By The Kitchen Diva! | September 2, 2015
Football season is upon us, and when it comes to tailgates and game-watching parties, people tend to think of hamburgers, steaks, brats and hot dogs for grill entrees. Instead, move the meat over and make room for vegetables. Why not try zucchini, eggplant, asparagus, bell peppers or portabella mushrooms? Grilling vegetables caramelizes them and brings out a sweetness not typically found in other cooking preparations.
Even if you’re not a sports fan, grilling offers an opportunity to prepare vegetables in a quick and different way. Many people think everything tastes better on the grill, which also can hold true for vegetables. Some people don’t like eggplant, zucchini or asparagus — until they try it grilled! Taste is not the only benefit. Vegetables cook so quickly on the grill that they retain much of their vitamin and nutrient content.
To prepare vegetables, have the grill warm, but not as hot as you would for grilling meat. Lightly brush the vegetables with olive oil and put them directly on the grill, turning until tender. Try larger hunks, like half a green pepper, large slices of squash or portabella mushroom caps, which are large enough to sit on the grates without falling through. A grill basket, aluminum foil pan or kabobs also can be used.
If you prefer steamed veggies, wrap them in aluminum foil with a little olive oil and your favorite marinade or spices. Seal and place on grill, turning occasionally, for 10 to 12 minutes or until veggies are tender.
Experiment with different spices, marinades and sauces when preparing vegetables, and don’t be afraid to try various flavors. Store-bought mixes and marinades may have extra sodium, sugar and calories compared to a specialized homemade version. Balsamic vinegar or other flavored vinegars are great for drizzling over grilled vegetables or using in a marinade. As always, practice safe grilling techniques and food safety.
The next time you plan to fire up the grill, remember to invite some vegetables to the party.
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