I used to love to grill out as soon as the weather was remotely friendly. Heck, when I was married many years ago and we had an in-ground gas grill, we grilled all year long. My ex-husband would go out and dig out the 3 feet of snow around the grill, light it, and let it burn away on high until it got really hot (sometimes half an hour or more). No matter how cold it was outside we still treated ourselves occasionally to grilled ribeye steaks, chicken or veggies, When I think now about how much gas we wasted on that indulgence I’m a little embarrassed.
And now that I live in an apartment with no outdoor space, I miss the fabulous flavor of grilled stuff. Yeah, I can still pan-grill a steak (sprinkle salt on a heavy skillet and heat until it’s really hot, then throw the steak in), but I don’t often eat meat at home. Even if you’ve got health issues, grilling can be great if you watch quality and techniques.
So if you’re lucky and have a real grill, here are 11 tasty, healthy grill ideas:
- I recently learned from the World’s Healthiest Foods guy how to grill salmon under the broiler that come out utterly magical-tasting. Here’s his technique for “healthy grilling” salmon. If you’ve never tried any of his recipes, I highly recommend them. He’s invented flavor combinations that are unique and incredibly flavorful – and surprisingly often keep me from wanting to eat bad carbs like bread and chips.
- Anyway, while I’m reminiscing about the wonderful taste of grilled foods, I’m happy to pass along some tips from Whole Foods. I particularly like idea of their new rubs for meat and chicken – spice blends with no oil salt or sugar. That can be really important for some of us boomers with health issues. Look for their Healthy Earth Seasonings in the Meat department in five flavors: Asian, Indian, Latin, Maya Coffee and Mediterranean.Meaty. Oh, and check out the cool wine pairings they suggest!
- Try Spinach and Feta chicken sausages to lighten the menu without sacrificing flavor. Love their wine pairings, too: Pair this with Vinum Cellars Chardonnay. Flavors of French oak, Red Delicious apple, and lemon curd. Num.
- Bison burger patties give you bold flavor without a lot of fat. Try Gorgonzola and Sun-Dried Tomato Bison Burgers. Pair with: a full-bodied red with notes of dark cherry and blackberry like H&G Washington State Merlot.
- Most store Meat departments carry grill-ready Health Starts Here® lean beef and chicken kebobs. These skewers are pre-portioned with 3-4 oz of lean meat and veggies. Pair with: a light-bodied, fresh, fruit forward but spicy SeaGlass Santa Barbara Pinot Noir.
- Try Grilled Chili-Garlic Swordfish; grilling the bok choy alongside it brings out the sweetness of the vegetable, making it a perfect complement to the fish. Pair with: a bold, hoppy and citrusy Redhook Long Hammer IPA.
- Rosemary-Lime Wild Alaska Salmon Kabobs recipe. It’s fresh, tangy and super flavorful. Pair with: Robert Mondavi Fumé Blanc with its mouthwatering flavors of honeydew, lemongrass and honeysuckle.
- Corn on the cob – Soak ears in the husk for up to an hour minimum (or overnight) and grill them husk-on to retain moisture. Or, husk the ears and sprinkle them with your favorite spices (some great combinations are available with herbs and lemon!) and grill in foil.
- Portobello mushrooms or zucchini – marinate with a simple balsamic vinaigrette and serve on a whole grain burger bun with all the fixings. This makes for a veggie sandwich the meat lovers will enjoy too!
- Grill your tortillas along with some zucchini, bell peppers and onions for out-of-this-world veggie fajitas. Wrap them in foil and heat for 3-5 minutes, or place them directly on the grill for one minute for a quick, smoky char.
- Halved peaches or pineapple rings – these make great salad toppers and desserts. Just drizzle with balsamic vinegar or sprinkle with cinnamon and your guests will be begging for seconds!
Whole Foods Market supplied most of these ideas, and it’s really good to know their meat comes from animals raised without antibiotics or added hormones. Also, all their seafood is Responsibly Farmed or wild-caught from fisheries that are certified healthy. So rest easy while you engage in the very American joy of grilling. Your heart and arteries will thank you, and your spirit will be also grateful you paid attention to how your food was raised.