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It's time to get your veggies on... the grill!

It's time to get your veggies on... the grill!

Jul. 12, 2023

This grilling season, Monongalia County Health Department’s WIC Kitchen is offering unique recipes to get away from old standbys such as hot dogs and hamburgers. When it comes to grilling, there are so many options.

Did you know that cooking food can change its nutritional composition? Veggies, meats, fruits and almost all foods are changed by cooking. The heat of cooking can “denature,” or push out nutrients.

However, some vegetables, including spinach, cabbage, peppers and mushrooms, can increase in antioxidants and absorption after cooking.

Sharon Palmer, a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) with a Master of Science in Sustainable Food Systems (MSFS), put it this way in an online blog when it comes to the nutritional value of grilled vegetables:

“…Some nutrients actually become more bioavailable when vegetables are cooked, since cooking helps release the nutrients from the cell walls of the plant. … Mushrooms, asparagus and cabbage supply more antioxidant compounds when cooked compared with raw. And antioxidant compounds in foods we eat may help protect against cancer and other diseases.”

Grilling can also make it easier for our taste buds to detect savory flavors in vegetables and meats.

These are some great reasons to try grilling! Check out these recipes, one of which features grilled components. And remember to check out the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s web page on safe grilling.

Grilled Chicken & Veggie Kabobs

3 portabella mushrooms*
2 bell peppers*
2 chicken breasts
2 zucchinis*
1 red onion*
6 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon basil
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1. Let skewers sit in water for 30-60 minutes before adding food. This can help prevent the skewers from burning on the grill or in the oven.
2. Chop mushrooms, bell peppers, chicken, zucchini and red onion into thick squares. Carefully add and alternate them on your skewers.
3. In a small bowl, mix olive oil, salt, pepper, basil, oregano, onion powder and garlic powder. Once mixed, drizzle or brush mixture onto skewers. Make sure to coat them all over.
4. Put skewers on the grill (or in the oven) at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes or until the chicken is fully cooked. Flip skewers halfway at the 10-minute mark. Enjoy plain, over rice or with roasted potatoes and feta.

Grilled Eggplant Lasagna

1 eggplant*
3-4 cups dry spinach*
2 tablespoons butter
14 ounces ricotta cheese
1 cup parmesan cheese
1 egg*
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 jar of spaghetti sauce
1 pound ground turkey or beef
1 onion*
½ cup of mozzarella cheese*
1. Slice eggplant into thin slices. Place on grill at 400 for about two minutes on each side until you can see char marks. Or sauté on a skillet with some olive oil until browned.
2. Sauté spinach with 1 tablespoon butter in a skillet for about five minutes on medium. Make sure you are mixing the spinach around in the pan so it cooks evenly.
3. Add spinach into a bowl. Then add in parmesan, ricotta, egg and seasonings. Mix together and set aside.
4. Chop onion into small pieces. Add it into the pan with remaining tablespoon of butter. When the onion starts to brown, remove and add meat. Mix frequently. When done cooking, add onion back in, as well as most of the spaghetti sauce. Be sure to save a little.
5. Add a thin layer of sauce to the bottom of your lasagna dish and then add a layer of eggplant slices.
6. Layer your cheese and spinach mixture. Then add your meat sauce. Continue layering.
7. The last layer will be mozzarella cheese on top. Wrap lasagna with tin foil and bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes.
Items marked with an asterisk* are available through Monongalia County Health Department WIC. Please contact us at 304-598-5181 for more information.





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