4th of July Grilled Fruits and Veggies
Get out the grill – it’s time to Barbecue!
BBQ’ing is pretty much a required activity of summer, and fruits and vegetables are an incredible way to experience the taste of smokey char-grilled food.
One of the most magical things about this type of high-heat cooking is that the scalding temperature has the unique ability to bring out certain flavors and textures we could never experience raw.
When we cook our foods over high heat, the natural sugars of the fruit or veggies brown and crisp creating a deep caramel flavor.
This is why cooking fruits and veggies on the grill is so magical because the high-heat not only brings out the caramelized sugars we’re hoping for but it also adds an extra char texture and smokey flavor that makes us dream of late summer evenings.
On top of that, the juices release and infuse into any kind of crostini or bread you’d like to top it on.
Yes, it’s absolutely delicious and brings out the summer magic I crave.
Here are some ideas to get you thinking outside the box and keep your healthy eating goals on track!
3 Tips to Enjoying Grilled Veggies
1. Grill your greens
I’m talking hearty greens like romaine and cabbage. Simply cut a head of romaine lengthwise in half and chop the cabbages into thick wedges.
Place them on the grill cut-side down and watch the grill-mark magic happen in a matter of minutes!
2. Marinate your veggies just as you would your meat.
Use the same grilling technique to prepare your veggies as you would meat.
We typically go for the meat because it has that savory depth of flavor that only marinating can achieve, so why not get that same taste on your portobello mushrooms and other porous veggies?
3. The secret in the sauce…
This goes for sauces too. Pick out your favorite sauce recipe and drizzle it all over your grilled veggies so it’s absolutely crave-able so not something you feel you’re resorting to.
I love blending fatty nuts like walnuts or macadamias with a bit of vinegar and fresh summer herbs.
You can even brush this on while you’re cooking and add a drizzle before serving.
Eating is about enjoying your experiencing and also treating your body kindly.
Summer holidays and pool parties are a great time to kick back with friends and enjoy some of nature’s bounty.
Don’t feel like you can’t enjoy treats and specialty foods – feeling like you’re missing out is not the point of healthy eating. It’s making smart decisions that are right for you in balance.
Tips to Enjoying Grilled Fruit
1. Buy fruits that are sturdy yet sweet.
When picking out your fruits they should be slightly tender to the touch – not gushy and not hard. You want firm yet ripe.
2. When Cooking Skin-on or Sturdier Fruit:
Speaking of sturdy, your fruits should be stable for ease of use and keeping the skin on allows greater ability for the fruit to stay intact. Great fruits options are apricots, apples, bananas, cantaloupe, figs peaches, pineapples, plums, strawberries, and watermelon.
3. When Cooking Berries or Less Sturdy Fruit:
If you have non-sturdy fruits like berries, grapes, or floppy mango place them in a grill pan with small perforated holes to keep everything together but still attain that smoky flavor. You can also line them up on a skewer and turn every few minutes.
4. Fruit is not just dessert!
Grilled fruit is a delicious sweet addition to many savory dishes such as tacos, pizza, sandwiches/wraps, crostini etc.
5. Don’t forget you can marinate fruits too!
I love grilling my fruits that have been marinating in sangria overnight. It brings out a tangy sweet flavor to anything you’d like to pair it with such as coconut ice cream, tacos, or even polenta.
Try out my Grilled Sangria Peach over Summer Herb Polenta with a Raw Honey Drizzle for your 4th of July BBQ this weekend!
Grilled Sangria Peaches over Summer Herb Polenta with a Raw Honey Drizzle
Author: Julie Magnussen aka Healthy Julie
- 1.5L bottle of red wine (doesn’t have to be high-quality, but not cheap enough to cause a hangover after a few sips – I’m talking to you two-buck chuck!)
- 1/4 cup coconut sugar (dissolved in 3 Tbl of hot water)
- 2 oranges, (rind cut off and juiced)
- 1 lemon, (rind cut off and juiced)
- 4 peaches, pitted and halved
- 1 cinnamon stick
Polenta (you can use this recipe or buy pre-cooked polenta rounds at the grocery store)
- 2 cups cashew milk (1/2 cup cashews + 2 cups water blended)
- 2 cups veggie or chicken broth
- 1 cup coarse yellow cornmeal
- 1 cup frozen corn (or freshly grilled corn!)
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
- 4 leaves fresh basil, finely chopped
- 1 tsp fresh thyme, finely chopped
- Salad greens
- Raw Honey
- Spring of thyme
- thinly sliced red onion or shallots
- Prepare the Sangria the night before the party. Cut the rinds off of the oranges and lemon in large chunks. Place the wine, coconut sugar, orange juice and rind pieces, lemon juice and rind pieces, peaches, and cinnamon stick in a large pitcher. Place in the refrigerator overnight.
- Prepare the polenta the night before. In a large saucepan, add the cashew milk and veggie broth and bring to a simmer over medium. Slowly pour the cornmeal into the liquid whisking constantly as to avoid lumping. Bring heat to low and continue to stir for 10-15 minutes as the mixture thickens. Stir in the garlic powder, onion powder, frozen (or grilled) corn, sea salt, and pepper to taste. Stir until well combined and add in the basil and thyme at the last minute. Pour mixture into a shallow baking dish (8×8 works well) and refrigerate. When cooled, use a round device (large cups work) to cut out large polenta rounds.
- When ready to grill, remove the marinated peaches from the sangria and place each one flesh-side down on a hot grill. Lightly oil the polenta rounds and place them on the hot grill. Cover (if a smokiness if desired) and cook for 5-10 minutes until a nice charred grill marks form on the peach. Remove the peaches from the grill. Turn the polenta over and cook another 10 minutes with the cover on.
4. To plate, place polenta round on the plate and top with a grilled peach. To garnish, add a dollop of Aioli (optional) and drizzle with raw honey. Garnish with remaining herbs, salad greens, and red onion if you prefer.
Our Featured Guest Nutritional Chef: Julie Magnussen
Today’s recipe was created just for us by Guest Nutritionist, Julie Magnussen who is a Nutritional Chef and certified Health Coach.
Julie and I met in 2012 when she was the Healthy Eating Specialist for Whole Foods Market, and I was there teaching cooking classes. Over the past 4 years, we have both grown our own businesses, supporting and learning from each other along the way.
We share the same philosophies about balanced eating, and she adds such a depth of knowledge to our platform. I am simply delighted to be able to bring you exclusive content and unique recipes she is creating just for us!