Grilling Fruits and Vegetables
With summer about to start, enjoy the weekend by grilling off the beaten path, and trying some new dishes beyond steak and burgers.
When it comes to grilling veggies, you can grill just about anything. Even if it’s a small veggie like greens beans, just get yourself a grilling skillet, to keep the beans from falling through the grates. Skewers are another option. If you’re placing veggies directly on the grill, be sure to brush oil on the grates before you get started.
Veggies such as asparagus and zucchini cook faster than say beets. Look for tenderness, change of color—zucchini for instance turns less opaque when cooked—grill marks, or for your veggies to look slightly brown or charred as indicators that your veggies are cooked.
For basic grilled veggies simply toss your vegetables in olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and turn on the grill. Sauces can work, too. Consider teriyaki, peanut sauce or drizzle veggies with a balsamic reduction.
Place asparagus, broccolini, red pepper strips, Portobello mushrooms, zucchini, Romaine lettuce, whole carrots, and corn on the cob directly on the grill. Try using skewers for beets, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, onions, baby potatoes and summer squash, and tomatoes.
Grilled Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms
Grilled Portobello mushrooms can be used as a burger substitute when layered on a bun with mozzarella cheese, tomato slices and a few sprigs of basil. Or they make a scrumptious appetizer when stuffed.
4 Portobello mushroom caps (with stems removed)
2-3 plum tomatoes diced
2-3 teaspoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves crushed
1 tablespoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese (or your cheese of choice)
Turn barbecue on medium heat. Brush grates with oil. Drizzle Portobello mushroom caps with 1 teaspoon olive oil. Grill on each side until tender, approximately 2-3 minutes a side. In a bowl, mix diced tomatoes with olive oil, garlic, oregano, balsamic vinegar and salt and pepper. Stir in grated cheese. Fill caps with tomato filling and place back on grill for another 3-5 minutes until cheese has melted.
For more options, try these grilled veggie dishes from greenkitchenstories.com:
Roasted Carrots with Dukkah, Quinoa and Feta Yogurt Cream
[Although this recipe talks about roasting the vegetables, they can just as easily be grilled.]
The beauty of salads is that you can bring so many flavors together. Adding grilled vegetables or fruit to a salad is yet another way to enhance your greens. We think roasted beets are particularly wonderful paired with spinach and goat cheese, or add grilled broccolini and tomatoes to this grilled Caesar Salad. Yes, we’ve mentioned this one before, but it’s just so good, we wanted to mention it again.
Grilled Caesar Salad
Turn grill to medium-high.
1 1/4 -1 1/2 teaspoons anchovy paste
2 cloves garlic minced (or crushed with a garlic press)
1.5 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
Salt to taste
2 hearts of romaine
1/2 cup grated manchego cheese (or Parmesan)
Optional: Grilled broccolini, grilled tomatoes, grilled avocado
Blend all of the ingredients together. Whisk thoroughly. Slice the hearts of romaine lengthwise from tip to core. Keep the core intact, do not separate leaves. Brush each side with salad dressing. Save some dressing to drizzle over lettuce when done. Place the lettuce on the grill cut side down. Cook until outer leaves are lightly golden—roughly 6 minutes. Remove from the grill. Drizzle lettuce with the remaining lettuce and sprinkle with manchego cheese. Eat immediately!
For more salad ideas consider these plates of yumminess:
Just like veggies, you can grill most fruits, too. Peaches, bananas, berries, apple rings, even watermelon, too. Grapeseed oil is a good option to use when grilling fruit because of its high smoke point and neutral flavor. Of course, marinades and dressings can also be used. Like veggies, place fruit directly on the grill, on a skewer or in a grilling skillet.
Cut peaches all the way around along the seam. Pull peach into two halves and remove the pit. Brush cut sides with olive or grapeseed oil. Cook cut side down on a hot grill for 3 to 4 minutes or until golden brown. Sprinkle with a teaspoon of sugar combined with a teaspoon of cinnamon, slice and eat with a dollop of whip cream or vanilla ice cream.
Pineapple & Watermelon Kababs
Cut 2 cups pineapple and 2 cups watermelon into cubes. Place in a bowl and drizzle with 1-2 tablespoons lime juice and 2 tablespoons chopped mint leaves. For extra sweetness, drizzle with honey, but this step is not necessary. Place fruit on skewers, alternating between pineapple and watermelon. For more variety, add kiwi and peaches to the mix. Place on grill on medium heat for about 2-3 minutes. Rotating skewers partway through.
Be careful not to over grill the watermelon, which can get a little mushy if you do. If you run into this problem, consider grilling the watermelon on its own skewer, and the pineapple and other fruits, which can stand to grill a bit longer, on another skewer. Then mix fruits together in a bowl after they have been grilled.
Eat the grilled fruit solo or try with this yogurt dip:
Mint Yogurt Dip
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
2 teaspoons sugar or honey
A drizzle of vanilla
1-2 tablespoons mint leaves thinly sliced