Let’s Cook: Make a Hearty Meal of Grilled Summer Produce

It’s summertime — kitchens are hot, and vegetables, fruits, and herbs are abundant. Beat the heat by taking them to the grill! While you may have grilled vegetables as a side dish, the Bon Appétit Wellness team believes that summer produce’s peak-season flavors combined with the right techniques can make plants the star of any plate. Of course, eating fruits and vegetables benefits your health, but grilling them is actually a great way to retain nutrients and avoid potentially harmful compounds that form when grilling meat. So fire up that grill!

Try these seasonal recipes from Bon Appétit Management Company chefs, with more healthy grilling information to come on Wednesday.

Grilled Caesar Salad with Chickpea Croutons and Caesar Dressing

Makes 4 salads

For the Salad

1 can chickpeas, drained (about 1.5 cups cooked)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided in half
1/2 teaspoon pepper, divided in half
2 whole Romaine lettuce hearts
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1-2 tablespoons Caesar Dressing

Caesar Dressing

Makes 1 cup

3 cloves garlic
1 1/2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
4 anchovies
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
2/3 cup olive oil
1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper, divided

Make dressing by blending all ingredients except oil, salt, and pepper. With the blender still running, add oil, salt, and pepper. Refrigerate until needed.

Place chickpeas on a towel and pat dry removing as much liquid as possible. Toss chickpeas with olive oil, chili powder, and 1/8 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and spread chickpeas in a single layer on the pan. Bake at 400 degrees for 30-45 minutes until crispy. Shake the pan every 15 minutes. Set aside to cool. (Pro tip: leftover chickpeas make a great snack, so consider doubling the recipe!)

Slice tip off the root of the lettuce, leaving all leaves attached. Slice the heart in half lengthwise.  Rub olive oil on the cut side and season with remaining salt and pepper.

Grill cut side down for 1-2 minutes or until leaves just begin to char.

Place romaine on the plate, cut side up, drizzle with dressing. Top with Parmesan cheese and crispy chickpeas.

Smoky Grilled Cauliflower Steak

Makes 2 steaks

1 large head of cauliflower
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped

Cut cauliflower in half slicing through the center of the whole head. Take each half and slice again to create a 1-inch steak. Reserve any florets from each side for another use. Lay each piece flat on a sheet pan.

Mix olive oil, paprika, lemon juice, and salt then brush one side of the cauliflower steaks.

Place the seasoned side down on the hot grill and brush the top side with the remaining olive oil mixture.

Cover the grill and cook for 5-6 minutes until the bottom is charred. Flip the steak, recover, and cook an additional 5-6 minutes until the cauliflower is tender.

Remove from the grill and sprinkle with parsley for serving. While these steaks can stand alone, for an extra flavor punch, pair with pumpkin-seed pesto, avocado salsa, chipotle-lemon Greek yogurt, or chimichurri.


Grilled Cinnamon Honey Peaches with Ice Cream or Whipped Cream

Makes 4 servings

4 large ripe but still firm peaches
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons honey
1 cup vanilla ice cream or whipped cream (no sugar needed)

Cut peaches in half and remove pit. Toss peaches in olive oil and cinnamon.

Place halves cut side down on a hot grill, and cook for 4-6 minutes until charred. Turn and cook for 1 minute.

Remove peaches, drizzle with honey, and top with ¼ cup of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream.