A Grill Full of Veggies = A Healthier You: Think Beyond the Meat
My writing this week got happily derailed by the story about shopping at the farmers’ market with my nephew (and other tips for helping kids eat healthfully) and then keeping with the theme to commemorate the dishes from the children who won the Healthy Lunchtime Challenge. My week actually began with a post celebrating the abundance of glorious produce I’ve been relishing in at the farmers’ market, which I return to with today’s short post where I take those fabulous veggies and throw them on the grill.
Grilling: One of Summer’s Joys
Most people do not eat enough vegetables for optimal health, and grilled veggies are a wonderful and nutritious side dish that can also be used as the starting point for other recipes. To name just a few, grilled vegetable parmigiania, grilled vegetable terrine, grilled vegetable salad, or a Mediterranean grilled vegetable sandwich. Today I provide the simple how-to and a few photos to inspire you to think about grilling something other than meat. (Or whatever it is you usually grill.) And if you do grill veggies already, maybe you’ll see something here today you’ve not seen before. They’re incredibly tasty and fun to make, too.
There are fancier ways to grill vegetables, mind you, whether with specific marinades or whatever, but the basic tried-and-true version with just olive oil and a drizzle of balsamic at the finish is my go-to for everyday cooking.
Prepare. The prep depends a bit on what vegetables you are using, so employ common sense to guide you. The key is that you don’t want things too small, else they’ll fall through the grill, which is rather vexing. Some vegetables will remain in one piece, like asparagus, and others can be sliced or used whole, like portabello mushrooms. Squashes should be sliced vertically such that they can be placed horizontally on the grill, as with eggplant. If you fancy using regular onions or smaller mushrooms, you might consider putting them on kebab sticks or they will fall through the grill, I guarantee you. After the vegetables are prepared, I like to put them in a bowl, pour on a bit of olive oil, and toss to coat lightly. I’ll then season with sea or kosher salt and freshly ground pepper before putting them on the grill.
Grill. Like roasting, you can grill over high heat, about 425 degrees or so. You need to watch them, as time for grilling depends on the size and water content of the vegetable. After 6-8 minutes, turn them over, and admire the lovely grill lines. Remove when done. They should be cooked and somewhat soft, but not mushy. Beware of flames that sometimes come up from the grill; no one likes fire poked in their face.
Serve. Place decoratively on a platter and drizzle with additional olive oil and/or balsamic vinegar.
Here’s to happy grilling and healthy eating!
Dr. P. K. Newby is a nutrition scientist and educator with expertise in the prevention of obesity and chronic diseases through diet and the relations between agriculture, food production, and public health. She brings together her passions for food, cooking, science, and sustainability through her writing and videos to help people eat their way towards better health, one delectable bite at a time. If you like what you see here at The Nutrition Doctor is In the Kitchen, please subscribe to my blog from the home page, become a fan on Facebook, follow me on Twitter, check out my food porn on Pinterest, watch my cooking videos on YouTube, and peruse my recipe page for soups, salads, seafood, sweets, and more. Thanks for reading!