Whole Story

The Official Whole Foods Market® Blog

Grilling for One

By Jaye Joseph, May 27, 2010  |  Meet the Blogger  |  More Posts by Jaye Joseph
I’m back and I’m busting some more cooking myths for the single chef. Last time, it was all about how to use the bulk department to cook for one, and this time, we’ll be talking about putting your grill to use. Your grill doesn’t have to be that thing that only gets used at parties. Some of my favorite meals for one are cooked on my propane (some will say that is a travesty, but hey, it’s fast!) gas grill on my deck. I acquired my fancy 3-burner gas grill from a friend who moved to New York City and I couldn’t be happier with it. Some will argue for charcoal over propane, but you can’t beat propane for quick and easy cooking any night of the week. Here in Texas, I can use my grill year-round, but I really favor it in the summer so I don’t heat up the house by using the kitchen. Don’t have a big grill? No worries, you can use a small camping grill with a little propane bottle or a small hibachi grill with charcoal, to grill up amazing dishes for yourself. Just make sure that if you’re in an apartment or condo complex, you verify the community’s grilling ordinances first. When it comes to what to grill for one, look beyond the typical steaks, burgers and hot dogs. While I would probably eat a hot dog from the grill twice a day, every day, my body might rebel at some point. I opt for things like tofu, fish, squash, zucchini and okra on my grill. Still think grilling for one sounds like too much work? Try this one night and see if you change your mind: At the seafood counter, order 6 to 8 shrimp and ask them to peel and devein them for you (free at most Whole Foods Market seafood departments). While the fishmonger is taking care of that, grab a yellow squash and zucchini from the produce department. Run to the salad bar and get one serving of a whole grain salad (something like a Mediterranean quinoa maybe?). Before you go to check out, don’t forget to run back by seafood and pick up your shrimp! When you get home, turn on your grill to medium heat and let it come to temperature while you pop the shrimp in your favorite vinaigrette. Slice the squash and zucchini lengthwise and brush with olive oil and salt and pepper. When you’re done preparing the squash, place it on the grill, turning at about 4 minutes (or a little shorter or longer depending on the thickness of your slice). Once you’ve turned the squash, add the shrimp next to them and flip them at about two minutes. Continue cooking the shrimp until they turn just opaque and remove along with the squash. Serve the shrimp on top of the grain salad with the veggies on the side. The whole thing shouldn’t take more than about 20 minutes from start to finish and you won’t have to do anything but wash your tongs and plate when you’re done! Other ideas:
  • Grilled fish seasoned with salt, pepper and lemon or lime
  • Grilled eggplant, yellow squash and zucchini, sliced lengthwise and brushed with canola oil and seasoned with salt and pepper
  • Extra-firm tofu marinated for a few minutes in soy sauce, then grilled until desired doneness, topped with sweet-chili sauce
  • Marinate chicken in your favorite vinaigrette and grill until done.
  • Grill your lettuce! Slice hearts of Romaine lettuce down the middle and brush with a little olive oil, grilling until slightly charred. Serve with a drizzle of your favorite vinegar and a little freshly shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano.
  • Grill your cheese! You can find the Middle-Eastern cheese called Halloumi in the cheese department. Grill it for about 3 minutes per side and slice and eat with some grilled veggies.
  • Wrap fresh corn (husk and silks removed) in aluminum foil and grill turning a few times, for about 20 minutes. Finish with a squeeze of lime and a little sprinkling of salt and chili powder.
  • While I could type out a whole list of things to know before you start grilling, we’ve got a whole article about it for you. Make sure to take a look at these tips for cooking and prep before you head out to fire up your grill. So I want to know, what are you planning on grilling for one tonight?
Category: Food & Recipes




Margo says ...
Sounds too too yummy. Makes my sandwich that I have for lunch seem anticlimactic, even if it is on tasty squaw bread. Is that what it is called? That is what my grandmother calls it.... I must say, I've heard of all kinds of things on a grill, but I'd never considered either lettuce or cheese. Sounds like just about anything is possible with a grill.
05/27/2010 11:17:49 AM CDT
skip says ...
I grill in quaintly , 6 burgers eat one freeze 5 then for a quick lunch I have a delicious quick burger I do the same with chicken , grill a half dozen chicken thighs eat a couple freeze the rest
05/28/2010 11:49:59 AM CDT
Brian says ...
A better method for the corn is to soak the whole cob - husks and all - in water for 30-45 minutes. Place on a preheated grill over direct medium heat and do a quarter turn every 10 minutes. Peel the husks, salt, butter and enjoy. The corn comes out perfect and tastes better when steamed in the husk. Plus no aluminum foil to add to your local landfill at the end.
05/28/2010 12:09:52 PM CDT
Sue says ...
When I used to cook for 1, I'd grill lots of vegetables with some extra chicken and/or burgers for later in the week. Use the grilled veggies like roasted veggies and chop or shred the cooked meat and use in salads, "casseroles" and pasta dishes.
05/28/2010 12:10:16 PM CDT
Jen says ...
I second what Brian said. It is THE ONLY way to grill corn. You get beautifully steamed corn with a little bit of smokiness from the soaked husks. It allows corn to cook long enough that the sugars are developed and the resulting corn is super sweet. No charred and undercooked cobs anymore!
05/28/2010 4:16:53 PM CDT
caren says ...
Grilling corn should be very brief - two to three minutes. (An expert from Iowa once said, "You are quickly cooking the kernals, not the cob!". First, peel back the husks and remove the silk. Twist the tops of the husks and soak in highly salted water before grilling. Fantastic!
06/02/2010 7:59:40 PM CDT
Jennifer says ...
2 Questions: I really want to try Halloumi (and it's on sale this week!). Does it not melt? Also, it sounds like you leave the silk when grilling corn in the husk, but I've heard it should be removed (then re-wrap corn with husks). Does it matter? Is it difficult to remove the cooked silk from hot corn? Thanks!
06/02/2010 9:12:33 PM CDT
Anne Frates says ...
about those shrimp: using a vinaigrette to marinate will leave them a bit mushy: I get best results by soaking them in a little water, then skewering them tightly. sprinkle with a touch os salt, and a pinch of sugar (so they brown) then spray lightly with olive oil. grill on one side till they start to firm up (should have a good char starting) flip once and finish cooking. take off just before they look completely cooked :the residual heat will finish them, and you'll have the tenderest shrimp ever. I usually use a chili ginger sauce for dipping...
06/03/2010 6:57:27 AM CDT
Jackie Pias Carlin says ...
I'll marinate a pound or less of flank steak with ginger syrup, soy sauce and chopped garlic. Grill it for 4 minutes on each side and let it sit for a few minutes before slicing. Whatever I don't eat tonight, I'll have it for lunch over salad greens or stir fry for another dinner.
06/03/2010 2:02:08 PM CDT
Tiffany says ...
Just made the corn...YUMMY!!
06/03/2010 8:59:39 PM CDT
janice perlin says ...
Grilled corn is incredible , especially done with the husk tied around it (after pulled away and silk removed, then retied together with a string of husk) - however, if the corn isn't organic, you're grilling it with all the chemicals and pesticides on the husk....
06/06/2010 7:43:05 PM CDT
Don R says ...
Thank you so much for this post. I am currently on a job assignment away from my family and have been searching for recipes to grill by myself. This article inspired me to start my own blog devoted to grilling for one as I learn how to downsize my grilling techniques.
03/19/2012 5:49:28 PM CDT