How many times have we been told to eat our veggies?
Besides hearing it continuously from our parents during our early childhood years, as adults we are still hearing it from our doctors, nutritionists and dietitians.
Most of us have a few fond memories of staring into a plate of cooked vegetables and wishing they would magically disappear that we might finally be excused from the table.
Or the countless desserts we forfeited just to be spared the agony of another mouthful of something worse than punishment itself.
I find that new recipes are always popping up on the preparation and presentation of vegetables.
There’s an array of taste preferences ranging from totally raw vegetable dishes to crunchy stir fry to steamed or boiled preparations just to mention a few. Some vegetables are camouflaged by being pureed or mixed into other ingredients. This technique works very well especially with children. The vegetables that some profess to dislike and even hate are devoured with no hesitation.
It would seem that preparation of the many varieties of vegetables has taken on an art form, the bonus being the great nutritional value and sheer pleasure of eating them.
Grilled vegetables are one of our favourites. The taste of the grill, crisp texture and simple dressing is truly enjoyable and a great side to any meat, fish or chicken dish.
Just as enjoyable is a grilled vegetable sandwich toasted in a pannini press.
You can almost put any variety of vegetable on the grill, these are only a few we have enjoyed. Use any of your favourite vegetables, the possibilities are endless. Then dress them with the light, tasty dressing recipe that follows.
Red, green, orange and yellow peppers
Mushrooms (Button, Oyster, Portobello)
Corn or vegetable oil to coat vegetables
Salt and pepper to taste
- Wash and dry off all vegetables. Cut peppers in quarters, any smaller and you will risk losing the pieces through the barbecue grate. ( If desired cut them into smaller pieces after grilling.)
- If using button mushrooms use the appropriate barbecue grilling pan to prevent any from jumping into the fire. The larger mushrooms can be placed directly on the grill.
- Diagonally slice zucchini into ¼ to ½ inch thickness making slices as long as possible.
- Peeling egg plant is optional then also cut into ¼ to ½ inch slices.
- Trim asparagus removing the tough woody lower end.
- Pour vegetable or corn oil into your hands and rub some onto each piece of vegetable. (this will help prevent vegetables from drying out on the grill, (a little oil goes a long way.)
- Grill on high heat until you get those lovely grill marks and vegetables are tender but still crisp, don’t overcook.
- Remove from grill, season to taste and while still warm pour dressing over them making sure they are all coated.
- These can be eaten right away or stored in the fridge for 4 to 5 days. The longer they absorb the dressing the tastier they will become.
¾ cup olive oil
¼ cup red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon yellow mustard
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon sugar
- Place olive oil, red wine vinegar, yellow mustard, salt, pepper and sugar in a 500 ml. jar or bottle with a tight fitting lid and shake until very well combined. The mustard will help to emulsify the mixture so the finished product will thicken somewhat.
- Add to your grilled vegetables.
- Makes 8 ounces of dressing.
- This dressing also works well on any salad greens
- For tasty crostini appetizers as in the recipe for Zucchini Crostini, after grilling and before dressing the vegetables chop them into approximately ½ inch pieces.
- Mix all the vegetables together and add dressing.
- Before serving, drain well and spoon onto the prepared crostini.
Meet the Press
I love my pannini press and use it regularly. Besides toasting bread for crostini and grilling sandwiches you can also use it to grill your vegetables if you don’t have a barbecue.
If you don’t own a press and are thinking about investing in one, preferably choose one with the cooking surface that looks like a grill and not one with a flat cooking surface. This will give you those grill marks that make the bread or vegetables so appealing.
Again, it’s all about eating with your eyes first!