It’s officially summer in Texas, and that means it’s grilling season! Texans pride themselves on their grilling skills, but many grilled foods can be high in fat, sodium, and cholesterol, possibly leading to some serious heart damage. Here are some alternatives to your normal go-to grilling favorites this season. You may like them even better!
Grilled Portobello Burger
Burgers are a summer staple, but they can also have a negative impact on your health if you overindulge. Instead of the traditional beef burger, opt for a grilled portobello burger instead. Scoop out the gills and grill the cap. Try different marinades and toppings and have fun with it. We suggest a balsamic and olive oil marinade, topped with provolone cheese, roasted tomato, and spinach. Add a little pesto, and voila! If you’re feeling more traditional, try an olive oil and red wine marinade, topped with your choice of cheese, onion, lettuce, and tomato.
Sweet Potato and Black Bean Tacos
Fajitas are delicious, but they can also be unhealthy, depending on the amount of cheese, sour cream, pork, and beef you use. We would like to offer a delicious and nutritious alternative. Marinate sliced sweet potato, bell peppers, and onions in olive oil and your favorite southwestern seasoning. Place on the grill, along with some sweet corn on the cob. Heat up some black beans and corn tortillas. Remove the corn from the cob and construct your veggie tacos with all ingredients. Add salsa, pico de gallo, or homemade guacamole if you like.
Grilled Summer Vegetable Salad
Potato salad and macaroni salad are a big hit in the summer, but nobody should consume that much mayonnaise. Try switching to a grilled vegetable salad as your side dish. Grill asparagus, squash and zucchini (sliced lengthwise), sweet corn on the cob, and red onion (cut in half with each half containing part of the root so it stays together). Slice up fresh tomato and avocado while your vegetables are grilling. Cut the vegetables into bite-sized chunks and remove the corn from the cob. Combine all ingredients, add some fresh-squeezed lime, and top with salsa.
One of the easiest ways to eat your vegetables in the summer is by skewering them. There are many combinations, but a popular choice is zucchini, bell pepper, red onion, and mushrooms marinated in pesto and grilled to perfection. Another great combination with more of a kick is to skewer onion, bell pepper, hot peppers (serranos or jalapenos), and yellow squash. Drizzle with olive oil and season with black pepper. Many different vegetables can be skewered and grilled, so experiment and have fun with it, and let us know what combinations you like!
Did you know that you can even grill certain fruits? Cobblers and pies may be the more traditional route, but all that added sugar is not good for your body. Try grilling fresh pineapple and watermelon instead. Don’t grill too long; you just want to warm up the fruit to release even more of its natural sweetness. Another great dessert is to take grilled, sliced pears, drizzle with a good, local honey, and add some fresh thyme.
Do you have other healthy grilling ideas? Let us know in the comments! We may even use your recipe in our bi-monthly recipe email! Be sure to include a photo of your dish and we will give you credit! Are you not a subscriber yet? No problem! Click here to subscribe now and stay up to date on the happenings at Hays County Food Bank!