The grass and trees have greened up and the days are nice and long, sure signs that people are firing up their BBQs. Iconic images of summers hanging around outside around the BBQ and grilling marinated meats and vegetables while the kids stay cool in the pool or running through a sprinkler make for lasting memories.
When we think “what will I barbeque tonight,” our minds automatically go to the traditional choices of chicken and hot dogs, burgers, steak and our favourite veggies. If we’re really on our grilling game, some corn on the cob. But there is so much more we can do and want to do these days, especially for the many friends and family members who are non-meat eaters; vegan, dairy-free, or vegetarian eaters. You know, they can enjoy delicious meals off the grill too, so, move over meat and let’s put the grill marks to some unexpected surprises that will tickle everyone’s taste buds.
The next time you’re ready to fire up the grill for friends and family, spark creativity and ignite a conversation with some new recipes that’ll totally surprise them that they were cooked on the grill. Already delicious and adored foods such as watermelon, quesadillas and even cheese take on all new flavours when enhanced with a hit of smoke and char.
Peaches: Get the best of the sweet and savoury worlds by grilling peaches. It's simple to do. Cut the peach in half and remove the pit and grill the open sides of the fruit on high heat until grill marks appear. Cube these peachy babies and add to a salad, top them on your grilled pork chops, or serve as a side to your main.
Watermelon: Why would anyone want to grill watermelon, when it’s so refreshing cold you might ask. Well, maybe to try the inimitable pairing of grilled watermelon with Greek feta and balsamic vinegar. Or for a new twist on fruit kebabs with other grilled fruit, like the one below from, Love and Zest.
1 cup diced watermelon
2 bananas, sliced into chunks
1 cup strawberries, stems removed
2 kiwis, cut into 4–6 pieces
1 cup pineapple
1 mango, peeled and diced
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 limes, juiced
1 tablespoon honey
Skewer fruit on presoaked wooden skewers and sprinkle with cinnamon.
Heat grill over medium-high heat. Place fruit skewers on grill; rotate every 5 minutes to ensure even grilling and grill marks.
Grill for 12-15 minutes.
In a small bowl, whisk together honey and lime. With 5 minutes remaining brush with honey-lime mixture.
If you love salad and you love grilled things, why not put them together? Grilling romaine is all the rage and is fast becoming a fan favourite as a side or to lay a bed under every kind of grilled meat.
Check out this recipe from Simply Recipes.
If you’re grilling fish or meat, grilled polenta makes a great side dish for non-meat eaters. You can buy polenta in tubes where the loaf is thick and holds together, and the polenta is tender. Grilling it adds a depth of added flavour you can’t get from pan searing or even roasting. Lightly brush the polenta slices with oil and grill over medium-high heat for just a few minutes, or until the exterior is golden and crispy with strong sear marks.
The next time you’re in the mood for quesadillas, remember that these mighty Mexican sandwiches are even better on the BBQ. Just make sure all ingredients inside the tortilla are cooked and tender, fill, assemble and slap them on the BBQ.
The tortillas are unlikely to stick to the grill grates, but brush a little oil on them anyways for some extra crisp and even more delicious char. And while you’re at it, why not grill the avocado, too?
There’s no reason for vegetarians to feel left out when it comes to grilling and even though tofu needs a lot of help because on its own, it is bland when marinated and barbequed tofu takes the starring role. This Korean barbeque marinade will make even the meat-eaters want to applaud.
3 x 320g packets of hard stir fry tofu, cut into 1cm-thick slices
125ml (1/2 cup) tamari (wheat-free soy sauce)
60g (1/4 cup) white sugar
2 teaspoons mustard powder
2 teaspoons dried onion flakes
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted
1/4 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
2 shallots, trimmed, thinly sliced diagonally
Place the tofu, in a single layer, in a large glass or ceramic dish.
Whisk the tamari, sugar, mustard powder, onion flakes and garlic powder in a container. and pour over the tofu.
Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 4 hours or overnight to marinate.
Preheat a barbecue flat plate on medium-high. Brush the barbecue with the oil.
Cook the tofu for 3 minutes each side or until caramelized.
Transfer the tofu to a serving platter and top with shallot.
Sprinkle with sesame seeds and dried chilli flakes.
Cheese does not usually come to mind when we think of summer grilling but you could grill some cheeses directly on the grill if you wanted to. Halloumi is a Cypriot cheese that is semi-hard, unripened and brined cheese made from a mixture of goat's and sheep's milk. It has an incredibly high melting point, making it perfect for grilling. And the best part. It’s simple and quick to do.
Slice the block of cheese into 1/3 inch pieces so they don’t fall apart on the grill. Get your grill going to medium-high heat and let the cheese cook for about three minutes per side until they are char-marked.
The barbeque can handle a lot more than what we can think - appetizers, mains and desserts - only limited by imagination and creative efforts. So move the meat over to the side and let’s expand the repertoire to try some new and hot grilling ideas.
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