Grilling Fruits and Vegetables
Grilling fruits and vegetables is not hard. You just need to have a clean grill, thoroughly washed fruits and vegetables and you can do whatever you want with them. You can cook them right off the grill or you can use sticks or a grilling pan. Vegetables will cook better if brushed with quality oil and sprinkled with fresh herbs. The natural sugars of fruits will be more pronounced when grilled because they will be caramelized with an added smoky flavor. Who wouldn’t want that, right? Below are some fruits and vegetables that you can grill at your next barbecue.
The humble apple can be grilled too. Apples when cook becomes more delicious when cooked and becomes even more delicious when grilled because the heat sweetens and soften the fruit. Cut into thick slices and place directly on the grill. Sprinkle some cinnamon sugar before removing the apples from the grill and you’re all set.
Halve 6 baby artichokes, and brush with olive oil. Grill cut-side-down 6 minutes. Turn, and sprinkle with 1 Tbs. each minced garlic, rosemary, and thyme. Grill 4 minutes more.
Steamed or blanched asparagus is good, but grilling adds more punch to it. Lightly char the asparagus over the grill, toss them in a bowl after and add some extra virgin olive, a bit of chili flakes, salt and pepper to add more taste to it.
Want to make some smoky guacamole? Cut the avocados in half and grill them for 2 minutes on each side. Follow your favorite guacamole recipe and enjoy it with your preferred chips.
Place banana on grill with skin intact. Turn it until it is deep brown all the way around. Cut open, to reveal the baked banana. Serve with cold whipped cream and a touch of cinnamon for contrasting temperatures, color, and flavor.
- Bell Peppers
You can grill them whole, cut in half or chunks. Roasted red and green peppers are good in salads or in an antipasto platter. You can also sprinkle them with extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper and make a sloppy roasted pepper sandwich.
For a sizzled Red Pepper Salad, cut 2 red bell peppers into 8 wedges each, and thread onto skewers. Coat with cooking spray, and grill 12 minutes. Transfer to bowl, and toss with 1 cup cooked chickpeas, 1/2 cup chopped fresh fennel, 1 Tbs. olive oil, and 2 tsp. lemon juice.
Here’s a recipe for a mixed Berry Compote. Combine 3 cups fresh berries with 2 tsp. light brown sugar, 1 tsp. lemon juice, and 1/2 tsp. cinnamon. Cut 2 10-inch lengths heavy-duty foil, and spoon 1 1/2 cups berry mixture onto center of each foil sheet. Fold edges together to seal packets, and grill packets 5 minutes.
Toss 4 cups broccoli florets with 2 Tbs. garlic oil in bowl. Grill 6 minutes using a grid-style grill topper. Transfer broccoli to bowl, toss with 3 Tbs. prepared BBQ sauce, then grill 2 minutes more.
Put corn with husk and silk intact on the grill away from flames. Turn periodically – about 15 minutes. Shuck the corn and remove the silk. Eaten as is, roasted corn has a rustic smoky flavor.
You can pull the husk off and grill with butter and salt. Grill it for about 5-7 minutes. A bit of char will add to its smoky flavor as compared to leaving the husk when grilling.
Tasty toppings range from the expected butter and sea salt to the more interesting serving suggestions I learned from my Latino friends. Squeeze the juice of a lemon or lime on the corn in place of salt. Try a dash of ground red pepper, a splash of hot sauce or a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese to take it from a side dish to a main course. This is a vegetarian delight.
Eggplants are versatile and every eggplant growing nation have made some eggplant grilling for decades. When grilled, the outer skin becomes crispy and the insides creamy. You can cut them crosswise or lengthwise and coat them with some extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper and cook for 6 minutes or until the eggplant is tender. You can dip it in marinara sauce or malt vinegar or blue cheese. The possibilities are endless.
- Green Beans
They are wonderful when grilled, but will slide down or slip through the grill. The solution? Go get a grill basket. You can cook these slender vegetables without losing or burning one of them. After cooking, just toss them in a bowl, sprinkle some extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper and a bit of butter to make everything nice and tasty.
