Grilled hamburgers and hotdogs scream summer, but did you know that you can fire up your backyard barbecue for much more than just meat? Grilling provides a smoky twist to seasonal produce—zucchini, asparagus, and even fruits such as watermelon and peaches. Read on for 16 foods that taste amazing grilled, plus healthy grilling recipes for each.
Forget eggplant parmesan. When grilled, eggplant becomes crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside—no breading or cheese necessary. Slice your eggplant in 1-inch thick slices and coat with extra-virgin olive oil. Place on your grill rack, cooking for 6 minutes per side or until eggplant is tender.
Grilling peaches deepens their natural sweetness, and it's oh-so-easy to do: simply slice them in half, remove the pits, and put them facedown on a grill that's been preheated to high. Remove when golden brown, about 5 minutes. Try brushing them with honey, sprinkling them with cinnamon, or topping them with Greek yogurt.
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Grilling pineapple cuts the fruit's acidity and turns it into a treat that's as sweet as candy. Cut your pineapple into wedges or rings and place it on the grill for about 3 minutes per side. Bonus: a half-cup of pineapple provides about 20% of your daily need for vitamin C.
Lightly charred asparagus tossed in a little bit of olive oil, salt, and pepper makes for an incredibly easy and nutritious summer side dish. Place directly on the grill over high heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Asparagus is rich in vitamin B6, folate, and vitamin E.
Vegetarians, listen up! Leave the processed veggie burgers in the freezer and try nutty, tangy tempeh instead. Made from soybeans, tempeh contains about 15 grams of protein per half-cup and is hardy enough to stand up to the grill. Preheat your grill to medium, place the tempeh directly on the grill for about 10 minutes, flipping once, or until it's brown and cooked through.
If you're craving pizza on a hot day but can't stand the idea of turning on your oven or shelling out for delivery, why not toss a homemade pie onto your grill? Grilling gives the dough a smoky flavor that'll remind you of the fancy kind cooked in a woodfired oven.
There are several methods for grilling pizza. Here's an easy option from Pillsbury: Cut a large piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil and grease it with cooking spray. Spread your pizza dough (store-bought or homemade works) onto the foil. Coat your grill rack with canola oil. Invert the dough onto the grill rack and peel away the foil. Cook until the bottom is golden brown, and then flip the crust using a large spatula and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Remove the crust from the grill, and add your toppings. Use a pizza peel or a large spatula to put the pizza back onto the grill until the cheese is melted.
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Watermelon is a summer superfruit: it's packed with the antioxidant lycopene and is also a great source of vitamins A and C. To grill, cut your watermelon into big wedges or 1-inch-thick rounds. Place the fruit on a very hot grill for 2 to 3 minutes per side.
Add a smoky flavor to pasta dishes and salads by grilling your tomatoes over high heat. And it's easier to do than you'd think; just slice the tomatoes in half, brush the cut sides with olive oil, and place on a grill heated to high for about 3 minutes.
Swap out your usual ground-beef patty for a Portobello cap and save on saturated fat and calories. Portobellos boast a meaty texture that lends itself perfectly to the grill—just brush them lightly with olive oil, place them gill-side down for 4 minutes, and then flip and cook for an additional 7 minutes.
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Zucchini is easy to grow and even easier to grill. Thinly slice the squash lengthwise, coat lightly with olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper, and place on the grill for about a minute, or until marked and tender.
You love roasted carrots in the winter; who says you can't have them in the summer, too? Peel them and put them on the grill instead of the oven. Grill over moderately high heat in a perforated grill pan for about 5 minutes.
Grilled lettuce?! Yes! Barbecuing romaine gives your salad a unique smoky flavor. Preheat your grill to medium-high, lightly oil the grates, and grill the lettuce, turning often, until charred in spots (about 2 minutes).
Corn on the cob
You can grill the cobs in their husks or brush them with olive oil and place them directly on the grill. Either way, grilling your corn takes this summer staple to a new level.
If you thought sweet potatoes were a winter-only food, think again. Give taters a summery spin by putting them on the grill. Make grilled sweet potato fries by first pre-cooking the potatoes in a microwave for about 6 minutes. Then, cut them lengthwise into wedges, drizzle them with olive oil, and transfer them to the grill for 3 minutes per side. Try pairing the fries with a bison burger for a sweeter, leaner take on traditional summer cookout cuisine.
Raw, roasted, stir-fried, and now, grilled—kale may be the most versatile superfood at your grocery store. Blanche the kale before you grill to tenderize the leaves and prevent it from burning. Grill 3 minutes, then flip and cook for another 3 minutes.
Give your banana split a summery twist: slice banana in half lengthwise, coat with cooking spray, then grill over medium heat for 2 minutes per side.