Anyone who likes to cook outside on the grill will tell you that one of the best things about it is that char-grilled taste you end up with. There’s nothing quite like it. And with summertime here, you are probably spending more time backyard cooking. But, meats are not the only options you have when it comes to deciding exactly what you are going to be grilling.
With more grilling happening and more and more people looking to eat a little healthier these days, you may be searching for how to grill healthy options as well. So, if you are looking for new, fun, and/or unusual foods to grill that you can add to the rotation, there are actually quite a few foods that you may not know could easily be grilled to perfection.
In this article, we’ve put together just a sample of delicious and healthy foods you didn't know you can grill today:
Who doesn’t love a good salad during the summer? For a twist on your traditional salad to serve before the meal or even as a quick meal by itself, grilling romaine lettuce makes for an awesome light and crunchy option.
Just cut a head of romaine lettuce lengthwise in half and brush it with olive oil. Place it face down on your grill and cook it over medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes. Drizzle it with your favorite dressing and top it with shredded parmesan cheese, chopped bacon, and tomatoes or you can even chop it and mix it with other grilled fruits (see below) or veggies of choice.
Cabbage and endive both also do well on the grill if you want to have a couple of other leaf vegetables to add to the romaine for a great salad.
Source: Simply Recipes
It’s hard to just mention one particular fruit when there are so many that hold up well on the grill and end up with a deliciously sweet and smoky flavor. Watermelon, pineapple, peach, mango, bananas, pear, and grapefruit are just a few examples of fruits that can be grilled.
Depending on the fruit (like pineapple or peach), you can either slice them into 1-inch thick round slices, slice them in half, or skewer them. You can even cut a variety of fruits into chunks and do a fruit kebab.
Make sure to lightly brush the surface of the fruit that will be touching the grates with oil. Then grill over medium-high heat to midway between crisp and tender. It won’t take long!
Bonus tip: Try grilling mango seasoned with Tajin for a delicious sweet and spicy treat.
You may have had artichokes steamed, which are delicious, but grilling them adds a delicious smoky dimension to the flavor profile. If you want extra-tender results go for baby artichokes if you can find them.
Start by halving the artichokes and scooping out the prickly choke. Then just brush them lightly with extra-virgin olive oil season with sea salt and fresh ground pepper. Grill them over medium-high heat, turning occasionally, until they’re lightly charred and tender.
For a more “unusual” option of healthy foods you didn't know you can grill, if you like fried calamari, you have to try it grilled. The best place to get fresh (or recently frozen) squid is at your local seafood market. You may be able to find it in the seafood department at your grocery store as well. Make sure the squid has been cleaned before you bring it home.
Cut the tubes (body) of the squid into half-inch rings and leave the tentacles whole and toss everything in olive oil. Then slide the pieces onto skewers and cook on the hottest part of the grill, turning once or twice, until just cooked through for a tender and delicious result. They will usually only take 2 to 4 minutes to cook.
Source: Foreman Grill Recipes
If you are looking for a quick and easy healthy snack you can grill and serve before a meal you should try olives. Grilling olives enhances their natural flavors, making them even more delicious. Look for jarred “Colossal” or “Queen Sized” pitted olives, like Sicilian or Spanish olives for example. You can even do stuffed olives as well.
Make sure to lightly coat them with oil before they go on the grill and you can season simply with black pepper and sea salt. Then grill them on a skewer over medium-high heat only until heated through and showing grill marks.
Avocado is much more than just a guacamole ingredient. It actually does really well on the grill and can make for a great, healthy appetizer. The best avocados for the grill are going to be newly ripe ones that are not super soft.
Slice the avocados in half lengthwise and remove the pit. Then brush the halves lightly with olive oil, season with salt and even paprika or chili powder, and grill over medium-high heat for 3-5 minutes. They are delicious on their own or topped with fresh pico de gallo.
Grilled sweet potato wedges make for a tasty and easy side to go with any meal or even as an appetizer. You may never go back to oven-cooked or fried once you try them grilled.
Just cut a sweet potato into wedges and grill them over medium-high heat until you see grill marks. You can even try them with yogurt and/or honey for a sweet yet healthier side.
Source: Good Life Eats
You are probably wondering why we put cake on a list of healthy options. But, if you are looking for a fun and different option for a delicious dessert on the grill, angel food cake is much lower in calories and sugar compared to other options.
Plus, you probably didn’t know that grilling this classic summer favorite can add delicious complexity to the flavor profile. Just slice it into 1 to 1 ½ inch slices and toast it to a light golden brown until on each side.
So as you can see, there are quite a few options when it comes to healthy foods you can grill that you may not have known, from snacks to desserts and everything in between. You can enjoy that delicious grilled taste on much more than just cuts of meat. Of course, many of the healthier options will be vegetables and fruits.
(Check out our article on tips for grilling vegetables and fruits to ensure you end up with the best result.)
Like with any time you are going to be grilling, just make sure you are prepared before you start and have everything you need on hand. Doing so will ensure you end up with a delicious final result no matter what you are cooking.
Have you recently grilled any of the items we covered above? Do you know of other options in usual foods to grill that we didn’t cover? Let us know below in the comment section. We want to hear from you!
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*Feature image from Traeger Grills