Vegetarian Grilling in the Great Indoors
BY CARLYE WAXMAN-HUSSERL RDN, CDN | Isn’t it about time vegetarians enjoy a BBQ without sacrificing an animal? Don’t wait for a sunny day to get your grill on! Below are fantastic “feel good” recipes that will make you FEEL like you’re enjoying a BBQ in the Hamptons…minus the ocean and minus the meat.
There are some necessary tools to make this work. I like the larger two-burner grills that have ridges — but if it’s just you, get the smaller one-burner grill pan. Try the Le Creuset cast iron rectangular skinny grill in red ($99 at William Sonoma). Looking for something smaller? Try the All-Clad Nonstick 11” flat iron grill pan ($50 at Bed Bath & Beyond).
If you don’t have an inside grill pan and don’t want to purchase something you will only use for grilling, try buying a regular cast iron skillet ($24.99 at Bed Bath & Beyond).
GRILLED ASIAN TOFU
Makes 1-2 servings
Nutrition Facts for full recipe: 230 calories, 36g protein, 4.5g carbs
1 block of light extra firm tofu
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
Open tofu, drain out water and place on a large plate.
Take a few paper towel squares and place on top of the block. Put a heavy pan on top of the towels and tofu, and let it sit for 30-60 minutes. This drains the water and gives tofu a better texture.
Slice tofu one time vertically and then about 5 times horizontal, so you have large strips. Place strips in a large bowl, add the ingredients and toss gently with your hands until it’s all incorporated. Let it sit for 20 minutes in the refrigerator. If you like things spicy, you can add some Sriracha sauce when you are tossing.
Heat a grill pan or skillet on medium/high heat (grill marks are key here — if you have that kind of grill, use it!). Add the slices of tofu with tongs and cook for about 5 minutes on each of the four sides.
Throw these slices onto a mixed green salad with half an avocado, or simply enjoy it grilled with a side of corn and salad.
CORN ON THE COBB
Nutrition Facts: 75 calories, 1g protein, 14g carbs
4 corn on the cobb
Stick of butter, about room temp
Shuck the corn, discard all silk threads and peel.
Clean off the corn and make sure all silks are off. Dry thoroughly.
Place plastic wrap on the bottom of each corn. Take the butter stick and unwrap the top.
Rub the butter (lightly) on all sides of the corn — butter is your glue and you shouldn’t use more than 1 tbsp. Add salt and pepper to all sides. Wrap in plastic wrap and keep in refrigerator. Take one out when it’s time to “grill” dinner, and heat it in the microwave for one minute.
Nutrition Facts: 60 calories, 2g protein, 4g carbs
3 Roma tomatoes
1 Persian cucumber
¼ red onion
2 tbsp of fresh parsley
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp olive oil
2 tbsp of cold water
Salt and pepper for taste
Chop the tomatoes, onion, parsley and cucumbers very fine, and add to a large bowl. Add lemon juice, water, salt and pepper. Toss well. You can use more or less red onion, salt, pepper and lemon juice for flavor. Go by your own taste buds and taste as you toss! You can store this for a few days.
GRILLED GREEK SALAD
Nutrition Facts: 180 calories, 2g protein, 15g carbs
1 large zucchini
2 large yellow squash
1 large carrot
1 large sweet yellow onion
1 red pepper
4oz package of really good crumbled feta
Spices needed vary, depending on how you want this to taste (suggestions in directions).
Peel the carrot. Place all vegetables in a colander and clean well. Dry well.
Slice the zucchini, squash and carrot into very large chunks at an angle. Cut the onion into large chunks. Slice the red pepper into large chunks.
Add all vegetables to a large bowl. Add 1 tsp oil, 1 tsp lemon juice and figure out your spices. If you want more of a Mediterranean flavor, you can add zaatar or paprika (or both), cumin and some cayenne pepper for heat. If you want this to be more of an Italian salad with feta, add oregano, basil and chopped parsley. Mix it well with tongs. Add salt, pepper and garlic at the end for whichever theme you decided on.
Heat your grill to medium high. Add all vegetables, and let it cook till grill marks form or it starts to soften and flip. Once finished (after about 10 minutes), add it back to the bowl it originated in. Add the feta and sliced black olives. Toss very well. Serve with some of that tofu or a veggie burger!
Carlye Waxman-Husserl is a Registered Dietitian and Weight Loss Expert who directs a nonprofit nutrition program in NYC. She takes private clients through New York Nutrition Group, based out of NYC. She is the owner of SweetNutritionNYC.com, where she posts healthy recipes for the public along with nutrition tips and articles. Find these vegetarian recipes and many others on sweetnutritionnyc.com. Contact her at Carlye@SweetNutritionNYC.com or Carlye@NYNutritionGroup.com.