Grillin’ vegetables

Grilled veggies can make a delicious and nutritious side to your summertime dinners.

Summer is filled with family gatherings, getting together with friends, bonfires and grilling. Grilling is a common summer event for people to enjoy their favorite food outside during any occasion and a great way to get out of the kitchen. For some, the grilling process includes marinating your favorite cut of meat and cooking to perfection over a charcoal or gas grill.

Grilling is not limited to only cooking your favorite meats like chicken, steak and fish. Vegetables can be prepared on the grill also, and serve as a delicious and nutritious addition to your summer meals. Grills contain hot spots and various vegetables take different amounts of time to cook through, so stay close to the grill when preparing vegetables. You can learn more about grill and food safety through Michigan State University Extension food safety articles.

Vegetables provide important nutrients to an overall diet that may reduce the risk of heart disease such as stroke, heart attack and protect against certain cancers. Vegetables are a great source of fiber which may reduce the risk of obesity and Type 2 diabetes. Most vegetables are low in fat and calories and do not contain cholesterol. Vegetables contain phosphorus, dietary fiber, folic acid, vitamin A and C – all necessary nutrients.

Vegetables can be marinated before grilling, seasoned with various spices, flavored by adding pesto, guacamole or hummus after grilling. Below is a list of vegetables that are good for grilling:

Green beans – They like to slip through the grates so put them in a basket or on tin foil with a little cooking spray and seasoning.

Eggplant – This vegetable is good marinated in a combination of balsamic vinegar, olive oil, garlic and basil. Cut eggplant into one-quarter inch slices before marinating and grilling.

Tomatoes – Cut your tomato in half crosswise and grill cut-side down for three to four minutes. Turn tomato over and add drops of pesto and finish grilling. This method of cooking enhances the flavor.

Zucchini – Slice, marinate and grill using the same combination as the eggplant. Or grill with a small amount of olive oil and salt.

Asparagus – Grill on tin foil with a small amount of garlic salt.

Corn – Some would say to leave the corn in the husks while grilling, but that does not allow the corn to get the little grill marks, which enhances its flavor especially when you add a small amount of butter or butter spray before you eat it.

For more valuable information on vegetables and health, visit http://msue.anr.msu.edu/.

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