I love to grill. Gas or charcoal? Doesn’t matter. Summer, fall, winter or spring? Whenever. Food just tastes better when it is cooked over an open flame.
However, I have to admit…I have been guilty of being a bit closed-minded when it comes to grilling. It’s mostly been meat: burgers and bratwurst, pork tenderloin and chicken breasts – that sort of stuff.
But the truth is there are all sorts of healthy dishes you can throw on your grill. In fact you can grill up an entire meal that’s full of nutrition – and you can even skip the meat completely.
We scoured the web for some of the most delicious-sounding, healthy grilling recipes. There are a lot of great ideas. Check out our favorites!
1. Grilled Bean Burger
The good old hamburger is everybody’s go-to item when it’s time for an easy cookout. Burgers were the very first thing I ever learned to grill.
But if you’re cutting out or cutting back on meat – something like a black bean burger is an excellent healthy option. Beans are packed with protein too. And while you may not get the same juiciness as a real, medium rare burger – you can make a bean burger with incredible flavor.
The big problem with bean burgers (especially the homemade kind) is getting them to stay together on the grill. Thankfully, Sonja and Alex Overhiser from the blog A Couple Cooks have done the experimenting for you and figured out how to make the perfect bean burger. They seriously tried 10 different times until they got it right!
They use pinto beans for their recipe as well as coarsely chopped almonds and sunflower seeds with breadcrumbs – plus plenty of seasoning. You can get some NOW Foods Roasted Sunflower Seeds and Natural Unsalted Almonds at Natural Healthy Concepts.
- Check out the full Classic Bean Burger Recipe
2. Marinated Portobello Mushrooms
The Overhisers admit that their burgers are still a bit dry. They suggest grilling up juicy portobello mushrooms if you’ve really got a craving for something that’s more like meat.
You can put it on a bun like a burger or use a knife and fork to pretend you’re eating a steak.
Marinated mushrooms can have that savory flavor – or the taste the Japanese refer to as Umami. And you just might exclaim “Ooooh Mommy” when you eat one of these yummy shrooms.
The key to grilled portobellos is a good marinade. But it doesn’t have to be fancy. Try a simple mix of balsamic vinegar and olive oil along with minced garlic, salt and pepper.
The Vegan American Princess adds shallots and some other herbs and spices to her portobello mushroom marinade recipe. Blogger Ellen Francis also reminds us of all the nutrition in those mushrooms. They provide plenty of minerals, and they can retain their antioxidants levels after being cooked.
When you place them on the grill, cook them top side down first. That way you can pour some marinade into the mushroom head. Then baste the top of the mushroom cap when you turn it over. You may want to slice off most of the stem if it’s long, because they can be a little rubbery.
- Get more advice on grilling portobellos from Grilling Companion
3. Grilled French Fries
Whether it’s beef, beans or mushrooms – you just can’t have a burger without some fries. Have you ever tried grilling your potato side dish?
There are many different ways to make potatoes on the grill. But this recipe for grilled fries is extremely easy and leaves you with thick chips that are crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside.
Again – preparation is simple. Just coat your sliced potatoes in olive oil, salt and pepper and throw them right on the rack. Criss-cutting your potatoes makes for an attractive looking dish – but you can cut them straight too.
You may also want to try this recipe with some sweet potatoes and use Organic Coconut Oil for a different sort of flavor. Keep in mind – sweet potatoes tend to be harder and may require a longer grilling time.
- Get complete directions on these Grilled Potatoes from Skinny Taste
4. Foil-Wrapped Potatoes & Shallots
Grilling things in foil is an awesome idea for all kinds of dishes – especially vegetables. You retain moisture because you will basically be steaming the food. But you’ll still get that smokey, grilled flavor.
This potato side dish is a bit fancier than the simple fries, but it is still super easy.
Joshua Bousel wrote about his experiences grilling foil-wrapped potatoes for the website Serious Eats. He tried out several different types of potatoes using a recipe with shallots, lemon juice, thyme salt and pepper. Joshua says you should always leave the potato skins on because that adds a lot of flavor.
