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Two Easy-n-Excellent BBQ Sides

If you don’t enjoy spending lots of time in the kitchen or standing over a hot grill for long, it’s important to choose recipes that are straightforward yet tasty. Try adding these easy recipe sides to your spring or summer BBQ. Or serve them as whole dishes alongside a salad.

Recipes don’t have to be difficult or contain a lot of complicated ingredients. In fact, some of the best foods are served in their purest form. However, cooking can deepen or enhance a food’s flavor profile.  Grilling some of your favorite “fruits,” like tomatoes or zucchini, is an easy and exciting full sensory experience. There is something deeply pleasurable about picking ripe produce off the vine, enjoying fresh aromas from the earth, observing as you slice thick or juicy pieces, and hearing foods sizzle as they hit the grill pan. Not only are these two recipes below fun, but they add a refreshing and healthy boost to your menu.

Grilled Tomato Halves

Ingredients:

  • 6 firm yet ripe garden-fresh tomatoes
  • Your favorite olive oil (Extra virgin or regular – pick one)
  • About 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Kosher salt or fresh ground pink Himalayan salt or Fleur de sel to taste (Pick one)
  • Fresh cracked black pepper or rainbow peppercorns or white pepper to taste (Pick one)
  • Garnish: 8 to 10 ripped basil leaves, or ground Rosemary or fresh dill or sliced chives to taste (Pick one)

Directions: Preheat outdoor grill to medium heat. (Grill tip: make sure grill is lightly oiled to prevent sticking.) Meanwhile, wash and slice the tomatoes in half. Drizzle some olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper over the cut side of the tomatoes. Place them cut side up onto the preheated grill. Begin grilling for 4 to 5 minutes. They are ready to turn when tomatoes begin to sizzle and show some grill marks on the underside. Flip the tomatoes over and grill until the garlic turns golden brown, about 3 minutes additional. Add the garnish of your choice. Makes 6 full servings or 12 side servings.  


Recipe info: Amounts of olive oil, salt, pepper, and spices are not provided in this recipe, as amounts may vary according to the size of the tomatoes and per taste desires. Same rule applies to recipe below.

Parmesan Zucchini

Ingredients:

  • 4 medium-sized zucchinis
  • Your favorite olive oil to taste
  • About 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • Cracked black pepper to taste
  • Fresh shaved parmesan cheese to taste

Directions:

Preheat outdoor grill over medium heat. (Grill tip: make sure grill is lightly oiled to prevent sticking.) Meanwhile, wash and dry the zucchini. Slice the zucchini by making a series of cross cuts (short side across) in an accordion fashion. Slices should be evenly made about ¼ to ½ inches apart. Important: Be sure to only cut 2/3 of the way down. This will leave the zucchini intact but create spaces for your toppings to seep in. Drizzle some olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper over the cut side of the zucchini. Place zucchinis cut side up onto the preheated grill. Begin grilling for 10 to 15 minutes, watching carefully, until zucchini looks tender. Remove from grill. Add thin shavings of Parmesan cheese between the cuts. Return to grill and increase heat to medium high for about 5 more minutes. They are ready when the zucchinis show some grill marks on the underside and the cheese is melted and golden.  Makes 4 full servings or 8 half servings.  

Grill tip for both recipes: These recipes can be made outdoors or indoors using a grill pan. Or they can be made on a baking sheet in a preheated oven set to 400 degrees F – and watched carefully until fully cooked. (About 10 minutes total for the tomatoes and about 20 minutes total for the zucchini – with the cheese added during the last five minutes of bake time.) You may cover with foil to prevent oven splatters if desired. Best served warm.

Did you know that zucchinis and tomatoes are technically fruits? That’s because both come from seeds and grow on the flowering part of the plant.


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