Here are 18 healthy grilling recipes that work with a variety of tastes and eating habits, including vegan and vegetarian options.
Grilled foods can be healthy because they can add a lot of flavor without any extra calories.
Additionally, grilling foods can help reduce some of their fat, while reducing excess fat from foods. The remaining drippings of fat will detach from the food and drip into the grill instead of staying in the food or pan.
Benefits of grilling food
When cooking meat in particular, broiling can help lock in moisture and flavor. Still, some evidence from 2022 suggests that eating lots of red meat that has been cooked over an open flame may be linked to an increased risk of cancer.
However, you don’t have to limit grilling to red meat. You can grill many different foods, from fish to vegetables to tofu.
Grilled meat and fish recipes
When grilling meat and fish, it is very important to follow all recommended cooking safety protocols. You’ll want to make sure you clean your grill properly and cook meats to temperatures recommended by experts, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The recommended temperatures are:
- 145°F for whole cuts of beef, pork, lamb and veal
- 145°F for fish
- 160°F for burgers and ground beef
- 165°F for poultry and precooked meats, such as hot dogs
Grilled Chicken with Strawberry-Pineapple Salsa
- Trim chicken breasts and season with low-salt chicken seasoning.
- Grill the chicken until each breast reaches the recommended temperature in the thickest part.
- Separately, grill the pineapple pieces for about 2 minutes.
- Combine grilled pineapple with diced strawberries, mint leaves, chopped red onion, lemon zest, 1-2 tsp sugar, and ⅛ tsp red pepper flakes.
- Top cooked chicken with salsa and squeeze lemon on top, if desired.
Grilled chicken with smoked paprika
For an easy chicken recipe with a flavor profile that can go with just about anything, brush the chicken with oil before grilling and a mixture of smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion, salt and pepper, to taste. Serve with the accompaniments of your choice.
Grilled beef skewers with avocado-tzatziki sauce
- In a bowl, mix the spices:
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon rosemary
- ¼ tsp salt
- a pinch of black pepper
- Add 1 lb of ground beef to the bowl and mix well with the spices.
- Shape ground beef into skewers, prick and grill until skewers reach recommended temperature.
- To make a sauce, in a food processor, blend and blend:
- 1 cup plain Greek yogurt or sour cream
- ½ cucumber peeled and diced
- ½ avocado
- fresh mint
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- a pinch of salt
- Pour the sauce over the cooked skewers or use it as a dipping sauce.
- Season a flank steak or sirloin steak with salt and black pepper. Preheat a grill to medium heat.
- Grill the meat for about 10 minutes on each side or until the steak reaches the recommended temperature, then let rest for another 10 minutes. Line with aluminum foil tent.
- To prepare the curry, combine the ingredients in a saucepan over low heat until the sugar dissolves:
- 1.5 cups of coconut milk
- 1 tsp green curry paste
- 1 tablespoon of fish sauce
- 2 tablespoons of sugar
- Slice cooked steak and garnish with curry.
- Serve with white rice and grilled vegetables, if desired.
A tip for grilling shrimp? Grill with the shell on to help lock in moisture and flavor. Marinate the shrimp in 1 tbsp oil with Old Bay seasoning, salt and minced garlic. Grill 1 to 2 minutes on each side.
- Mix ¼ cup mirin with 1 tsp sesame oil, 1 tsp ginger paste or fresh finger and 1 tsp soy sauce.
- Marinate the shrimp for about 10 minutes, then grill for 1 to 2 minutes on each side.
- Serve with rice and vegetables, if desired.
Vegetarian grill recipes
These vegetarian grill recipes are sure to please and also help you hit your veggie count for the day.
- Slice colorful peppers, red onions, and any other vegetables you might like, such as mushrooms or zucchini.
- Sprinkle the vegetables with salt, pepper, paprika, chili, cumin and coriander, to taste.
- Drizzle vegetables with avocado oil, then grill for 3 to 5 minutes.
- Serve with warm tortillas and toppings of your choice.
Take your favorite veggie burger and throw it on the grill. It may help to line the grill with aluminum foil or use a grill pan directly on the grill. Plant-based burgers can lose their shape a little more than beef burgers, which will help keep the mess to a minimum.
Roasted peaches with cinnamon sugar
The grill isn’t just for dinner. You can also turn it on for delicious desserts. Try this next time you’re picking peaches – or at a grocery store that sells peaches – and you have some fruit on hand:
- In a bowl, mix the butter at room temperature with the sugar and cinnamon.
- Brush the halved peaches with olive oil, then place them directly on a hot grill, cut side down.
- Grill for a few minutes.
- Serve garnished with prepared butter and a mint leaf, if desired. Ice cream is always a good choice too!
For a sweet treat, top pineapple slices with a mixture of melted butter, cinnamon, and sugar. Grill for about 7 minutes, turning regularly to cook each side. You can also experiment with smoky or spicy flavors by topping them with chili powder or cumin instead.
Summer means gardens bursting with fresh tomatoes, so take the opportunity to fire up the grill for this bright recipe:
- Slice a baguette, then brush each slice with olive oil.
- Grill face down until golden brown.
- Top with chopped tomatoes, crumbled feta cheese and chopped basil.
- Drizzle with balsamic vinegar to serve.
- Slice the eggplant lengthwise then brush with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
- Grill cut side down for about 5 minutes.
- Serve eggplant alone or sandwiched with goat cheese, sliced tomatoes and basil.
If you follow a vegan diet, here are some recipes to try.
Summer means an abundance of fresh, sweet corn. If you live near a farm that can supply you with some cobs—or if you have a grocery store that sells them—you have to try grilled corn on the cob:
- Prepare the corn by removing the outer layer of the husk, then soak the cobs in a bucket of cold water until you’re ready to grill them.
- Place the whole corn, still in the husk, directly on the grill.
- Grill for 15 to 20 minutes.
Toss the tofu onto skewers, then drizzle it with your favorite BBQ sauce (or try making your own). Grill for 2-3 minutes on each side, then flip and baste again with more sauce before finishing cooking.
Grilled tofu with soy sauce
- Prepare the tofu for the grill by pressing it and slicing it.
- Then, brush it with a mixture of:
- ⅓ cup soy sauce
- garlic powder
- black pepper
- ⅓ cup brown sugar
- ⅓ cup vegetable oil
- Grill for 2-3 minutes or until charred, then top with marinade before serving.
Grilled Cauliflower Steaks
- Cut the cauliflower heads into generous portions. Brush with a mixture of olive oil, lemon zest, agave, fresh parsley, garlic and red pepper flakes.
- Sprinkle with salt, then grill salt side down.
- Flip after 5 minutes and grill for an additional 5 minutes or until cauliflower appears charred.
Portobello Mushroom Steaks
- Remove the stems from 2 portobello mushrooms and brush them with a mixture of:
- 3 tablespoons oil
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce or tamari
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- black pepper
- Grill for 4 to 5 minutes.
- You can pour more marinade over the mushrooms as they cook for more flavor.
Arugula Toasted Flatbread
Brush a prepared flatbread with olive oil, then top with your favorite toppings. Consider topping with vegan cheese, tomatoes, mushrooms, red onions or olives. Grill for about 10-12 minutes, then sprinkle with fresh arugula before serving.
Grilling, in moderation, can be a fun and delicious way to incorporate new recipes and foods into your diet. You can grill anything from vegetables to meat to fruit and enjoy fresh flavors all season long. Grilling foods may provide some health benefits, such as reduced fat and improved flavor without added calories.
These 18 recipes will help you fire up the barbecue for a summer full of gatherings and feasting together.