With summer comes evenings of barbecues and grilling. If red meat is the king of the grill, vegetables are the queen. Vegetarians need not fret when attending a BBQ — there are plenty of ways to make grilled seasoned vegetables that taste great, garnish a table colorfully, and don’t break the calorie bank. Stop by the farmer’s market for these seasonal staples to throw on the barbie:
1. Caesar salad
Lifeless, watery lettuce? Not here. Romaine, the simplest of lettuce, actually makes for a crisp and interesting salad when seared on the grill with a light toss of olive oil. Add bleu cheese once off the grill for a bit of a kick.
2. Bell pepper and mushroom shish kabobs
Shish kabobs are the perfect party appetizer. Clean off the seeds and stems of stoplight (green, red and yellow) peppers. For a spicy and juicy accompaniment, thread the bell peppers and mushrooms on skewers.
Season them lightly with olive oil, freshly ground black pepper and salt. Brush the mushrooms with olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, thyme, rosemary, and salt and pepper. Cook for 4 to 6 minutes until the peppers have dimpled.
3. Eggplant Bruschetta
Although eggplant is commonly grilled, you can give it an Italian summer twist by chopping it and adding chopped tomato. After a couple minutes on the grill, let it cool on pieces of Italian bread. Melt a light mozzarella on top, and garnish with parsley.
4. Summer squash with red onion
Invest in a gas grill basket for vegetables styled “wok.” In your wok basket, add onions with olive oil, peppered salt, and ground cumin for 10 minutes, and then add squash for six additional minutes, until the vegetables are tender. Spread out on a family style platter for guests to grab and enjoy.
5. Special seasonings
One of the best ways to kick up the flavor of your grilled vegetables is to play with new seasonings. For example, you can grate parmesan cheese over asparagus on the grill for a seriously savory combo, or slather your veggies with the same smoked BBQ sauce you would use for meats.
You can coat veggies with spices, varying from ancho chile to a lemon butter. The “pores” of the vegetables will soak in the juice and retain it for later serving when cooled. Grill seasoned veggies wrapped in tinfoil.
7. The perfect serve
The presentation is important at a BBQ party or just home with a loved one. Grilled vegetables can be a little unwieldy on a plate. So get creative — serve over a bed of fresh or grilled lettuce for a crunchier and smokier salad, perhaps with some grilled shrimp. Line up the veggie skewers on a serving platter next to lavender lemonade for a theatrical summer look. Or, if you’re grilling at brunch time, place the smoked skewer veggies in a highball glass, fill it up with Bloody Mary mix and enjoy.
CATEGORIES: Vegetables, Vegetarian, Healthy, Summer, BBQ, Grill, Meal