Summer Grilling Tips to Fire You Up for a Healthy July 4 — and Beyond

July 1st, 2013


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This week millions of Americans will celebrate the extended Independence Day holiday in that most American of ways: by firing up the backyard BBQ and chowing down.

Here’s an idea to freshen up your summertime grilling menu: Instead of the typical meat-focused BBQ fare, why not cook up some grilled veggies instead? Vegetables are amazing on the grill, plus meatless grilling is an easy way to add vitamin-packed, healthy seasonal produce to your diet, which can help reduce your risk of certain chronic diseases.

So get grilling and take a break from meat with these 10 easy summer grilling tips:

 1.  Many vegetables can be thrown right on the grill with just a light brushing of olive oil (with delicious results)! Fresh corn, tomatoes, asparagus, eggplant, zucchini, squash, bell peppers and jalapenos are just a few to try.

 grilling-vegetables-6362.  Kabobs are a BBQ staple that make the perfect meatless entree. Add tofu cubes, cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, roasted potatoes or just about any other vegetable that strikes your fancy.

3. Grilled fruit is amazing too. For a sweet side dish or dessert, try peach halves, pineapples, plums, melon, kiwi, bananas, pears or figs with a touch of honey marinade.

4.  Swap a hamburger for a portobello mushroom burger or grilled eggplant slices. Put the BBQ’d veggies on a bun and add your favorite toppings, like avocados, caramelized onions, roasted red peppers or an olive spread.

5.  Try a veggie burger recipe that celebrates hearty ingredients like black beans, lentils, quinoa and chickpeas. You can also find healthy pre-made patties at supermarkets and natural food stores.

6.  Make a delicious, smoky pizza pie right on the grill — all you need is pizza dough, sauce and your favorite vegetables thinly sliced or pre-grilled.

7.  Use your favorite marinade recipe to add flavor to extra firm tofu cubes. Grill them up and add them to a salad, serve them with veggies or enjoy them on their own.

8.  Add grilled vegetables to a filling summer salad. Garnish fresh lettuces with a bit of fruit, feta cheese and olive oil to complete the dish; or think beyond lettuce and whip up a bean or grain salad.

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.

Looking for even more great summer grilling ideas? Sample some of our favorite meatless burger ideas in our free online Monday Burgers Cookbook.