10 Great Not-Meat Things You Should Grill
With the brief, if glorious, respite from 100-plus degree weather, we took again to outdoor activities that, for many of us, have been shelved since late May. And though fall may be upon us, we have at least a solid three weeks, if not more, of summery weather perfect for cranking up the grill and cooking outdoors.
foodnetwork.com Emeril's traditional banana split, grilled. See also "Inside Out" banana split, below.
When it comes to grilling, the question is not so much "can you" as "should you," and the answer is almost invariably yes. It's no secret that we love meat here at City of Ate, but few among us are wholly immune against siren call of expertly prepared not-meat things. The key with grilling things of the herbivore variety is basically the same as with meat: high-quality cuts (or ... picks?); marinated (or not marinated) wisely; paired judiciously to enhance and/or supplement the flavor, without overwhelming it.
Virtually anyone can quickly construct a list of things that might be good tossed on. Grill a pineapple? Who hasn't. Try a Brussels sprout? Do it. So we've constructed a brief and by no means comprehensive list of ideas to expand upon more obvious experimentation.
1. Grilled banana split -- There is a host of information online about grilling bananas for splits -- some sites suggest leaving on the peel, others say brush the fruit with olive oil and place it directly over the fire -- but regardless of your chosen methodology, the gist is simple. Some folks grill and then top with traditional accouterments like chocolate syrup, dollops of ice cream, nuts (we highly recommend pistachios) and cherries on top; others prefer to stuff, focusing on melting sweets like solid chocolates, nut butters (if ever one needed an excuse for Nutella...), and even crushed Oreos or toffee.
healthyincollege.com An "Inside Out Banana Split," stuffed like a S'More. simplyrecipes.com
2. Grilled pizza (or pasta) -- Most of us don't own the type of wood-fire oven that makes spectacular thin-crust pizza, but a grill can be a solid runner-up, with the smoke lending a distinct flavor. While the basic technique is pretty self-explanatory, finding more information online is easy as ... pie. Since you already have out the sauce, toss on some raviolis, as well.
foodnetwork.com Tired of vegetables and starches tasting too not-meaty? Take a page from Paula Deen's cookbook.
3. Corn -- It goes without saying that practically any starch or green veggie (okra, endives, artichokes, etc.) can be tossed on to supplement a barbecue; however, you can things it to the next level with the right rub or dip. This recipe uses mayo (actually Veganaise), Cotija cheese, cayenne, chile powder, garlic and sour cream. Whereas this one goes an entirely different direction with a buttery glaze mixing honey, ginger and a sweet barbecue rub.
4. Figs with ricotta -- Having never met a fig we didn't like, it's an obsession that might make worth moving to the Mediterranean merely for the best variety. While many fruits (peaches, apples, pears) are spectacular on the grill, figs paired with honey, brown sugar and ricotta absolutely take the cake. In fact, it's like eating an entire cake, for significantly fewer calories (you could, after all, go for a non-fat or skim ricotta, but that's just crazy.) This recipe adds vanilla, mint and candied lemon for extra pizzazz, but if you don't have time for such fanciness, a pure grilled fig easily stands on its own.
5. Brie with honey, nuts and fruit -- Notice we didn't say grilled cheese sandwich. The relatively simple childhood fav has more iterations than we could reasonably list from the purist's American on white with Campbell's tomato soup to this scrumptious green goddess as many ingredients as a full-blown entree. Sandwiches aside, there is one idea you might have overlooked. Rather than baking a wheel of Brie, pop it on a cedar plank and grill away. Like this recipe suggests, its good topped with honey, nuts and dried fruit.