Wellness Club — Chillin & Grillin

Wellness Club — Chillin & Grillin
Abingdon, VA. - Thursday, Jul 1, 2021.

Written by: Elizabeth Hall, PhD, RDN, LDN, Food City Registered Dietitian

Summer means it’s time to fire up the grill and chill by the pool with a plant-packed snack. We’ve got you covered with hot and cold plant hacks to keep you satisfied all summer long.

There are lots of plants that lend themselves to grilling. Let’s start with veggies. Choose from classics like grilled peppers, onions, and summer squash to more non-traditional, trendy options like cabbage or cauliflower steaks, asparagus, and sliced Brussels sprouts. Hearty produce like savory portabella mushrooms, corn on the cob, carrots, and potatoes are also great choices. You really can’t go wrong! 

A good hack to add even more flavor is to marinate your vegetables like you might typically do with an animal protein prior to grilling. A good marinade just has a few raw ingredients including an oil, such as canola or olive oil, something acidic like citrus fruits or vinegar, and your favorite herbs and spices. Marinate your veggies for at least 30 minutes before throwing them on the grill.

For a plant-packed side dish or snack, grill up an assortment of vegetables and serve warm with a homemade dressing or dip made from Greek yogurt, lemon juice, garlic, and fresh herbs. 

We can’t forget fruit! Grilling fruits like watermelon, pineapple, and peaches, caramelizes the sugars and intensifies the flavor. Plus, it’s easy to do! Take watermelon, for instance. Simply slice your watermelon into wedges leaving the rind attached. This will keep the watermelon flesh from falling apart when you flip it with tongs during cooking. Hint: a mini watermelon that is less than 5 pounds, may be the perfect size for about five to six people. For a sweet and spicy alternative, after slicing, sprinkle a rub on your watermelon wedges. Use white or brown sugar, flavored with a little salt, lime, and other spices like cumin or red pepper flakes. Grill the watermelon on high heat for about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Serve alone or with leafy greens.

‘Tis the season for chillin and grillin, and a plant-powered cookout is sure to keep those summer vibes flowin all season long!