July is National Grilling Month which means we need to get outside and start grilling! The health benefits of grilling not only come from the food itself, but also from being outside in the sunshine. An adequate amount of sun exposure is required to maintain a healthy vitamin D level.
Grilled foods are, in many ways, healthier than foods prepared on the stove or oven. Most grilled foods retain the nutritional quality with fewer vitamins and minerals being lost when compared to cooking methods such as baking or pan frying. Grilling is a high heat method of cooking and allows food to retain moisture and not dry out. Because of this, fewer oils and fats are needed to coat the food. In addition, the fat contained in or on the food being grilled drips down and is lost. You can also decrease fat content even more by trimming meats prior to grilling.
Almost any food can be grilled, even bananas which make a really yummy dessert! Try this recipe for grilled romaine lettuce and use the remaining sauce with grilled chicken or shrimp.
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp parsley
2 Tbsp basil
1 lemon, juiced
zest from lemon
2 tsp hot pepper sauce
3 cloves minced garlic
1 Tbsp tomato paste
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 head of romaine lettuce
- In a mixing bowl, combine oil, parsley, basil, lemon juice and zest, hot sauce, garlic, tomato paste, oregano, salt and black pepper. Reserve a small amount for basting later.
- Cut head of romaine lettuce lengthwise, leaving the core on to hold the leaves together, and allowing ¼ head per person.
- Drizzle about ½ cup marinade over lettuce and let sit for 10-15 minutes.
- Place lettuce on grill and cook, turning several times, until the leaves are wilted and browning. Serve as a whole quarter or chop to make a bed for meat.
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