Summer’s barbecue events are the perfect time to get together with friends and family and to take advantage of the fresh air and sunshine. But aside from some watermelon and salad greens, much of the fare at such events tend to be at least a little on the unhealthy side. Luckily there are a powerhouse of plant foods that make great additions to the barbecue grill. Fruits and vegetables are rich and flavorful when grilled, and they won’t or wreak havoc on your heart or cholesterol levels.
Mushrooms, potatoes, and even fruits are easy to grill and they don’t need any heavy sauces to make their flavors shine. The leftovers make excellent ingredients for soups or casseroles, and offer a quick solution for the next day’s lunch! Just throw some leftover mushroom and potato pieces in a tortilla and you’ve got a 30 second burrito that’s filling and tasty. Next time you’re in the mood for a barbecue, put together these three easy recipes:
Portobello mushrooms offer a rich, meaty texture and soak up just about any flavors you decide to marinade them in. They also happen to be sturdy enough to hold up to the grill so you can keep the veggie burgers in the freezer this summer, at least some of the time.
- 4 Portobello mushrooms
- ¼ water
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp date paste or brown sugar
- 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1 clove garlic
- ½ tsp sea salt
Put everything but the mushrooms in a large bowl and stir until a thick sauce develops. Using clean hands, rub the sauce all over each mushroom. Stack them on their backs one by one, taking time to pour a little of the sauce into the underbelly of each mushroom before stacking another on top of it.
Let the mushrooms marinade about 30 minutes and then cook them on the grill for about seven minutes on each side. These mushrooms can also be baked at 450 degrees F for about ten minutes on each side.
Fruit Infused Kabobs
There is something about grilled pineapple that makes a barbecue dish taste exotic and vacation-like. Pineapple compliments most vegetables and when cooked on the grill, it caramelizes just enough to infuse its veggie neighbors on each kabob.
(Makes about 8 kabobs)
- 1 pineapple, cut into one-inch chunks
- 2 green apples, cut into half-inch chunks
- 4 large red potatoes, cut into half-inch chunks
- 2 medium red bell peppers, cut into one-inch pieces
- 8 ounces extra firm tofu, cut into half-inch cubes
- Salt and pepper to taste
Skewer each kabob by alternating all of the ingredients until filled from one end to another, leaving about an inch on either end so you can manage them while they’re on the grill. Put the kabobs on the barbecue and slowly turn them so that each side ends up with some grill marks. Take them off the grill and keep them in a warm oven until ready to serve.
This simple dish is bursting with flavor and will really help to brighten up the plate that it’s served on. They can also be cut up and added to salads or slaws when they come off the grill.
- 8 medium red and ripe tomatoes of choice
- About 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- Salt to taste
Simply put the tomatoes on your barbecue and turn them every few minutes until all sides have grill marks and the tomatoes get really soft. Transfer them to a plate and use a fork to bust the tops of them open, and then sprinkle a little balsamic vinegar and salt into each one.
Serve these dishes separately with your other favorites or combine them onto one plate to create a filling and delicious meal the whole family will enjoy.