summertime veggies

Vegetables taste delicious PLUS they’re a great source of vitamins and nutrients; and low in fat and salt.  The USDA recommends that half your plate be filled with vegetables and fruits.  Summertime is a terrific opportunity to cook up a nice variety of vegetables.  Take advantage of this time of the year to introduce your family to some great new flavors.

Vegetables of different colors and textures have different tastes, vitamins and nutrients.  To get the biggest healthy benefit from vegetables, it’s best to eat a good variety. As a general rule, vegetables of different colors contain different vitamins – serve a rainbow of colors at meals to take advantage of all the nutrition that vegetables have to offer.

Your children learn from you and aspire to be just like you.  One of the best ways you can influence your child’s eating habits is to have good ones yourself.  Make eating a variety of vegetables a family experience that everyone can enjoy.

Children 2-8 years old should have at least ¼ cup of vegetables 4 to 6 times per day.

Here are some examples of ¼ cup portion of vegetables:

  • 3 asparagus spears
  • 1/3 ear of corn on the cob
  • ½ a medium carrot or a 4 baby carrots
  • ¼ large sweet potato
  • ¼ medium white potato
  • ½ cup raw leafy green vegetables

Turn off the stove and use your BBQ grill to give your vegetables summer fresh flavor! Grilled vegetables have great flavor and are SUPER EASY to cook. Here are a few tips for veggie grilling success:

Invest in a BBQ grill basket.  You’ll find this item in the BBQ accessory section at home improvement stores for about $15-$20.  A grill basket is specially designed for the BBQ.  It will save time and make grilling vegetables foolproof.  It will eliminate the need for skewers and your veggies won’t fall through the cracks of the grill.  Simply add your vegetables to the basket and grill away. To grill evenly and prevent charring, use BBQ tongs to move the vegetables around in the basket while they’re cooking.

Choosing your vegetables to grill. Asparagus to zucchini…nearly all vegetables taste great of the BBQ.  Here are a few of our fav’s along with the recommended prep for a grill basket:

  • Asparagus: Prep – whole
  • Corn on the cob: Prep – cut into 1-2 inch pieces
  • Eggplant: Prep – sliced into ¼- ½ inch rounds
  • Green Beans: Prep – whole
  • Mushrooms, button, portabellas, and shitakes: Prep – whole
  • Onions, Red of Vidalia: Prep – cut into wedges
  • Potatoes: Prep – 1-2-inch chunks or small whole potatoes, parboiled for 10 minutes
  • Red or Green Bell Peppers: Prep – sliced in 1 inch pieces
  • Sweet Potatoes : Prep – sliced into ¼ – ½ inch circles
  • Tomatoes: Prep –  cut large ones in or chunks, leave grape or cherry tomatoes whole
  • Zucchini: Prep – cut into ½ – 1 inch circles

Basic Cooking Instructions. In a large bowl, toss the vegetables with Olive Oil and sprinkle with Kosher salt and pepper.  Place the vegetables in a grill basket of over a hot BBQ.  To cook evenly and prevent charring, use BBQ tongs to move the vegetables around in the basket while they’re cooking. Most vegetables will cook in less than 10 minutes.  When they have a grilled look and softer texture, remove them from the grill – they are done.

For the baby:  Grilled vegetables can be pureed in a blender or food processor after they are taken off the grill.
Adding a FLAVOR SPLASH. Grilled vegetables are great served simply with Olive Oil, Salt & Pepper.  But if you’d like to add an extra zip of flavor, make a FLAVOR SPLASH and toss it with your grilled vegetables after cooking.  Here are a few flavor splash ideas:

  • Lime Juice, Fresh chopped Cilantro & Sugar
  • Lemon juice & Fresh Chopped Dill
  • Balsamic Vinegar & Fresh Chopped Basil
  • Hoisin Sauce & Fresh Chopped Green Onions
  • Italian Salad Dressing (oil-based)

To make the flavor splash: Combine about 1 Tablespoon of each ingredient in a bowl.  Drizzle over the grilled vegetables.