Besides potatoes – you can also try grilling things like onions and peppers wrapped in foil. Asparagus can be good too – but the challenge is knowing when things are done. You’ve got to peek inside that foil now and then until you master the process.
- Get Joshua’s full recipe for Foil-Wrapped Potatoes
5. Grilled Zucchini Caprese Stacks
This summer, I’ve got a ton of zucchini in my backyard garden. But sometimes it’s hard to know what to do with these things. I usually saute them with onions, or have someone else make me some zucchini bread.
Kalyn from Kalyn’s Kitchen has some great advice for making a grilled zucchini dish that looks good and tastes good.
The first thing you should do is check out her Guide to Grilling Zucchini. Important tips including cutting thick, uniform slices and then marinating the zucchini for a significant amount of time. She says you can let them soak all day if you want.
Once you’ve mastered the perfect grilled zucchini – you can impress dinner guests with Kalyn’s caprese stacks. They’ve got fresh tomato and mozzarella slices as well as a basil vinaigrette dressing.
- Get the complete Zucchini Caprese Recipe
6. Homemade Pizza on the Grill
Yes, it may sound strange to some, but you can most definitely grill pizza.
Making a pizza with a homemade crust and your own fresh ingredients is the way to go. There are dozens and dozens of different ideas out there for healthy homemade pizza. You can check out links to 50 Vegetarian Pizza Ideas at OhMyVeggies.com.
But one of our favorite recipes comes from the blog Cowgirls and Collard Greens where Kayle writes about her summertime pizza with grilled veggies.
She grills all her veggies first before turning them into toppings. That’s smart because they won’t taste nearly as good if you put them on the pizza when they’re still raw. Grilling up the toppings first is how your whole pizza gets that smokey flavor.
- Get the full recipe for Kayle’s Summertime Veggie Pizza
- Watch a video from Weber Grills with advice for making pizza on the grill
7. Meatless Grilled Kabobs
An ideal way to get an assortment of healthy, grilled food on your plate is to make some shish kabobs.
Most kabobs come loaded with chunks of steak and chicken – but they don’t have to. The blogger at When Harry Met Salad calls her veggie kabobs “summer on a stick.”
Of course, the key to tasty kabobs is the flavor that comes from your marinade. This recipe calls for some pure maple syrup along with the usual suspects of balsamic, olive oil, lemon juice and seasonings. You can order NOW Foods Organic Maple Syrup at Natural Healthy Concepts.
Some quick kabob grilling suggestions…
You may want to grill each type of food on separate kabobs. That’s because each item may cook a bit differently requiring varying amounts of time/heat to get them just right. If you have trouble with food flipping on the stick when you go to turn your kabobs over – trying using two skewers instead of just one.
Don’t get frustrated if things aren’t perfect. Kabob cooking is an art.
- Get More Veggie Kabob Advice from Organic Authority
8. Grilled & Filled Apples
Even healthy desert can be a possibility on the grill. All sorts of fruit transform and caramelize over an open flame creating new flavors for your mouth to enjoy.
One of the easiest fruits to grill up is apples. You can slice them up and cook them in a foil wrap with butter and brown sugar – or cook them whole like in this fun recipe from the website Farm Flavor.
All you need to do is core the apple – but leave the bottom intact. Then you fill up the center with a mix of cream cheese, fruit preserves, brown sugar and a bit of butter.
You could also try cinnamon and raisins in the middle for something with more of an autumn flavor. Really – you can fill your grilled apples with just about anything you think would taste good.
- Get the full Grilled and Filled Apples recipe
- Check out our post on 6 Delicious Ways to Enjoy Apples
What’s Your Favorite Food to Grill?
Do you have an amazing recipe for summertime grilling? What unlikely item have you found to be perfect for grilling?
Don’t be shy! Share your knowledge with the rest of us so we can enjoy it too. Leave us a comment below.
Great list, and thanks for including my zucchini tips and also the Grilled Zucchini Caprese Stacks!
Pizza on the grill is one of my favorites – try pesto-caprese!