While grilling meat creates hydrocarbons that can be cancer-promoting, grilling fruits and vegetables has no downside, only increased sweetness without increasing calories! When foods containing carbohydrates are grilled, the sugars undergo caramelization, a three stage process. In stage one the food becomes sweeter and develops a butterscotch flavor. As the food continues to cook, the sugars progress to the second stage in which the flavors are less sweet and achieve a nuttiness. The third stage occurs after longer cooking and the sweetness is replaced with a bitter flavor. Each of these stages is desirable for different recipes, but for summer fruits and vegetables the first and second stages are the goals.
Grilled Fruit Kabobs
1 pineapple, peeled, cored and cut into 2 inch chunks
1 pint strawberries, rinsed and hulled
6 kiwi, peeled and cut into fourths
2 bananas, peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks
2 peaches, pitted and cut into 2 inch chunks
½ cup honey
2 Tbsps Key lime juice
⅛ cup chopped fresh basil leaves
Using prepared fruit, thread pieces onto wooden skewer, alternating various fruits. Note: Research tells us that the more attractive the pattern of colors is to your eye, the healthier the combination!
Place the fruit skewers on the grill, low flame, for 10-15 minutes, turning occasionally. Note: This is where you get to pick the stage of caramelization you prefer; but I would stick to stage one or two!
Prepare dressing by combining the honey, lime and basil leaves in a small bowl.
Brush onto fruit kabobs during last 5 minutes of cooking.
Place kabobs on serving platter and drizzle with any remaining dressing. Enjoy!
Grilled Vegetable Kabobs
1 large zucchini, ends trimmed and cut into ¾ inch pieces
1 large yellow ‘summer’ squash, ends trimmed and cut into ¾ inch pieces
1 large red onion, cut into 1 inch cubes
2 medium green bell peppers, seeded and cut into 1 inch squares
1 pint grape tomatoes
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
2 tsp fresh thyme, finely chopped
2 medium cloves garlic, minced
Salt and pepper to taste
Whisk together all the ingredients for the dressing in a medium bowl.
Place prepared vegetables in bowl with dressing and toss, preserving leftover dressing.
Skewer vegetables, alternating colors for eye appeal and flavor.
Place vegetable skewers on oiled, pre-heated medium-high flame grill and cook for 5-10 minutes, turning halfway through cooking time. Note: Pick the caramelization stage you prefer, but I pick state two for this recipe!
When vegetables are browned around the edges are beginning to soften, remove from grill onto serving platter.
Pour remaining vinaigrette over kabobs. Enjoy!