Grilling Fruits and Vegetables: How to Mix Up Your Summer Meals

This summer, get creative at your summer cookout by grilling fruits and vegetables. If you regularly use your grill for summer cooking, you've probably grilled vegetables as a side dish. However, if you've never tried grilling fruit, you're in for a treat. Even if it sounds unusual to put strawberries and watermelon on the grill, most fruits can be cooked to perfection for a summery dinner or dessert. The grill creates a smoky flavor and tender texture that is difficult to recreate with any other cooking method. Try out the following grilling tips, marinades and dessert recipes to impress your friends and family at your next cookout.

Grilling Tips

It is important to use cooking oil so your fruits and vegetables stay crisp and tender. Just a light coating of olive oil will help the herbs and spices stick to the vegetables and protect them from drying out on the grill. Vegetables won't take as long to cook as meat, but depending on which types of fruits and vegetables you have and how big the slices are, some will take longer to cook than others. Consult this vegetable grilling guide and keep an eye on your vegetables for perfect grill marks and texture. If you aren't concerned about grill marks or want to grill smaller pieces, you can grill your vegetables in a foil pouch.

Grilling Vegetables

As with any type of grilling, flavor starts with a good marinade. Try a basic marinade with soy sauce, olive oil, lemon juice and garlic to start off, or complement your favorite Italian dish with abalsamic and basil marinade. The grill is very forgiving, so feel free to use your favorite marinade recipes for chicken or other meats when grilling vegetables, or vice versa.

Desserts With Grilled Fruit

If you've grilled fruit before, you've likely tried grilling pineapple or peaches. This makes for a simple, fresh dessert on a warm summer night, but if you want to add a little oomph to the dessert plate, try grilled peaches and ice cream. Bobby Flay's recipe for grilled peach cobbler à la mode calls for cinnamon, granola and brown sugar and is sure to please your dinner guests. For a unique approach to a grilled dessert, try grilled fruit kebabs with cayenne- and sea salt-infused chocolate dipping sauce. The recipe calls for watermelon, cantaloupe, pineapple and strawberries for the kebabs and is paired with a rich chocolate dipping sauce that delivers hints of salty and spicy flavors.

Grilling fruits and vegetables is more of an art than a science, so feel free to create your own variations. Since fruits and vegetables don't need to be cooked thoroughly to be consumed safely, you're free to experiment without concern. Try mixing up your grilling routine this summer with fruits and vegetables for dinner and dessert.

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