Keeping Your Grill Beef-Free This Summer
It used to be that the mention of grilling conjured up images of hamburger patties and beef franks sizzling above the flames. However, in recent years red meat has been correlated to a number of health concerns and many in the medical community have suggested cutting down on its consumption. This, of course, certainly does not mean that the grill needs to sit idly in the corner of the patio with a dust cover on it. There are plenty of alternatives that are just waiting fill the racks including a slew of delicious meatless vegetarian options. Here are a few hot ideas to keep that grill sizzling beef-free this summer.
Thanks to a few of the vegetarian patties of yesteryear that closely resembled cardboard in both taste and feel, many people are slow to warm to the idea of burgers made with meat alternatives. However, the patties of today have become a near art form. Herbs, spices, seasonings and veggies have added a kick of excitement and full flavor, and there is now an undeniable juicy factor to what was once used as a hockey puck in a pinch. Sadly, Gretzky can no longer stop by the grocery for last-minute game supplies, but consumers can pick up a delectable dinner option. If beef is the only meat off the menu, it is also easy to find patties made of ground turkey or salmon to take its place. Having a difficult time figuring out which ones to toss in the cart? Famed chef Rachel Ray has already simplified the process on her website with these four great picks to try.
A thick slice of tofu is a great protein source and also adds calcium and other nutrients to the meal. Using a marinade or barbecue sauce drizzled over the top can create distinct flavors, offering a citrus, tangy or smoky essence to dinner. It is important to purchase firm or extra firm tofu, as the softer variety will not hold together as well when preparing it in this manner. Grilled tofu is terrific paired with veggies and other sides.
While it is commonly beef, a steak does not, by definition, have to be. A large, flat slab of fish can grace the grill, prepared in a variety of tasty ways. Use panko crumbs seasoned with dried herbs to create a breaded entrée, or add in some finely chopped almonds or pecans and create an encrusted delight. Of course, simply grilling the steaks without too much fanfare can allow for the full flavor of the meat to make its way to the palate. These techniques can all be used on cuts of turkey or chicken, as well.
There are quite a few “meaty” vegetables that can hold their own on a grill. Mushrooms – specifically a thick Portobello – along with eggplant and artichokes are fantastic with a little olive oil drizzled over the top. With the right grill master at hand, zucchini can also stand alone. Any one of these can fill a bun as a “burger” or be served accompanied by sides.
Keeping red meat off the grill does not mean the end to backyard barbecues. Rather, it opens up a plethora of new and flavorful options sure to satisfy the taste buds while offering healthier alternatives.
Enjoy ! and have a great weekend