Great taste and a cooler kitchen!
7 Tips for Grilling Veggies and Fruits
by Leanne Ely
There’s more to summer barbecue season than burgers and steaks! Why turn on the stove to cook your veggies when you have a perfectly good hot grill already prepped? Never mind the fact that grilled veggies and fruits taste like something out of Heaven if you know how to cook them properly!
Here are some of my best produce grilling tips:
- Don’t use your veggie peeler. Don’t peel your vegetables before you grill them. Here’s another reason why you need to buy organic produce! You’ll lose the nutrients and much of the flavor if you peel your veggies before they hit the grill. You’ll also get a smokier flavor if you leave the peels on. Remember the clean fifteen and the dirty dozen when you’re trying to decide where to invest in organic produce.
- Precook. Some hardier veggies need a bit of precooking to shorten the time they must spend on the grill. These types of vegetables include asparagus, broccoli, beets, artichokes, parsnips, carrots, winter squash and potatoes. Steam them or blanch them until they are only slightly tender, then pat them dry, and cook them on the grill. That extra step will make sure the outside and inside of those sturdy veggies are cooked evenly. Vegetables like peppers, onions, eggplant, fennel, tomatoes and summer squash can be grilled raw.
- Oil them. Rub a tiny little bit of olive oil (not extra virgin) or coconut oil on your veggies before you grill them. This will prevent them from sticking to the grill, and it will also keep them from drying out. Just a little bit because if there’s oil dripping from the food, you’ll experience flare ups.
- Soak your fruits. Before grilling fruits, try drizzling them with honey or maple syrup or soaking them in liquor. Talk about a flavor burst, especially if you’ll be serving grilled pineapple or pears for dessert. Yes you can grill pears! You can also grill apples, watermelon, and peaches. Reach for fruit that is firm and just barely ripe for your best options in fruit grilling.
- Use indirect heat. When grilling fruits and veggies, you want moderately hot coals or indirect heat. You may need to move them around throughout the cooking process to make sure they cook evenly.
- Stick it to them. Skewers are great tools for grilling veggies. It’s tempting to make beautiful kabobs out of meat and veggies, but if you want to ensure even cooking, skewer all the same type of veggie per skewer. Cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, chunks of onion, and pineapple are all wonderful cooked on skewers.
- Use packets. Some veggies like peas, beans, sliced peppers, etc. don’t lend themselves well to skewers or grill baskets. For these lovely foods, try making a packet out of tin foil and cook them that way. This is also a good way to cook potatoes or to cook other veggies with a sauce or topping of some sort.
Leanne's syndicated newspaper column, The Dinner Diva can be found in 250 newspapers nationwide and in Canada. Her vast broadcast experience includes media satellite tours, QVC several times as well as guesting on several national television shows, including HGTV’s Simple Solutions, ABC Family’s Living the Life, Ivanhoe’s Smart Woman, Small Talk for Parents and Talk of the Town. She has guest chef-ed on the cooking show, Carolina Cooks and has taught cooking classes all over the country for Bloomingdale’s.
In addition, she is a seasoned radio personality. Leanne’s own radio show, Heart of A Woman aired during drive time in two major California markets, Los Angeles and San Diego. Her current show, The Dinner Diva is one of the top Blog Talk Radio shows on the Internet.
On the Internet, she pens the Food for Thought column for the immensely popular, FlyLady.net, with over half a million readers weekly. She has been featured in Woman’s Day magazine, the Chicago Tribune, St. Petersburg Times, Orange County Register—to name a few. Additionally, she is a sought after speaker and has spoken all over the country, with keynote addresses to corporate and non-profit entities. SavingDinner.com. Visit Leanne Ely on Google+.
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