Grilling vegetables is easy. The fact that more people don't do it is the strange thing. The general rule is to cut the vegetables into pieces that will cook quickly and evenly. All pieces should be of consistent thickness and no more than about 3/4 to 1 inch thick. Soak vegetables in cold water for about 30 minutes before you grill them to keep them from drying out. Pat dry, then brush lightly with oil to prevent sticking. Do not over cook and you'll have vegetables better than you thought possible. If you like grilling vegetables and want to try smaller things use a grilling basket to keep them out of the fire.
Almost any fruit can be cooked on the grill. Hard fruits such as apples, pineapples and pears are easier to grill than softer fruits such as peaches, nectarines, plums, and papaya. Softer fruits require more attention when being grilled to prevent overcooking, which will cause the fruit to become mushy. Softer fruit only needs to be heated, not cooked.
You've just finished grilling extra-thick pork chops, and like any good cook you're letting them rest. Not wanting to waste a nice smoky bed of still-hot coals, you take some ripe, juicy peaches, slather them in barbecue sauce, and grill them until just heated through. You serve them next to the pork, and while you eat, your guests shower you with praise, warming you like the mid-July sun.
- 4 bananas
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 cups vanilla ice cream
- Preheat grill for low heat.
- Halve each of the bananas lengthwise, then widthwise. Sprinkle bananas with lemon juice. In a small bowl, mix together the brown sugar and cinnamon. Roll banana pieces in sugar/cinnamon mixture until well coated.
- Lightly oil the grill grate. Arrange bananas on preheated grill, and cook for 3 minutes per side. Serve in a bowl with vanilla ice cream topped with a sprinkling of remaining cinnamon/sugar mixture. Yum!
- 1 pound fresh asparagus spears, trimmed
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat grill for high heat.
- Lightly coat the asparagus spears with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Grill over high heat for 2 to 3 minutes, or to desired tenderness.
*Grilled Beets in Rosemary Vinegar*
"Don't know what to do with fresh beets? Marinate and grill them in this wonderful sauce! These go great with grilled meat, and are a colorful and flavorful alternative to your usual veggie fare."
- 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed
- 1/2 teaspoon herbes de Provence
- 3 medium beets, sliced into rounds
- In a medium bowl, mix balsamic vinegar, rosemary, garlic, and herbes de Provence. Place beets in the mixture, and marinate at least 20 minutes.
- Preheat an outdoor grill for high heat, and lightly oil grate.
- Place the beets and marinade mixture on a piece of foil large enough to wrap all ingredients, and seal tightly. Place the foil packet on the prepared grill, and cook 25 minutes, or until beets are tender.
- Remove beets from the packet, and place directly on the grill grate for 2 to 5 minutes before serving hot.
*Grilled Bacon Jalapeno Wraps*
"Jalapenos are stuffed with cream cheese, wrapped with bacon, and barbecued on the grill."
- 6 fresh jalapeno peppers, halved lengthwise and seeded
- 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
- 12 slices bacon
- Preheat an outdoor grill for high heat.
- Spread cream cheese to fill jalapeno halves. Wrap with bacon. Secure with a toothpick.
- Place on the grill, and cook until bacon is crispy.
*Pickled Grilled Cucumbers*
6 pickling cucumbers
1 red bell pepper
1 cup sugar
1 cup white vinegar
1 cup water
2 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt, or to taste
big pinch of red chili flakes
12 black peppercorns
2 cloves garlic
1/4 teaspoon dried dill
*Grilled Chicken & Peach Kebab Salad*
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1 cup plain low-fat yogurt
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1/4 cup chopped chives
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 2 pounds boned, skinned chicken breast halves (4 to 6), cut into 1-in. chunks
- 3 large peeled peaches (about 2 lbs.), each cut into 8 wedges
- 10 ounce baby arugula (about 3 qts. very loosely packed)
- 1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
- 1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves
- 1. Make dressing: Whisk ingredients together in a small bowl.
- 2. Marinate chicken: Put meat and 1/2 cup dressing in a medium bowl; let sit 30 minutes at room temperature. If using bamboo skewers, soak in water 30 minutes. Add enough water (2 to 4 tbsp.) to the rest of the dressing to thin slightly, then chill. Prepare a grill for medium heat (350° to 450°).
- 3. Assemble kebabs: Thread 1 peach wedge and 2 chicken chunks onto a skewer. Repeat, then add a final peach wedge. Thread remaining skewers the same way.
- 4. Cook meat: Oil cooking grate, using tongs and a wad of oiled paper towels. Grill kebabs, covered, until browned and chicken is cooked through, about 12 minutes, turning once with a spatula.
- 5. Make salad: Arrange arugula on plates and sprinkle with onion and parsley. Lay a kebab next to each salad and serve with remaining dressing.
*Grilled Fruit w/Bourbon Glaze*
- 1/4 cup bourbon
- 2 sticks butter, softened
- 2 cups light brown sugar, packed firmly
- 2 lemons, juiced
- 1/2 cup water
- Assorted fruit cut in 1/2 (peaches or plums)
Put the bourbon into a saucepan over medium-high heat and bring it to a boil. Boil for 1 minute to burn off the alcohol. Add the butter, brown sugar, lemon juice, and water. Bring to a boil whisking until all the sugar is dissolved. Simmer for 5 minutes. Let cool to thicken. Toss fruit with the glaze to coat or brush glaze over fruit with a pastry brush. Place fruit on the grill and turn once when light grill marks appear. Serve with ice cream and drizzle the remaining glaze over the fruit.
*Grilled Fruit w/ Balsamic Syrup*
Grilling caramelizes the natural sugar found in fruit, which turns the sugar brown, makes it sticky and intensifies its sweetness. Balsamic vinegar with its sweet-yet-tart flavor is a wonderful complement to grilled fruit.
1 small pineapple, peeled, cored and cut into wedges 2 large mangoes, cored and cut in half 2 large peaches, cored and cut in half Nonstick, butter-flavored cooking spray 2 tablespoons brown sugar 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar Mint or basil leaves, for garnish
In a large bowl, combine the pineapple, mangoes and peaches. Spray generously with cooking spray. Toss and spray again to ensure the fruit is well-coated. Sprinkle with brown sugar. Toss to coat evenly. Set aside.
In a small saucepan, heat the balsamic vinegar over low heat. Simmer until the liquid is reduced in half, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat.
Prepare a hot fire in a charcoal grill or heat a gas grill or broiler. Away from the heat source, lightly coat the grill rack or broiler pan with cooking spray. Position the cooking rack 4 to 6 inches from the heat source.
Place the fruit on the grill racks or broiler pan. Grill or broil over medium heat until the sugar caramelizes, about 3 to 5 minutes.
Remove the fruit from the grill and arrange onto individual serving plates. Drizzle with balsamic syrup and garnish with mint or basil. Serve immediately.
Steaks and burgers are not the only foods to enjoy on the grill. Add grilled fruits and vegetables to your next cookout menu. Grilling fruit brings out its natural sweetness and the flavor of the grilled vegetables is enhanced when they are lightly charred.