Of course, at PB&J we love all kinds of cooking. Summer time is prime grilling time. Grilling is actually a very healthy way to cook food (you don’t need to add lots of fat to the pan before cooking!) and who doesn’t love an excuse to be outside when the weather’s warm and sunny? It’s also nice to cook outside and not heat up your kitchen with your stove or oven on those sweltering summer days. Plus, grilled food just tastes more like summer, doesn’t it?
You know at PB&J we take cooking and make it healthy, so we decided to put together a simple guide to some of our most favorite grilled healthy foods (sorry, no bratwursts), along with some of our favorite grilling tools to help you be the (healthy) master of the grill!
First, some general tips, a grill is going to put char (those little blackened bits) on most everything cooked on it. This is part of the flavor and fun of cooking this way! It may look burnt, but try it! You might love it! A grill will also cook a lot faster if you have the cover on it, so cover it up and you’ll have a delicious meal a whole lot faster!
Tools that can help any griller make a better grilled meal:
Cooking Spray- Grilling can get a little sticky, by that we mean, grilled food can sometimes stick to the grill. If you use a little cooking spray before lighting the grill, that should help keep your food free from the stick!
Grill toppers- Grill toppers or trays are little trays made out of metal with lots of holes in them. They make it easier to keep smaller, more sticky items (small veggies, fruits, fish) from getting lost or stuck to the grill. We really like these ones.
Skewers- Metal are good, but they get screaming hot on the grill. Wood are good, too, but need to be soaked for a while before using so they don’t burn. Either way, they help keep small pieces of food together and prevent them from slipping through the cracks!
Long tongs- Grills get hot, of course! Keep your fingers away from the flames with a long set of tongs. These will help you place, flip, move, and remove all your food while keeping your hand cool!
Thermometer– A meat thermometer is a must when grilling. Not only will it keep your food safe from germs, it will also help from over-cooking, which is a real danger when grilling! Digital thermometers are super-fast and easy to read, we recommend this one.
Our favorite foods to grill:
Asparagus- toss them in a tiny bit of olive oil and salt, use a grill topper or be careful not to let them drop through the grate! Grill for 10-12 minutes turning occasionally to cook evenly.
Corn- a staff favorite! You can peel back the husks, remove the corn silk, then cover the corn back up and let it grill for 10-15 minutes, until the husks are starting to char and burn. Be careful and use oven mitts when removing the corn from the husks: it gets HOT! For bonus grill-ness, put the husked corn back on the grill for some char right on the kernels!
Tomatoes- Cherry and grape tomatoes work best. Stick them on a skewer and toss in a little bit of olive oil. Cook them for just a few minutes, rotating halfway through, until they have a little bit of char all around! YUM.
Peppers- Peppers are a classic grilled veggie, they are great on skewers, or left whole or in large chunks and grilled. They get sweeter and their skin takes on a nice char.
Zucchini/summer squash- Slice these into large planks, coat them in a bit of oil, salt, and spices and grill them, flipping at least once, until they have a good char and are soft enough to easily fall off a fork when stuck into them.
Onions- Oh my, what to say about grilled onions? Sweet, smoky, still a little crunch. They are famously delicious grilled veg, and for good reason. Slice them into rings, season lightly with salt (and spices if you like), and let them grill until charred and just translucent.
Broccoli/cauliflower- We love broccoli and cauliflower any way you cook ‘em, but we love the extra flavor that the grill adds to them. Leave them in big chunks, coat in olive oil, salt and your favorite spices and let them cook for 7-10 minutes on a hot grill.
Chicken breast- chicken breast is very lean, so be careful not to overcook it or it can get tough and stringy! We like to butterfly it (slice width-wise so you end up with a thinner, wider cut of meat), season it with salt and spices, and cook it over a medium hot grill. Cook over a medium high grill to an internal temp of 165.
Chicken thighs- Thighs are super for the grill, they are already thin enough to cook quickly and they taste great grilled up. We like them basted in a simple sauce (even store-bought BBQ, buffalo, or hoisin sauce). Cook over a medium high grill to an internal temp of 165.
Salmon- We love salmon on the grill. Use aluminum foil over the grate or a grill topper to keep the salmon from sticking. Season with salt or your favorite seasoning blend and grill over a medium low grill.
Turkey burgers/Lean beef burgers- We love a good burger. Lean ground meat has less fat, and is healthier for your heart than meat with higher fat content, but a little bit less flavor. So season up your burgers with your favorite seasoning blend, then grill it on a medium hot grill until you hit an internal temp of 165.
Tofu– Tofu gets a bad rap, sometimes its fair, sometimes not. It can be a little boring, but we like slicing them into domino shaped slices, basting them in a flavorful sauce, and grilling them for 3-4 minutes per side on a super hot grill. Yum!
Flank/skirt steak- Flank and skirt steaks are born for the grill! They are thin, and are best cooked at high heat for a short period of time. Season them lightly with salt and a few spices, grill over a hot grill for about 7 minutes per side, until you hit an internal temperature.
Fruits (What?! Fruits?! On the grill?! Trust us!)
Lemons- Slice a lemon in half, slap it on a hot grill. It’s that easy. The juice loses some of the acidic edge, and takes on a little smoky flavor, it makes a great complement to veggies, chicken, and fish dishes.
Cherries/Grapes- Smaller fruits do well on a skewer or grill tray. They get sweeter, and take on that smoky char flavor. These go great in fruit salads, on top of ice cream or cakes, or as a topping for meats (really!)
Pineapple- One of our favorite fruits on the grill. Remove the core (you can leave the skin if you want) and slice into inch-thick rings. Grill on each side for 4-5 minutes and be prepared for a caramelly, sweet-sour, delicious treat!