Grilled Produce? Worth the Try!

Summer grilling season is officially underway. Everyone loves throwing steak, chicken, burgers and brats on the grill, but how about adding something a little different to your next cookout?

Almost any food can be successfully grilled as long as you know how to control the temperature. On a gas grill, you just have to adjust the knob; on a charcoal grill, you create direct and indirect heat by piling the hot coals to one side of the grill and either cooking over them (direct) or off to the other side of the grill (indirect). Some foods can be placed directly on the grate while others, usually smaller or more delicate foods, need to be cooked on a sheet pan or in a grill basket.

Try these suggestions to keep your grill fired up all summer long:

Baked potato: Place clean russet potatoes on the hot grate and, using indirect or medium heat, cook for 30-40 minutes or until soft, turning every 10 minutes.

Eggplant or summer squash: Slice in one-half-inch slices, brush with olive oil on both sides and sprinkle with a pinch of salt and black pepper. Place on medium-hot grill or directly over hot coals for five minutes then flip and cook for another five minutes until done.

Green beans and asparagus: Both of these veggies cook up best in a grill basket so they don’t end up in the bottom of the grill. Toss gently with olive oil, balsamic vinegar and black pepper, then grill for 10 to 12 minutes over medium or indirect heat, stirring frequently.

Romaine and kale: Place romaine hearts directly over medium or indirect heat after spraying lightly with olive oil. Turn every two minutes until lightly roasted. For crispy kale chips, place lightly sprayed leaves on a sheet of aluminum foil over direct or medium-high heat and turn after 2 minutes.

Roasted chickpeas: Rinse canned chickpeas thoroughly, toss with fresh rosemary and black pepper and spread over a sheet pan. Grill directly over coals or medium-high heat for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Watermelon, peaches, mango and pineapple: All of these fruits fare well on the grill. Slice in one-half-inch pieces (the peaches can be cut in half), brush with vegetable oil and grill directly over hot coals or using high heat for three to four minutes. Flip the fruits then continue to cook over low heat (move to indirect heat if using charcoal) for another minute or two until done. Any of these would be tasty on top of a slice of grilled pound cake (cut cake in one-half inch-slices and toast over medium or indirect heat for two minutes per side).

Don’t stop there! Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwiches are great on the grill and you can get creative with Grilled Coconut Corn and Chile Mayo  or Grilled Lemonade!

Check out these blogs for more on grilling:

Photo credit: Jelena Danilovic

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