The start of summer is the perfect time to enjoy delicious, sizzling meals straight off the grill! Meatless grilling is an easy way to experience seasonal flavors without ruining your swimsuit diet. Plus, the occasional vegetarian dish can help you incorporate more vitamin-packed vegetables into your diet and reduce your risk of certain chronic diseases.
“Americans love grilling and eating a lot of meat, but consuming red and processed meat, like our beloved hamburgers and hot dogs, has been linked to a host of illnesses including diabetes, heart disease and various forms of cancer,” says Allison Cappelaere, Registered Dietitian and Project Director for the Johns Hopkins Meatless Monday Project. “What’s more, cooking and grilling meat at high temperatures – especially when charred – releases cancer-causing compounds and increases health risks.”
It’s easy to remember to cut back when you start the week with a meatless meal! So fire up the grill with the help of our top 10 tips:
1. Kabobs are a BBQ staple that can easily go meatless. Add tofu cubes, cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, roasted potatoes or any other vegetable that strikes your fancy.
2. Many vegetables can be thrown right on the grill (with delicious results)! Try fresh corn, asparagus, eggplant, zucchini, squash or bell peppers.
3. You can also add fruit to the grill for a sweet side or dessert. Try peach halves, pineapples, melon, kiwi or figs with a touch of honey marinade.
5. Try a veggie burger recipe that celebrates hearty ingredients like black beans, lentils, quinoa and chickpeas. You can also find pre-made patties at supermarkets and natural food stores.
6. All you need is pizza dough, the usual toppings and your favorite thinly sliced or pre-grilled vegetables to make a delicious, smoky pie right on the grill.
7. Use your favorite marinade recipe to add flavor to extra firm tofu cubes. Grill them up and add them to a salad, serve with veggies, or enjoy them on their own.
9. Consider your sides when planning a meatless BBQ. Pasta salads, raw vegetables and hummus dip are great ways to turn your plant-based dishes into a full meal.
10. End the meal on a healthy note with a tray of fresh fruit, a parfait or homemade smoothies.