There is almost nothing more American than a summer barbecue. Spice up a backyard lunch around a pit for grilling and you are sure to have a happy audience! When we think of BBQ, it is easy to envision saucy platters filled with ribs, chicken, sausages, and burgers that have all been soaking in a fine marinade for several hours. But did you know that you can marinate veggies for a health-focused, low-calorie alternative for your summer grilling adventures? Just like meats, veggies can hold up just as strong when coated in a thick, flavorful marinade and then layed out over a BBQ pit for some smokey cooking! All of the tastes absorb into the vegetables almost effortlessly, making them an easy, affordable grilling option.
Why Marinate Veggies
Think about it, you marinate meats so that they soak in layers of flavor. Well, veggies need love too and marinating them is a wonderful way to keep the summer fun around the grill spirit, but in a way that keeps you aligned to your health and wellness goals. Vegetables become even more tasty and enjoyable to eat when they have been coated in savory marinades filled with fresh herbs. Many of which, you can easily prepare yourself as we’ll show you how to do down below. Plus, there is no need for additional oils when grilling the veggies, as they will have been soaking in the marinade-based oils beforehand.
Another reason to marinate veggies is because it will shift your diet towards more plant-based eating. While we are not telling you to go vegan, there are certainly benefits to adopting a diet that includes a variety of fruits and vegetables on a regular basis. This is largely due to the fact that these plant-based foods are filled with vitamins and minerals that help heal and rejuvenate the body. Introducing just one additional piece of fruit or vegetable into each meal, for example, is a very simple way to boost the nutritional value of what you are eating. For people who are not yet familiar with the benefits of healthy eating, you may be slightly hesitant towards eating particular foods that are deemed as “good for you.” If this is you, a way to transition into these new nutritious, food-based habits is to still consume flavors you are used to, but in a healthier way. If you love the smoky tastes of barbecue for example, marinating veggies in the same sauces you enjoy on meats, is a delicious way to ease your brain into enjoying this new form of BBQ!
Once you begin to eat more vegetables and plant-based friendly foods on a consistent basis, your body will actually start craving them! That’s right, and the same goes for beginning a healthier lifestyle. When you implement certain lifestyle practices like eating foods that help fuel your body, improve your overall health, and make you feel better, along with adopting a regular physical activity routine, your brain and body will change for the better. You’ll be adopting a new standard for yourself that you will naturally want more and more of. Before you know it, eating healthy foods and exercising will become a habit that you no longer have to think about. And ultimately that is our goal with encouraging healthy eating, because we want you to remember that it’s not a diet to aim for, but rather a lifestyle that you can build.
Tips for marinating:
-Opt for more oil-based marinades vs. thick and saucy ones. (The super thick ones may cause excessive charring!)
-Add a bit of sweetness through the use of honey, maple syrup, or fruit juice to help caramelize the vegetables. (Take note however, that using too much sugar can cause them to burn.)
How long to marinate:
The key here is to marinate vegetables long enough to fully absorb the flavors, but not long enough for them to start breaking down and becoming soggy!
10-15min. – soft vegetables like broccoli, tomatoes, greens, etc. You don’t want to marinade these foods for longer than 30 minutes because they will become soggy as a result of their water being released.
30min. – several hours – semi-hard vegetables like green beans, asparagus, peppers, etc.
30min. – overnight – hard vegetables like potatoes, cauliflower, carrots, beets, etc.
Ways to cook marinated vegetables:
-skewers (soak wooden skewers in water to prevent burning wood)
-straight on the grill
-wrapped in foil
The Best Vegetables for Grilling
-large mushrooms like portobellos
*We recommend pre-cooking the firmer veggies by simmering them in a saucepan of water for around 3-5 minutes before throwing them on the grill.
Make it easy on yourself to receive the weekly produce you need to stay aligned with your health-centered goals. Our service FarmboxRx gives you the freedom and peace of mind to receive a fruits and vegetables home delivery, without having to run to the grocery store to pick up your farm-fresh foods! Ordering healthy food online has never been so easy, and our user-friendly website makes it simple to opt in for weekly, bi-weekly, or even monthly deliveries. Having veggies come into your home on a regular basis will give you the opportunity to test out different marinades and experiment with marinated, grilled veggies. Yum!
Check out below for an easy balsamic marinade recipe for summer grilled vegetables. Be sure to try the recipe out for yourself and give us a tag at @FarmboxRx and make sure to use the hashtag #FarmboxRx #FarmboxLiving so that we can see how the recipe turns out!
Easy Balsamic Marinade Recipe
-2 tbsp olive oil
-2 tsp balsamic vinegar
-1 clove garlic, minced
-1 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
-salt & pepper to taste
- Add all of the ingredients into a mixing bowl and stir everything together. Double the ingredient quantities as necessary depending on how many veggies you will be marinating.
- Cover your vegetables in this marinade and follow the suggested times above accordingly.