What are You Grilling Up This Summer?
The May long weekend has come and gone and people are lighting up their barbeque to make delicious meals for the summer months! There is nothing more tasty and beautiful than a plate full of grilled vegetables with just a brush of olive oil and sea salt. But this is just the start – in addition to veggies, there are of course a wide variety of things you can place on your grill…and no, I am not talking generic hamburgers and hot dogs. I am talking about quality foods from real sources such as organic meat, wild fish and even organic soy for those who are vegetarian. There is no shortage of what can be created on your backyard grill, so let’s get you inspired!
Here are my top grilling ideas for the season to get your thinking about your next clean BBQ:
- Grilled vegetables: Use veggies that have integrity and hold up well such as asparagus, zucchini, onions, peppers, portabella mushrooms, squash, and yams taste delicious on the grill. You just need to brush them with some oil such as grapeseed or avocado oil, and then lay them flat on the grill or put them in a wire basket. I like to also add some ground herbs. They take anywhere from 5-10 minutes depending on the temperature of your BBQ. You can also put them up on the top rack to make sure they don’t get too charred.
- Organic Tempeh or Tofu: Since these are safe soy options, they are great for the barbeque! They take on any flavour that you marinate them in and hold up very well. Whether they are cubed and put onto a skewer or just used whole on the grill, they are a great meatless alternative that is hearty and full of protein.
- Veggie burgers: These can be a homemade version or a packaged variety. If they’re packaged burgers, be sure that there are no preservatives or additives and that only whole food ingredients are used such as nuts, seeds, grains, and vegetables. Sometimes veggie burgers tend to fall apart on the grill, so just place them on a tray or a piece of foil to protect them and keep them together. Try these beet quinoa veggie burgers or these black bean and cumin burgers.
- Organic chicken and wild fish: I recommend marinating either of these options in something simple like avocado oil, balsamic, apple cider vinegar, or lemon juice with just some sea salt. You can also use a fragrant rub that tastes great on both chicken and fish.
- Grass-fed meat: This can be organic beef or any wild meat like bison as featured above. As long as you are sourcing good quality meat, the taste is all there. Again, keeping things simple is key. You can just toss in some fresh chopped herbs like sage or thyme along with some sea salt. Then form your patties and they are ready to go. This same prep method can be done with ground chicken or turkey.
Although grilling is fun and gives food a unique taste and texture, don’t make a habit of it day in and out throughout the summer. The direct heat from a barbeque on your food certainly causes nutrient loss and emits other harmful toxins onto your food. As much as we love to see those seared lines in our food, that is not necessarily a good thing. A little bit is okay but essentially you are charring your food and you don’t want to overdo it, especially when it comes to meat. As long as your grilling is done mindfully, you can make beautiful meals that are clean, wholesome and colourful! The next time you are lighting up your flames, go ahead and make some of these grilled goodies part of your summer plans!
A helpful tip: do most of your grilling on the second level if you have one or place meat and veggies on a tray or wrapped up in foil.
Make it into a meal!
To round out these meals, I am a big fan of lots of sides. With any main on the grill, I recommend making a large salad with kale or spinach and a side of guacamole. As you can see in the featured picture – I didn’t even use a bun. There is no need when you have veggies like squash or sweet potatoes! Simply cut your squash into rounds (the top half) and layer on the grill, and stack your toppings right on it. This makes for a creative grain-free summer meal.
What are you looking forward to grilling up this summer? Let me know in the comments below!
This post was originally written for well.ca