Hey there and welcome to another installment of Grilling 101. This week, we’re going to be doing something a little different than our usual blogs—and much bigger in content. Rather than just talking about one kind of food and what you can do with it on the grill, I’d like to shed some light on the variety of ways one can use a grill, because let’s face it, the grill is not limited to cooking meats, nor is it limited to the simple tong and spatula approach.

Whenever most people look at a grill, they see it only at face value and use it as such. We associate grills with ribs, sausages, hot dogs, burgers, chicken, and steak, so that’s what we cook on it. But when you stop looking at the grill as just a grill, and instead as an open flamed cooking source, suddenly the potentials of the grill expand into conventional oven territory. In fact, there are a number of pans and cooking pots that are designed for use on grills as well as stoves.

One of the more common food items you’ll see on the grill outside of your meat products are fruits and vegetables. In fact, you’d be surprised at the list of both grillable fruits and veggies, as well as the amount of recipes there are for each one. For this blog, we’re going to be looking at a couple that can be eaten either as appetizers, a whole meal, and one dessert, and all of which can be cooked on the grill.

Appetizer foods are generally classified as something small and light for you to whet your appetite on. They are served before the main course and can often be shared among meal patrons. Here are a couple of fruits and vegetables that you can toss on the grill that work as appetizers.

For our first food, we have the watermelon. This green stripped cousin of the cucumber and squash is the most popular melon sold in the United States. It is a very popular fruit at backyard meals, and also has a number of nutritional benefits, including being 91{a908f3cfa73a8de8bf6f2b96e240bb7c9d3f5bad987c2ee76ba0db26a64817a2} water and a high concentration of antioxidants. Despite the high water content, watermelon can be easily cooked on a grill or in a grill-friendly non-stick pan, which is the method used in this recipe provided by Foodnetwork.com.

Due to the size and content of this blog, I won’t be writing out each recipe individually, but you can find each one at the links to their respective websites.

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http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/claire-robinson/grilled-watermelon-salad-recipe.html

Next up for appetizers is the apricot. This smaller relative of the peach is usually found dried, but there are some stores that sell whole fruit. If you manage to find some whole apricots, be sure to pick the ones which are soft to the touch, but not so squishy that your fingers pierce the flesh—just like you’d shop for a plumb. Regardless of the form you buy them in, apricots are one of the riches sources of Vitamin A and C, and, when grilled, can be eaten on their own or as toppings to a salad or main course, as can be seen in the recipe provided by Cookingchanneltv.com.

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http://www.cookingchanneltv.com/recipes/debi-mazar-and-gabriele-corcos/grilled-apricots-with-goat-cheese.html

For our final appetizer food, I’d h being low in calories (100g of artichokes equals only 47 calories) they also contain compounds that aid in bile production, which lowers cholesterol levels, as well as rich sources of iron, copper, potassium, and phosphorus, all of which help your body in trace amounts. So, if you’ve got the chance this summer, boil up a couple of artichokes on the grill with this recipe from Allrecipes.com.

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http://allrecipes.com/recipe/grilled-garlic-artichokes/

Once you’ve sampled the appetizers, now it’s time for the main course. These foods need to be big and filling; something you can sink your teeth into and fill your bellies. Luckily, the following grain and fungus fit these criteria to a T.

In the fungus category, we have Portobello mushrooms. These mushrooms are the larger, more developed form of the common white mushroom. They’re easy to identify thanks to their rounded flat caps and near black gills on the underside. Health-wise, the Portobello mushroom is one of the few natural sources of Vitamin D available in supermarkets, as well as containing a healthy amount of copper and selenium. Myrecipes.com has a lovely recipe for stuffed Portobello mushrooms for whenever you’re in the mood to grill up some fungi.

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http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/stuffed-portobello-mushrooms-with-olives-caramelized-onions?utm_source=un_display_na_ti_20150501_outbrain

For our grain main course, we have corn, also known as maize (despite popular belief, corn is not a vegetable). This is one of the world’s most widespread and widely used foods—and with good reason. Corn is rich in fiber, potassium, and Vitamin A, all of which improve your respiratory and circulatory system. However, corn is also a high starch food, so it shouldn’t be consumed too often. Corn is often used as a side dish for other meals, but it can also be eaten on its own. Allrecipes.com has lovely directions for grilling corn straight on your barbeque.

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http://allrecipes.com/recipe/tasty-bbq-corn-on-the-cob/

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Finally, we come to our dessert category. The criteria for this category is pretty straightforward; foods that are sweet and small enough to top off a delicious meal with The fruit I’ve picked for this category are peaches, which fits all of these criteria perfectly. Originating from China, the peach is a sweet and delicious fruit with all manner of health benefits, including a moderate source of Vitamin A, and rich sources of iron, fluoride, and antioxidants. Once grilled up, you can toss on some ice cream and pecans, like in this recipe provided by Thepioneerwoman.com

http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2013/06/grilled-peaches-pecans/

I hope that you’ll take the opportunity to try out some of these grilling recipes and give yourself the challenge of utilizing your grill in what many would consider to be the non-traditional manner that it can be used for.   Believe me, you won’t regret it and your guests will truly be amazed at your BBQ skill and knowledge.  Until next week, happy grilling!