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Sharp Health News

7 foods you never knew you could grill

May 27, 2022

Pizzas cooking on a grill

Hot dogs and hamburgers are summer grill superstars, but they’re not the only foods worth firing up. From fruit to shellfish, many unexpected delicacies can transform a typical backyard barbecue into a healthier culinary masterpiece.

“Compared to some cooking methods, such as pan or deep frying, cooking foods on the grill does not rely on added fats for preparation,” says Melissa Hughes, a registered dietitian nutritionist, certified wellness and health coach, and program manager for the Sharp Rees-Stealy Center for Health Management. “And while the grill is best known for standard barbecue fare, you can really get adventurous with lesser-known options that cook beautifully over a flame.”

7 foods you never knew you could grill

  1. Fruit
    Cooking fruit can enhance its flavor, and using a grill gives it a smoky kick. Pineapples, watermelons, peaches, mangoes and kiwis are all great options. Lightly brush the pieces of fruit with olive oil and stick them on a skewer to keep from falling into the fire.
  2. Pizza
    When it comes to cooking pizza, nothing beats a brick oven. But using your grill is a close second. For even heat and better crunch, use a pizza stone on the grill grate. Or place pizza directly over the flame for a charred crispiness.
  3. Shellfish
    Shrimp, scallops, lobster, oysters, clams and soft-shell crab are just a few of the stellar sea favorites that are great on the grill. Shells provide heat protection, while helping contain and concentrate their naturally rich flavor.
  4. Salad
    More robust salad greens, such as halved or quartered heads of romaine, iceberg, endive or cabbage, hold up and cook well on the grill. Try a grilled wedge salad, grilled Caesar salad with romaine hearts, or grilled cabbage “steaks.” Serve them whole as a side dish, cut up as a chopped salad, or sliced as a coleslaw to enhance other barbecue favorites.
  5. Cheese
    One of the most well-known cheeses to grill is halloumi, a Greek specialty with a high melting point and a creamy flavor. But other cheeses, such as queso panela and provolone, keep their form and pair nicely with crusty bread or fresh fruits and veggies.
  6. Nuts
    Almonds, pecans, walnuts, cashews and peanuts get a flavor boost on the grill, and pair perfectly with rice dishes, oatmeal, salads or ice cream. When grilling nuts, use a “wetting agent,” such as soy sauce, olive oil or fruit juice. Combine your chosen liquid with the nuts and toss to coat.
  7. Dessert
    Using disposable aluminum pans or simple foil can bring baking to the grill. Try lighter cakes, like angel food, cubed and served over Greek yogurt with fruit. And for camping enthusiasts, bring the deep woods to your backyard with classic s’mores.

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