Some of the best memories of summer are those warm evenings spent on the patio with good food and good friends. With summer just around the corner, many of us are getting ready to fire up our barbeques. Considering the growing popularity of Meatless Mondays, why not aim to add some meatless grilling to your repertoire this summer?Gone are the days when barbequing was a meat-eaters domain alone. Given current health recommendations to limit how much red meat and processed meat we eat, more and more people are experimenting with healthier alternatives on the barbeque. Grilling plant-based foods such as vegetables, fruit, veggie burgers and tofu brings out sweet, smoky flavours, giving these foods a whole new dimension.
If you still need some more convincing, consider that only 44% of British Columbians are meeting their recommended daily servings of vegetables and fruit. We could all benefit from incorporating more plant-based foods into our diets. Not only are these foods key sources of vitamins and minerals, but they also provide us with fibre, antioxidants and phytochemicals (the naturally occurring compounds found in plants that may reduce cancer risk).
Here are some ideas to get you grilling meatless meals this summer:
- Vegetable & tofu skewers served on brown rice. Start by cubing extra-firm tofu and marinating for 1-2 hours in a mixture of low sodium soy sauce, sesame oil, lime juice, ginger and red pepper flakes. Slice eggplant, zucchini, bell peppers, and pineapple into similar sizes. Using bamboo skewers, alternate the veggies, fruit and marinated tofu. Grill the skewers and serve on a bed of brown rice.
- Veggie burgers. Replace your usual hamburger with a grilled veggie burger - you can buy pre-made burgers or make your own homemade veggie burgers from beans or lentils. Alternatively, you could use a grilled portobello mushroom in place of a hamburger patty and top with cheese, pesto, and assorted grilled veggies.
- Pesto pizza with grilled vegetables & goat cheese. Top your whole wheat pizza dough with pesto, pre-grilled vegetables, goat cheese, and arugula. Grill until cheese is melted and the crust is golden.
- Grilled vegetable, bean & cold grain salad. Toss together your favourite grilled veggies (i.e., bell peppers, zucchini, and corn) with black beans and a cooked whole grain (e.g. brown rice, millet, quinoa, or wheat berries). Dress the salad with a mixture of olive oil, lime juice, balsamic vinegar, garlic, cilantro and a pinch of salt and pepper.
- Fire roasted fruit salad. Grilling peaches, nectarines and pineapples brings out even more of their sweet juices. To make it a meal, combine grilled fruit with mixed greens and top the salad with cheese (e.g. goat cheese, mozzarella, gorgonzola) and your choice of pecans, slivered almonds or pistachios.
Today's blog is written by Kiran Kalkat. Kiran is a UBC dietetic intern with the Provincial Health Services Authority. As part of her internship, she is completing a one month population and public health rotation with the BC Ministry of Health. In her previous life Kiran worked as a research coordinator in the university and health care settings. Kiran has a keen interest in health promotion, and is excited to be contributing this blog to the HealthyFamiliesBC website.