Why heat up the house, when you can step outside and fire up the grill instead? One of the best things about summer is the abundance of healthy foods, and throwing them on the grill gives great flavor and no additional calories. Get creative and try to plan your whole meal on the grill for a change.
One of my favorite foods is grilled pineapple. You can do it on skewers: cut it in round slices, or quarter the pineapple and then make wedges. I like to add a little bit of teriyaki marinade or soy sauce and ground ginger and grill it along with red peppers and onions. It cooks pretty quickly so keep an eye on it, aim for 3-4 minutes per side. The sugar in the pineapple will caramelize on the grill and give it a nice brown color.
Some other great grilling fruits include apples and pears because they are firm. Peaches, bananas, and mangoes all taste great on the grill too, but because they are soft they cook very quickly and will get mushy if you use too much heat and leave them on too long. Try grilling mangoes or peaches and then making a quick salsa with red onion, cilantro, lime juice, and jalapeno; yum that makes my mouth water!
There are lots of great options for grilling vegetables. I prefer to use a grill basket rather than skewers mostly because it is quicker, but that’s just my preference. A great combination is squash, zucchini, mushrooms, and onions. I usually add some garlic and a little salt to this and let the different flavors combine. If I add potatoes to this, I cheat a little and use the microwave to speed up the cooking process. I dice them up and put them in a glass dish with a lid and few tablespoons of water (steam cook briefly), and then after they soften up a bit I put them in the grill basket – try adding some rosemary sprigs with this for a great flavor intensity. Grilled sweet potatoes combine nicely with fruits such as mango or apples but be sure to grill them separately and then combine with the fruit since it will take much less time.
After writing this post, I decided I had to have some grilled pineapple! I marinated pineapple and mango in soy sauce, ginger and garlic and then grilled it along with a chicken breast. I diced all of this and served on top of a salad of mixed greens. It was delicious! Adding more fruits and vegetables prepared on or off the grill goes along with the age old recommendation for getting a daily dose of lots of fruits and veggies. Here are some pictures of the salad I made: