We could all stand to eat more fruits and veggies on a daily basis which is why we've teamed up with Half Your Plate, a new initiative to get Canadians incorporating more fruits and veg into their diets. And it doesn't have to be that hard - simply fill half your plate with veggie and fruit goodness at every meal or snack!
Loading up on veggies and fruits during the summer months is so easy. There is so much wonderful produce that's in season. And on hot days where you don't want to turn your oven or stove on, you could just make a hearty salad and that would be delicious.
BUT... why not go one step further? If the grill is already in action cooking up burgers or chicken or steak, why not toss some vegetables on? And... don't forget fruit for dessert!
Tips For Grilling Fruit and Vegetables
- you need a little oil - this will stop veggies from drying out, sticking to the grill and make them easier to season. But be careful - too much oil can cause a flareup on the grill so just a light coating or toss will do the trick.
- just like when you're cooking on the stove or in the oven, different vegetables have different cooking times. If a potato takes a while to roast, it will take a while to grill. If a cherry tomato roasts quickly in the oven, it will roast quickly on the grill! Cut your vegetables into thin slices or small pieces for faster grilling
- steam veggies - my favourite way to cook potatoes on the grill is to slice them up thinly, wrap the slices up in tinfoil with a generous helping of butter, salt and pepper and green onions and turn the tinfoil packet once or twice while cooking - and they're harder to burn!
- skewers are an easy way to keep small vegetables from falling in to the flames - just remember to build your skewers with vegetables that have similar cooking times - or pre-cook denser veg like carrots or potatoes. If you use wooden skewers make sure you soak them before adding the veggies and putting them on the grill
- try soaking fruits in cold water with a bit of lemon juice for 30 minutes prior to grilling to help them stay juicy. Add a little cinnamon or cloves for a little bit of extra flavour. You can even try soaking in alcohol like rum or bourbon (but be careful - this will cause a flareup when it hits the grill)
- with all fruits and vegetables keep a close eye - they can easily go from perfectly cooked to charcoal in the moment it takes you to turn around.
Great Grilled Vegetable and Fruit Recipe Ideas
- Roasted Squash and Pear Salad
- Grilled Asparagus and Tomato Crostini
- Grilled Pineapple Salsa
- Grilled Chopped Vegetable Salad
- Mediterranean Chicken Portabella "Bun" Burgers
- Grilled Zucchini Smoked Salmon Salad
For even more recipe ideas, visit the Half Your Plate recipe index!
Strawberry Season Is Here!
It's strawberry season for most of us across the country and that means fresh strawberries are popping up in farmers' markets, produce retailers, grocery stores or, for some great family fun, you can even head out to a local farm and u-pick your own! In an hour you can have ice cream pails heaped with fresh sun ripened berries!
There are so many ways you can enjoy fresh strawberries:
- just as they are, or with a dusting of maple sugar
- in a breakfast smoothie
- make jam!
- strawberry tarts, pies, crumbles and crips
- in a spinach salad
- they're a delicious add-in to a curry dish
- slow roasting them to bring out the flavour and sweetness
- sliced up and muddled into your favourite cold drink: lemonade, iced tea, or something more adult!
Or, you can try the latest trend and use them in a smoothie bowl for breakfast. We asked our own Kitchen Geekery author, "Dr. J", Janice Lawandi, to come up with delicious, healthy smoothie bowl recipe using fresh Quebec strawberries!
- ¼ cup (25 grams) rolled oats
- ⅓ cup milk (either dairy or non-dairy)
- ⅓ cup plain 2% fat yogurt
- 2 tsp white chia seeds
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- ½ frozen banana sliced
- 1 cup (~140 grams) sliced fresh Quebec strawberries
- poppy seeds
- pumpkin seeds
- sliced almonds
- toasted flaked coconut
- hemp hearts
- sliced fresh Quebec strawberries
- honey or maple syrup
- In a small bowl, combine the rolled oats and milk. Cover and refrigerate overnight to soften them (you can skip this step if you forget).
- Place the oats and milk in the blender, along with the yogurt, chia seeds, vanilla, frozen banana, and the fresh strawberries. Blend until smooth (you might have to pulse and shake the blender a bit at the beginning to get it going).
- Pour the smoothie into a bowl and sprinkle generously with your favourite toppings. You can also drizzle with a touch of honey or maple syrup, but if you start with fresh, sweet strawberries, you might not need to!