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The Fourth of July is just around the corner, and what’s more American than burgers and hot dogs on the grill? Veggies!

If you haven’t tried grilling vegetables yet, this is a great time to experiment.

You’ll find that vegetables and some fruits, too, take really well to the grill – their flavors become mellower, deeper, and depending on how long you keep them on the heat, they develop a caramelized taste and texture. Divine.

Here are a few tips to enjoy the goodness of the grill:

  • Avoid vegetables with a high water content such as celery, cucumbers and leafy greens, instead try asparagus, eggplant, onions, bell peppers, squash, zucchini and mushrooms.
  • When preparing veggies, remember the more surface area the better for getting that grilled flavor we all enjoy.
  • To make sure they cook evenly, cut vegetables into similar sizes. Square and round shapes are great for skewers; if you want to cook directly on the grill, cut items such as zucchini and eggplant into lengthwise planks. Some items such as asparagus can be grilled whole. (If you’re using bamboo skewers, be sure to soak them first so they won’t burn.)
  • Before grilling, toss vegetables with a little olive oil and your favorite herb or spice.
  • The oil adds flavor while helping to keep the food from sticking to the grill. Be careful not to saturate the veggies with oil or a marinade – too much could cause a flare-up.
  • The best part of grilling veggies is that they cook quickly – usually just 4 to 10 minutes. To speed up the cooking even more, you can parboil your vegetables indoors, then simply grill for a minute or two to add that nice grilled look and smoky taste. Watch them closely in any event, so they don’t burn.
  • Don’t forget stone fruits such as plums and peaches – and even thick slices of watermelon can be grilled, too. Cut stone fruit in half, remove the pit, brush with a little oil and place directly on the grill. After grilling serve as is, or cut up and add to salads or use in a dessert.

Summertime, with the abundant fruits and vegetables at hand, is the perfect time to add more plant-based foods to your diet, and grilling is just one way to prepare them.  For more ideas, check out our Oldways Nutrition Exchange Plant-Based Diets toolkit. We rustled up resources including more tips and recipes for enjoying these foods in your diet any time of the year.

Happy grilling!

-Deborah


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