Most of us are fairly familiar with the ins and outs of grilling burgers and ‘dogs, but what about the side dishes? Sure, a nice big bag of chips and a bowl of slaw have always been faithful accompaniments to your favorite burgers, but why not venture out a little further and try something different? Just about anything that can be prepared indoors can be mastered on the grill with the right implements, including vegetables, and grilling often provides a medium and inspiration for extra creativity. If that isn’t enough to tempt you to haul those veggies outside, since outdoor grills often cooks more quickly than traditional indoor methods, more of the nutrients of your favorite vegetables are sealed and more readily retained when cooking outdoors!
Following are some tried and true veggie and side dish favorites that can be prepared right outside with the main meal and will save you the hassle of running in and out of the house to check on indoor cooking endeavors. Furthermore, the flavor the grill will bestow upon your favorite veggies will probably make outdoor cooking during the summer months a contender to those pre-packaged foods that often accompany a casual barbecue. So grab your BBQ apron and get started!
Grilled Portabello Mushrooms
1 lb. of portabello mushrooms
1 tblspn. of olive oil
1 ½ tblspns. of red wine or balsamic vinegar
dash of low-sodium soy sauce
Drizzle olive oil, vinegar and soy sauce over portabellos and marinate for 30 minutes. Grill over medium hot coals for 8 – 10 minutes on each side. Serve as a side dish, or as a portabello “burger” topped with the fresh vegetables.
4 medium baking potatoes
1 cup of low-fat or fat-free bottled Italian dressing
Wash potatoes and cut into ¼ inch slices almost all the way through the potato, but not entirely (so that the whole potato stays in one piece). Divide potatoes and place atop foil squares or pouches. Pour dressing over the top making sure that it gets into the cracks of the potatoes evenly. Seal packets and grill over medium high coals until tender. Open packets and grill for an additional 5 minutes; serve hot.
Chili Lime Corn
4 large ears of fresh corn, husks and silk removed
2 tblspns. of chili powder
Juice of two large fresh limes
Dash of olive oil
In a small bowl, combine chili powder, lime juice and olive oil until well mixed. Place corn cobs in individual foil squares and pour marinade over corn to saturate. Seal foil firmly around each individual cob and grill for approximately 45 minutes over medium hot coals, turning once during cooking times. Remove corn packets from grill and serve hot, pouring any remaining marinade from packets onto corn.