Burgers and brats are summer grilling staples, but fresh summer produce is a delicious and affordable option for main dishes, sides and desserts that can pack your plate with nutrients and flavor. We’re dishing up tips and recipes for healthy grilling to expand your options, not your waistline.
What’s hot? Here are some of our favorite sizzling suggestions to lighten up your barbeque with fruits and veggies.
- Corn on the cob – Soak ears in the husk for at least an hour (or overnight) and grill them husk-on to retain moisture. Or, shuck the ears, sprinkle them with your favorite spices (some great combinations are available with herbs and lemon) and grill in foil.
- Portobello mushrooms or zucchini – Marinate with a simple balsamic vinaigrette and serve on a whole grain burger bun with all the fixings. This makes for a veggie sandwich meat lovers will enjoy too!
- Grill your tortillas along with some zucchini, bell peppers and onions for out-of-this-world veggie fajitas. Wrap them in foil and heat for 3-5 minutes, or place them directly on the grill for one minute for a quick, smoky char.
- Halved peaches or pineapple rings – These make great salad toppers and desserts. Just drizzle with balsamic vinegar or sprinkle with cinnamon and your guests will be begging for seconds!
- Do get more flavor from the flames. Cutting veggies into slices provides more surface area on the grill, which gives more golden-brown goodness.
- Do give ‘em some space. As you remove veggies from the grill, spread them out on a large baking sheet instead of stacking them, which can cause them to steam and get soggy.
- Don’t “flip out.” Once it has hit the grill, handle your food as little as possible. Flipping or turning too soon can result in sticking.
Dress ‘em up Sometimes just a small simple addition like a sprinkle of nuts or a squeeze of lime can make a big difference in a dish. Here are three easy ways to enhance your grilled veggies.
- Brush vegetables with Dijon mustard before grilling, or finish with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar for a tangy flavor.
- For a gourmet twist, scatter chopped, toasted nuts and finely chopped shallots over vegetables before serving.
- A little zest goes a long way. Add fresh lime, lemon or ginger to boost flavor.
What’s for dinner? When eggplant, peppers and summer squashes are in season, try this Grilled Summer Vegetables recipe that is sure to please.
- 1 green bell pepper, quartered
- 1 eggplant, cut crosswise into 1/2 inch-thick rounds
- 1 red bell pepper, quartered
- 1 yellow squash, cut crosswise on the bias into 1/2 inch-thick slices
- 1 zucchini, cut crosswise on the bias into 1/2 inch-thick slices
- 2 tablespoons chopped herbs, such as tarragon, thyme and/or basil
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar or sherry vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Preheat grill to high heat. Working in batches, arrange veggies on the grill and cook, flipping once, until tender and just beginning to char, 3 to 5 minutes for the zucchini and squash, 6 to 8 minutes for the peppers and eggplant. Spread out to cool slightly on a large baking sheet.
Roughly chop hot veggies into bite-size pieces and toss with herbs, vinegar, salt and pepper on a large platter. Serve warm, at room temperature or cold.
Be sure to visit our online Guide to Grilling for help on everything under the sun from charcoal and prep to meat substitutes and methods. What fruit and veggie delights are you grilling up this summer?