makes for a dramatic visual appeal, perfect for dinner parties, or chop and toss like a traditional salad.

And if all that talk of grilled veggies doesn’t have your mouth watering, try using your grilled fruit to pair with lean proteins or as a healthy alternative for dessert.

Peaches: Halve and pit peaches. Brush with butter. Place peaches on the grill and cook until slight charred and softened. Serve with a small scoop of vanilla ice cream and a drizzle of honey.

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Kristin St Clair is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Dietitian with Teacup Wellness, specializing in healthy eating, weight management, and other areas of expertise to help you meet your nutrition and fitness goals.

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