Healthy grilling: Flavorful fruits
The sizzle of something on the grill usually makes our minds wander straight to the thought of a mouth-watering steak or juicy hamburger. But meat isn’t always necessary for a grill. There are plenty of fruits that become tasty treats when placed over the flames.
When grilling fruits, you want to select those that are firm and a have just started to ripen. Fruits like watermelon, pineapple, apples, peaches, avocados, figs and pears are perfect for your backyard barbecue. When put to the flame, the natural sugars in the fruits will begin to caramelize, which intensifies the flavor of the fruits.
There are numerous websites devoted to the grilling of fruits. There are some common themes among them. Cut the fruit into large chunks or slices to help the food maintain its structure as it heats up. Also, larger pieces are less likely to fall through the grill grates. Another common tip is to make sure the grill is hot enough in order to minimize sticking. The denser a fruit, like pineapple, the longer it will take to grill. One tip for fruits that those who regularly cook meats on grills already know is to leave the fruit alone for a few minutes. Fruit, like meat, does not need to be constantly flipped. Allow the surface of the fruit to sear so it doesn’t stick.
When you fire up the grill this summer for burgers, hotdogs or steaks, think about throwing some fruit on the grates too. You might find a new summer treat.
Grilled watermelon pizza
1 cup sliced red onion3 tablespoons red wine vinegar1 tablespoon sugar1/4 teaspoon kosher salt2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil1 (3/4-inch-thick slice) seedless watermelon1 ounce (about 1/4 cup) creamy blue cheese, crumbled2 tablespoons coarsely chopped pecans, toasted2 tablespoons small basil leaves
Heat a grill or grill pan to medium-high heat.
Combine onion, vinegar, sugar and salt in a medium bowl; let stand 15 minutes or until onion is softened, tossing occasionally. Combine 2 teaspoons brining liquid and 2 teaspoons olive oil, stirring with a whisk. Drain onion, and discard remaining liquid.
Brush olive oil mixture onto both sides of watermelon slice. Grill watermelon 3 to 4 minutes on each side, until well-marked and juicy; place on a serving platter or cutting board. Top watermelon evenly with pickled onions, blue cheese and pecans. Sprinkle with basil.
Recipe by Cheryl Slocum. SERVES 4 (2 wedges per serving) CALORIES 130; FAT 7g (sat 1.9g, mono 3.6g, poly 1.1g); PROTEIN 3g; CARB 15g; FIBER 1g; CHOL 5mg; IRON 1mg; SODIUM 165mg; CALC 59mg
Grilled mango with chiles and crema
This quick dish is a study in balance: Sweet, spicy, sour, and salty flavors come together harmoniously and for maximum effect. Look for Mexican crema in the supermarket dairy section, or substitute crème fraîche. Serve with grilled steak, chicken or pork chops.
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice, divided1 thinly sliced green jalapeño pepper1 thinly sliced red jalapeño pepper2 ripe peeled mangoes, 1/3-inch-thick slicesCooking spray1/4 teaspoon kosher salt1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper3 tablespoons Mexican crema1/4 cup cilantro leaves
Combine 2 tablespoons juice and jalapeños in a small bowl.
Coat mango slices with cooking spray; sprinkle with salt, black pepper and ground red pepper. Heat a grill pan over high heat until smoking hot. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add mango to pan. Cook, without moving, 4 minutes or until well marked. Turn and cook 2 minutes; place on a platter.
Combine remaining 1 tablespoon juice and crema in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk until smooth. Spoon jalapeños over mango. Drizzle with crema mixture; sprinkle with cilantro leaves.
Recipe by Cooking Light
Grilled pineapple salsa
This dish is the perfect taco topper or served on its own with chips and guacamole.
5 (1-inch) slices fresh pineapple (about 4 1/2 pounds)1 red bell pepper1 yellow bell pepperCooking spray1/2 cup finely chopped red onion1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro3 tablespoons fresh lime juice1 tablespoon brown sugar1 1/2 teaspoons minced crystallized ginger2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and minced1 drained canned chipotle chile in adobo sauce, minced
Place first 3 ingredients on a grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 3 minutes on each side. Discard stems and seeds from bell peppers; dice pineapple and bell peppers. Combine pineapple, bell pepper, onion, and remaining ingredients; toss gently.
Recipe by Steven Raichien
Grilled eggplant with miso aioli
Be sure to choose smaller eggplants; they’ll be easier to slice and handle on the grill.
1/4 cup canola mayonnaise1 tablespoon white miso (soybean paste)1 tablespoon water1 teaspoon rice vinegar1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepperCooking spray2 small eggplants (about 12 oz. each), cut lengthwise into 1/2-inch-thick slices1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
Combine mayonnaise, miso, water, vinegar, and pepper in a small bowl, stirring well with a whisk.
Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Brush both sides of eggplant slices with 1 tablespoon of the mayonnaise mixture. Add eggplant slices to pan; grill 2 to 3 minutes on each side or until tender and grill marks appear.
Place eggplant slices on a serving platter; drizzle evenly with remaining mayonnaise mixture. Sprinkle evenly with chopped cilantro.
With sherry vinaigrette: Cut 2 small eggplants lengthwise into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Combine 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 teaspoon honey, 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Heat grill pan over medium-high heat; coat with cooking spray. Grill eggplant 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Drizzle with vinegar mixture. Sprinkle with 2 teaspoons fresh thyme and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt.
SERVES 4 (serving size: 1/2 eggplant and 1 Tbsp. dressing) CALORIES 110; FAT 2g (sat 1g, mono 5g, poly 8g); PROTEIN 2g; CARB 11g; FIBER 6g; SUGARS 5g (est. added sugars 1g); CHOL 0mg; IRON 1mg; SODIUM 244mg; CALC 18mg
With creole salsa: Cut 2 small eggplants lengthwise into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon black pepper and 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt. Pulse 1/2 cup diced tomato, 1/4 cup diced red bell pepper, 1/4 cup diced onion, 1 tablespoon cider vinegar, 1 teaspoon Creole seasoning, and 1 garlic clove in a food processor until chopped. Heat grill pan over medium-high. Brush eggplant with 1 tablespoon canola oil. Grill 3 minutes. Top with salsa and 2 teaspoons fresh chives.
SERVES 4 (serving size: 1/2 eggplant and 1/4 cup salsa) CALORIES 83; FAT 9g (sat 3g, mono 3g, poly 1g); PROTEIN 2g; CARB 12g; FIBER 6g; SUGARS 5g (est. added sugars 0g); CHOL 0mg; IRON 1mg; SODIUM 218mg; CALC 23mg
With creamy lemon-garlic dressing: Cut 2 small eggplants lengthwise into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Combine 3 tablespoons canola mayo, 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, 1/4 teaspoon. sugar, and 1 grated garlic clove in a bowl. Heat grill pan over medium-high heat; coat with cooking spray. Grill eggplant 3 minutes on each side. Top with dressing, 2 teaspoons chopped capers, and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt.
SERVES 4 (serving size: 1/2 eggplant and 1 Tbsp. dressing) CALORIES 73; FAT 2g (sat 1g, mono 8g, poly 2g); PROTEIN 2g; CARB 10g; FIBER 6g; SUGARS 4g (est. added sugars 0g); CHOL 0mg; IRON 1mg; SODIUM 257mg; CALC 18mg
Recipe by Cooking Light
This article was originally published in Community Health magazine for Bucks and Montgomery Counties.