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25 Delicious Ways to Lighten up Your Summer Grilling

25 Delicious Ways to Lighten up Your Summer Grilling

Looking to go healthy this grilling season?

We suggest leaning into lighter recipes that include lots of fresh produce.  Whether you’re looking for inspiration or how-to advice, our recipes and tips will take your grilling to a whole new level.

1.     To preserve the flavor of delicate vegetables, always begin with a clean grill. Scour racks with a metal-bristle brush before you begin cooking.

2.     Coat the racks lightly with oil before you add heat (so flames don’t flare up). This will help make sure your vegetables don’t stick.

3.     Prevent vegetables from becoming dry (and help any added seasonings stay put) by tossing them with a little oil before grilling.

4.     Invest in a nonstick grill basket to help keep small pieces, such as cherry tomatoes and mushrooms, from falling into the fire.

5.     Nearly any kind of vegetable works on a grill. Some favorites include peppers, mushrooms, eggplant, corn, fennel, asparagus, tomatoes, carrots, zucchini and potatoes. But you can also grill unusual items, such as romaine or fruits – watermelon, stone fruits, even avocados.

6.     Grilled vegetables are delicious with just a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt, but you can also experiment with seasonings too. 

7.     Seafood and vegetables are natural companions. Right now we’re loving Grilled Lemon Shrimp with Greens Tzatziki.

8.     For no clean up at all, try grilling in foil packets: Toss your favorite vegetables with a little olive oil and a sprinkle of herbs, then wrap the vegetables in foil.  Place the packet on the grill with the sealed side up, and cook for 30 minutes. Open the foil carefully (the vegetables inside will be very hot), and enjoy.  Our Sheet Pan Starter Kits are perfect for this!!

9.     Experiment with cedar, maple and alder-wood planks, which add a smoky flavor to grilled vegetables. Only use planks that are specifically designated for cooking (you can find them in gourmet stores and supermarkets), and soak them in water before using.  

10.  Take tuna to a whole new level with Warm Tuna Brochettes with Kale Caesar.

11.  Make extra for easy meal prepping! Try cold grilled vegetables on a bed of greens with your favorite dressing or in a sandwich. 

12.  Treat yourself to grilled fruit for dessert. Lightly brush canola oil on peach or nectarine halves or pineapple slices, then cook over moderate heat and serve. (A tip: Cook the fruit first thing, when the grill is newly cleaned, so it won’t soak up the flavors of the rest of your meal.) 

13.  Use fresh vegetables to compliment grilled dishes! Star-Spangled Potato SaladKale and Cabbage Slaw and Watermelon and Shaved Ricotta Salata with Mint are wonderful complements to a meal of grilled foods.

14.  Toss homemade meatless Crimini Salad Burgers onto the barbecue instead of traditional frozen veggie burgers. 

15.  Prep your cookout safely: Chop vegetables and raw meats on separate cutting boards.

16.  Grilled salad? Yes, it exists—and it’s delicious. Try Grilled Romaine with Greek Yogurt Dressing.

17.  Bamboo skewers are less likely to burn if you soak them in water for about 15 minutes before using them and cover their exposed ends in foil. Or spring for reusable stainless-steel skewers with squared edges, which help cook skewered pieces more evenly by preventing them from spinning.

18.  Some vegetables take longer to cook than others. If you’re preparing them kebab-style, keep the same types on each skewer (all peppers, all onions, and so on) so they cook evenly. 

19.  Did you know you can grill pizza? Brush uncooked dough with olive oil, toss it onto the grill for a minute or two on each side, then remove it and place it on a piece of foil. Add toppings, slide the pizza (on the foil) back into the grill, shut the lid and let it heat through for about three minutes. Or try this recipe for Grilled Salad Flatbread.

20.  Make our featured recipe, Grilled Skewered Summer Vegetables with Smoked Tofu, and you won’t miss the meat.

21.  Children are more likely to enjoy healthy meals if they help prepare them, so put them to work on grilling days. Young kids can shuck corn; elementary-school kids can assemble vegetable kabobs. Tweens can chop salad ingredients. And older teens can assist parents at the grill.

22.  Expand your condiment horizons. Along with the traditional ketchup and mustard, try garnishing your grilled goodies with pickled seasonal vegetables, fresh salsa, hummus or chimichurri. 

23.  Grilling fish is easier than it looks. Perfect your technique with this recipe for Grilled Red Snapper with Coconut, Peanut & Orange Sambal.

24.  Herbs or citrus juice add flavor and brightness to many grilled dishes.

25.  Light, fresh dishes call for light, fresh beverages. Complement your meal with sparkling water or a fruit-juice spritzer. 

Published June 1, 2022

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