Unique Foods to Grill
When I think of the summer, my first thought is fun in the sun! There is July 4th celebration, beach and camping trips planned and lots of outdoor cooking on the grill! So, fire up that grill because it’s summertime! It’s time to get outside and get cooking. Mix it up this year with some unique grilling recipes. Step out of the burger zone. You’ll be able to cook up appetizers, main dishes and desserts with this list all by using the grill.
You know your grill best, so cooking times may vary. I do suggest though starting the grill off on high heat and then reducing after about 4 minutes. No one wants overly-charred food.
Watch the video above to see how a few of these summer foods items look like grilled.
Many people think you need to wrap your asparagus in tin foil before grilling, but this is not necessary. Lightly coat your trimmed asparagus in olive oil, salt and pepper to taste, and grill over high heat for about 3 minutes. Boom, you have a delicious veggie cooked and ready to eat.
Grilled avocados are lovely to have as a side dish or you can even stuff them and make them into a main dish. The first step to grilling them is getting them out of the skin. Coat the avocados in olive oil, and season with your favorite seasonings or just plain salt and pepper. Place them on the grill for approximately 1 minute on each side. You can stuff them with cheeses, seafood or other veggies.
Intense heat is a great way to toast bread, and you will get a lot more flavor out of your bread by grilling it. Any bread will taste great off the grill; try sour dough, ciabatta, or baguettes. Drizzle olive oil or melted butter on one side. Herbed butters are also heavenly on grilled bread.
Typically we may think of grilling zucchini, but a cucumber, why not? Sounds delicious to me. So, cut about 8 small or Kirby cucumbers in half, lengthwise, and then in half again. In a large bowl, add the 1/3 c. vinegar, 1/3 c. olive oil, 2Tbsp. garlic, and a pinch of salt and stir. Add in the cucumbers and toss to coat. Let marinate for about 10 – 15 minutes. Turn the grill on medium heat and place cucumbers on. Grill for about 10 minutes. Dip grilled cucumbers in a feta dip or ranch dressing. Enjoy!
There is nothing like grilled fruit, especially tropical fruits like pineapple, grapefruit or watermelon. Grilling does amazing things to fruit as the natural sugars caramelize, creating a golden brown color. They are all simply delicious. You can slice pineapple into rings or spears, grapefruit in half, and the watermelon in spears or thick slices as well. They can be eaten as a side or a dessert.
Peaches, like the fruit mentioned above, take to the grill amazingly. Their sweetness is complemented well by the smoky grilled flavor. Pit and peel your peach in half, then place on a nice clean grill for about 3 minutes on both sides. Grilled sweet peaches and ice cream serve well as a decedent dessert, but they also work lovely with grilled chicken to compliment your meal.
Potatoes on a skewer
A different food on a skewer. Any small potato works, but I like the holiday theme of buying red, white and purple (blue) potatoes. You will want to cut your potatoes into cubes, relativity the same size so they cook evenly. Place potatoes in a bowl and drizzle with olive oil and season with basil, pepper and salt. Mix it all together and then place potatoes on a skewer with the color combo (if you’d like). Popping these little guys in the microwave for a couple of minutes helps to soften them up and will make it much easier to put on skewers. Place foil on top of grill and then place potato skewers on foil. Let them cook for at least 8 minutes before checking. Flip once they begin to brown. You know your potatoes have cooked all the way through when you can easily pierce them with a fork!
Yes, the dietitian did just write pound cake down to grill and eat! Pre-make or buy a loaf of pound cake and then slice up and grill 2 minutes on each side. Top the warm cake with a rich chocolate sauce or you could even toss luscious grilled peaches or pineapple on there. It is about portion sizes and yes this tastes delicious.
Really, this is a must try! If you have always wanted to cook with tofu, but wondered how, grilling tofu is simple and tastes marvelous! But, first some tips when grilling this amazing plant-based protein. Tofu tends to stick to grills (this is because it is much lower in fat than meat), so prepare your barbecue with a non-stick cooking spray or by rubbing it with oil. Use firm, or extra-firm tofu, and always press your tofu well before grilling. Place your tofu in your favorite marinade for at least 30 minutes before grilling. I like to marinate tofu in a zip lock bag in the refrigerator overnight. Any marinade does the trick, even just simple barbecue sauce works. Just make sure the marinade contains a bit of sugar, as it will caramelize and help the tofu get nice and crispy on the outside. When ready to grill, you can cut tofu in ½ – 1 inch thick slices, or large cubes to place on a skewer. Grill your tofu over a pre-heated grill for 6-7 minutes on each side, brushing occasionally with extra marinade.
You can always look up more specific grilling recipes, cooking times, or marinades on the internet. Please let me know what unique grilled food you have or will try! Break out of the mold of grilling the usual meat and chicken. I can guarantee your family and friends will be impressed and satisfied! Have a safe and Happy July 4th!
– Kari Martinez, MS, RD, LDN