The Deconstructed Dish: Healthy Summer Grilling

By Jenn Randazzo, MS RD on July 7, 2015 , categorized in Plant-based Nutrition

summer grilling

Spending the majority of my life in St. Louis, MO, there were a few things I looked forward to in the summer: entire days spent swimming at Country Hill, catching lightening bugs in an old pickle jar (that had holes drilled into its lid so the little critters could breathe), and family- and friend-filled BBQs.

And while I no longer spend the entire day at the pool or catch lightening bugs in a pickle jar, I still love me a great BBQ.  Being a foodie and an extrovert, BBQs are seriously my jam. If I wasn’t married to Mr. Randazzo, a raging introvert who loves the same three foods he ate as a toddler, I’d crash every BBQ I could in search of my soul mate.

While BBQs typically include animal-based proteins, I love to bring my beloved plant-based options to the party! So, if you’re interested in featuring some killer plant-based options at your next BBQ, check out my three top plant-based grilling tips:

•  Pack your grill with plants

Move over meat! Mushrooms, zucchini, sweet potatoes, peppers, squash, onions, asparagus, red or green lettuces (yes, you read that right) are all perfect for the grill. Whether you skewer them for kabobs or loosely toss them onto the flame-kissed grates, these vegetables can be an awesome entrée or side dish.

• .  Don’t forget the marinade

Marinades are amazing, easy ways to add tons of robust flavor to your favorite grilled veggies.  Sure, you can purchase pre-made marinades at your local market, but why bother when it’s beyond simple to make your own!

To make your own delicious marinade, choose a simple combination of these three components (Ratio of fat-to-acid is generally 3-to-1).

  1. Fat (olive oil, peanut oil, safflower seed oil)
  2. Acid (vinegar, lemon, lime, pineapple)
  3. Seasonings (salt, pepper, turmeric, garlic, oregano)

If you’re in need of a little inspiration, try my fave marinade which I just whisk together and store in a small mason jar:

  • 1 cup safflower seed oil
  • 1/3 cup freshly-squeezed lime juice
  • Copious amounts of salt, pepper, fresh cilantro, garlic, and a pinch of red pepper flakes

• When grilling veggie burgers, especially homemade ones, do this to prevent them from crumbling (like my dreams of becoming a professional soccer player):

  1. Primarily make veggie burgers with hearty proteins, like beans. In my experience, beets, tofu and tempeh can crumble a little more easily.
  2. Make sure patties are formed and cold (if not frozen).
  3. Preheat that grill and don’t slap on those burgers until it is as hot as your celebrity crush
  4. Right before placing on the grill, brush will oil on both sides.
  5. Let those suckers sear before flipping.  Patience is key, my friend.

What plants are you going to get on the grill this summer?

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Burgers Grilling Plant-based cooking summer

Jenn Randazzo, MS RD

Jenn Randazzo works at Vega as a National Educator. She is passionate about building relationships that help people take ownership of their health. As a registered dietitian, she specializes in using client-centered techniques to guide people toward realistic and achievable goals. A strong believer in collaboration, she hopes to change the world through plant-based nutrition.

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