Alternatively, you can thread string beans onto skewers (don’t crowd them too tightly). Brush with garlic oil; grill 4 minutes on each side.
Cut them in half, drizzle them with a bit of extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle some brown sugar after grilling. It’s just like taking a bite of heaven.
For nectarine halves with goat cheese and pistachios, grill 4 pitted nectarine halves 5 minutes on each side. Top with 1 tsp. soft goat cheese, 1 Tbs. honey, and 2 tsp. toasted chopped pistachios.
Fresh peaches are good, canned peaches are great desserts, but grilled peaches are heavenly. One great thing about grilled peaches are when you take a bite, you will get a chutney-like texture which can compliment grilled chicken or steak. If you have a sweet tooth, you can grill peaches and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.
Grilling pineapple reduces its sourness or acidity, but enhances its sweetness because the fruit is caramelized and its natural sugar adds to its sweetness. It’s just like eating hot, fruity candy.
Peel pineapple; slice width-wise in 1/2 inch slices. You can cut them into circles or wedges and place them directly on the grill for 3 or 4 minutes on each side. If you want it to be sweeter, add a few drops of honey after grilling. Eat as an accompaniment to seafood or fish, or as a desert.
For a tequila-lime pineapple, whisk together 3 Tbs. tequila, 1 1/2 Tbs. agave nectar, 1 Tbs. lime juice, and 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper in bowl. Add 4 fresh pineapple rings, and marinate 2 hours. Grill 7 minutes on each side. Serve with reserved marinade.
- Portobello Mushrooms
You can use these big and round mushrooms as a substitute for your ground beef patty. Portobellos have a meaty consistency which will be better if you brush it with olive oil and cook them for 7 minutes on each side.
You can roast summer squash, such as party pan, chayote, zucchini, or hard-shelled winter squash like butternut, delicata, or acorn. Summer squash should be clean and dry. Then cook whole, slice and add to kabobs, or chop and cook inside foil with olive oil and season to taste.
Summer squash can also be cut in half, the seeds and insides removed, brushed with corn, peanut, or olive oil, and seasoned with lemon, sea salt, and pepper. Ground ginger or cinnamon goes well with winter squash as well. Place prepared winter squash halves in foil. Put them on the barbecue grill. Roast until tender, about 35 to 40 minutes.
For lemon-basil butternut slices, cut peeled butternut squash into 1/4-inch-thick slices; coat with cooking spray. Grill 20 minutes. Sprinkle with 2 Tbs. olive oil, 1 Tbs. lemon juice, 8 basil leaves, and 3 Tbs. raisins.
- Sweet Potato
Scrub the potato, rinse it, and pat it dry. Prick it with a fork. Wrap it in foil. Place it on the grill. Turn periodically. It cooks in about half an hour on a medium grill. Test for doneness; it should feel soft. Cut it open. Carve an X shape on each half. Squeeze and fluff potato. Serve warm with butter, sea salt, fresh ground pepper, cinnamon, and cayenne. Roasted Sweet potato with a dash of spice is sure to add nice warmth to a chilly evening.
For sesame sweet potatoes, cut 3 large sweet potatoes into 1/4-inch-thick slices; brush with 2 Tbs. toasted sesame oil. Grill 15 to 20 minutes, or until tender and browned.
Smoky salsa or a smoky tomato sauce or a smoky side for your shawarma or kebab? Slice the tomatoes in half, grill them with a bit of olive for about 3 minutes on each side and you’re done.
Who would have thought that that grilling a watermelon is such a delicious experience? There’s only a few people who like their watermelons grilled, but trust those people, they did one good thing into another wonderful experience. You can add honey and some lemon juice to make more exciting or you can make a salad by mixing arugula and some balsamic dressing. Just remember, watermelon cooks fast and it’s better to cook them using indirect heat.
Cut into thin slices and coat them with olive oil, salt and pepper. Grill them for 1 minute and you will have a delectable treat.
For zucchini with Parmesan and pine nuts. Halve 4 small zucchini; coat with cooking spray, and grill 15 minutes. Top with 1 1/2 oz. shaved Parmesan cheese, 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint, and 2 Tbs. toasted pine nuts.
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