published Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

Garden vegetables add color, flavor and nutrients to mundane grill meals

Bright colors and nutrients go hand-in-hand for vegetables on the grill.
Bright colors and nutrients go hand-in-hand for vegetables on the grill.
Photo by McClatchey Tribune /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Vegetables may not be your first choice to throw on the grill this summer, but they can provide a kick of color and nutrition to a mundane meal.

"It's easy to just have hot dogs and hamburgers, but it's bland in color," said Liz Regnitz, who oversees a series of grilling classes at Southern Hearth & Patio on Lee Highway. "Vegetables give the grill a more attractive look."

Peppers

Whether they be red, yellow or green, bell peppers are great on the grill. Peppers add a shot of spice, usually impaled alongside shrimp or beef in a succulent kebab.

But simply decorating a grill grate with bell peppers is as healthy as it is handsome, Regnitz said.

"Anything that's brighter means it has a lot of nutrients to it," she said.

Cooking whole peppers is also possible, according to a vegetable grilling guide on about.com. Gut the pepper of its stem and seeds, then brush with oil before grilling for about three minutes on each side.

Corn

Corn on the cob is probably one of the most common grilled vegetables. Simply free the cob from the surrounding husk and silk, lather it with olive oil or margarine, then mummify it in aluminum foil. Throw it on a grill heated to medium temperature. Rotate the foil-covered corn throughout its 15- to 20-minute cooking time.

If aluminum foil is not readily available, the corn husk works just as well, according to the website whatscooking america.net. After soaking the ears of corn in water, pull back the husks, but don't completely remove them. Discard only the silk, dress the revealed kernels with olive oil or butter, then roast them on medium heat before finally putting them on direct heat. Once the kernels begin showing a dark color, they're ready to serve, according to the website.

Potatoes

Baked potatoes on the grill are so popular they've merited their own website, grillingbakedpotatoes.com.

Just like the corn, potatoes can be wrapped in aluminum foil or not, the website said. However, grilling without foil results in a shorter grilling time of only 5 to 10 minutes.

If a crispier potato skin is desired, grill the potato for about 30 minutes without the foil, then remove it and place the potato on direct heat. To add a bit more flavor, poke the potato with a fork about five times for venting, spray it with cooking oil, then apply preferred spices.

Hobo Bags

For those unsure of which vegetables they'd prefer on the grill, there's a grilled treat known as a Hobo Bag, Regnitz said.

There is no steadfast recipe for a Hobo Bag; it's all a matter of taste. In a small pouch made out of aluminum foil, throw in the vegetables desired, then sprinkle in olive oil or soy sauce. Close the bag up, and let the vegetables simmer on the grill.

"The natural oils in the vegetables will help cook themselves," Regnitz said.

Contact Adam Poulisse at 423-757-6592 or apoulisse@timesfreepress.com.

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