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Grilling is a great way to cook delicious, heart-healthy food without added fat and without losing an ounce of flavor. Grilling brings out and intensifies the flavor of grilled tofu, tempeh, veggie burgers, vegetables – and even fruit – by offering a smoky and robust flavor, along with a hearty texture from the grill.

Healthy barbecuing is about soaking in the wealth of barbecued flavors.

Imagine yourself grilling on a warm summer night, knowing everything on the grill is packed with heart-healthy benefits. If you haven’t already, it is time to transform your grilling from high fat hamburgers and steaks, to perhaps a  Black Bean Veggie Burger piled high with onions and red peppers. Add a side of corn on the cob or some grilled asparagus, peaches or pineapple. Healthy barbecuing is about an abundance of heart-healthy foods soaking in the wealth of barbecued flavors.

Here are a few tips to get you started on the grill:

Grilled Vegetables

Vegetables do not need added oil, just flip often to prevent sticking to the grill or add a drizzle of balsamic vinegar.

Corn: Soak in water and leave on husks

Grill Time: 45 minutes

Grilled Flavor Boost: Sprinkle with smoked paprika

Eggplant: Cut crosswise in ½-inch slices

Grill Time: 12 minutes

Grilled Flavor Boost: Drizzle with balsamic glaze or use grilled eggplant.

Mushrooms: Take off stem and trim

Grill Time: Depends on the size, 10-30 minutes (for portobello, 15 minutes on each side)

Grilled Flavor Boost: Drizzle with balsamic vinegar mixed with minced or roasted garlic

Tomatoes: Thread cherry tomatoes on a skewer or slice a juicy garden tomato

Grill Time: 5-7 minutes

Fennel: Cut lengthwise into ¼-inch slices

Grill Time: 6-8 minutes each side

Grilled Flavor Boost: Add some grilled fennel.

Onion: Cut into ½-inch slices, secure with toothpicks

Grill Time: 10-15 minutes

Grilled Flavor Boost: balsamic glaze or toss first in lime juice and salt or add spices

Summer Squash: Cut lengthwise into ¼-inch slices

Grill Time: 5 minutes per side

Grilled Flavor Boost: Add balsamic glaze

Peppers (Bell or Hot): Cut lengthwise or into quarters

Grill Time: 10 minute or longer to blacken, bringing out a rich smokey flavor to recipes

Grilled Flavor Boost: Add balsamic glaze

Potatoes (Baby Red, Sweet or Yams): Cut in half; wrap in foil and seal edges

Grill Time: 30 minutes

Grilled Flavor Boost: Toss with fresh herbs such as chives

Grilled Fruit

Grilled Fruit is a simple, refreshing and delicious summer treat. Grilling caramelizes the sugars and intensifies the sweetness and flavor. Add a honey glaze with some freshly squeezed juice (orange, lemon or lime) with a dash of spice such as freshly ground pepper or cayenne for extra zest. Typically grill most fruits about 8-10 minutes until golden. Balsamic glaze (1/2 cup of balsamic vinegar sweetened with juice, brown sugar or stevia) is a wonderful compliment to the caramelized grilled fruit.

What are your heart-healthy grilling tips or favorites?  

Contributed by

Carra Richling
Registered Dietitian

Eat well, be well!

Better Health Begins With You...

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