Meatfree Grilling Tips from The Chew’s Carla Hall
More than 60 percent of Americans say that a backyard barbeque is the hardest place to stick to a healthy eating plan during the summer months, beating out road trips and food festivals, according to a recent survey from MorningStar Farms. While it’s hard to pass up seasonal staples, like grilled burgers, there are plenty of ways to make them less gut-busting. One trick: cut out meat and focus on flavor—think spicy black bean burgers with peach pico de gallo (more on that later). We recently chatted with chef Carla Hall, former Top Chef competitor and cohost of ABC’s The Chew about the smartest strategies for meatfree grilling. Here’s what she had to say.
What meat substitutes do you recommend for the grill?
The MorningStar Farms survey found that veggie burgers are the number one choice for meatless versions of popular foods, like hamburgers and hotdogs. I would also recommend marinated tofu or portobello caps. And seiten is a good choice, too.
Do you have any tips for how to make premade veggie burgers come out less dry when cooked on the grill?
Spray the grill rack with nonstick cooking spray first, and then preheat to medium-high heat. Leave the patties on until grill marks form on both sides, usually about three minutes or so on each side. This also makes flipping your food easier than ever.
What are some other ways to make a backyard barbeque healthy and vegetarian-friendly?
-Use the grill to take advantage of summer's wide selection of produce. Marinate fresh vegetables in a light salad dressing and grill until tender for a tasty side dish.
-Think outside the bowl! Take your salad out of the bowl and use it to top your grilled veggie burgers. Whether it's a slaw or Caprese salad, consider this the adult version of playing with your food.
-After a meal, add slices of angel food cake and fruit such as pineapple to the grill for an easy dessert.
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