Barbecue Tips

You might think it is an oxymoron to have barbecue recipes on a raw food website but there are ways to enjoy this all American tradition of grilling without compromising your standards or health. There are whole sections in the cookbook area of bookstores dedicated to grilling and you can find great vegan or vegetarian recipes but don’t be fooled into thinking that are healthy for you. There are still adjustments to be made. Most recipes start out healthy but as soon as it hits the grill, the trouble starts. Charred foods regardless if it’s a hot dog or a bell pepper is carcinogenic, grilled vegetables swimming in olive oil makes it soggy, inedible and not to mention the oil turns rancid under high heat. Grilling watermelon is the latest fad but what??? Why would you? Also, you need to coat in oil to get the grill marks and usually it is paired with feta cheese after, a food combining disaster. But keep these pointers in mind and you never have to dread the grill again. Make sure the grill is absolutely clean and when it is hot, cut a lemon in half and run it over the grill to get rid of any charcoal residue. This will enable better grilling, omitting or limiting the use of oil or butter. Keep the heat low; never cook over flames, make sure the briquettes are glowing but not bright red. If you think it’s too hot, it is. Let it die down a bit. You can grill leafy greens; (swiss chard, mustard greens, collard greens, kale, beet greens, etc…) just put them in tinfoil packets with herbs, spices and even some butter, extra virgin olive oil or coconut butter, ( whatever your preference). The foil keeps the vegetables from falling down the grate, keeps it away from direct heat and creates a perfect “steaming” environment. Corn on the cob can be grilled keeping a layer of the husks intact and in one minute or less, enough time to pick up the “BBQ” taste and warm it through. You can add flavored butter or oil afterwards if desired. Remove the husks before eating. All roots and tubers (sweet potatoes, kabocha squash, acorn squash, beets, butternut squash) can be grilled, without peeling, sans oil and in less time if you slice them in ¾ “ slices or wedges, and wipe it clean and dry to keep it from sticking to the grill. Add the marinades, sauces, dressings afterwards. Use wood planks to grill vegetables keep it away from the direct heat and expedite the grilling process by giving it the smoky flavor in less time. Make sure you soak the planks as directed before using. Or grill hearty vegetables like zucchini, Portobello mushroom and eggplant without marinade. It will only draw out moisture and stick to the grill unless you add lots of oil. Instead just add s/p and brush lightly with oil or butter right before it hits the grill and add the marinade flavors after. You can have your salad and grill it too! Romaine, escarole, radicchio, endive are all great on the grill, quartered lengthwise without cutting the stem first to keep each wedge whole. Here you can brush lightly with oil or butter under residual heat since direct contact will be minimal and the heat controlled. Dress up the salads with roasted lemon (cut lemons in half, a grill cut side down for two minutes). Enjoy raw salads but let them join in on the fun by dressing them up with roasted vegetable dressings such as Roasted Eggplant Dressing (roast a whole eggplant until it collapses, remove charred skin and process with onion, garlic and lemon) or Roasted Tomato & Red Pepper Dressing (cut tomatoes in half, quarter the peppers, and grill till skin is easily removable. Blend with garlic, herbs and lemon) Grill garlic by cutting just the top of the bulbs, putting it in tinfoil and letting it get soft and carmelized. Squeeze garlic pulp and eat with salads and vegetables instead of butter.