#019 The Grills of Summer – Kale, Portobello Mushroom, Tomato with Three Bean Salad

After some fits and starts, it looks like summer is really here. Finally. Time to fire up the grill.

Now that I have changed my eating style to primarily “whole-food” and “plant-based,” it is time to change my grilling style too. No more steak, chicken, fish or shrimp. But I don’t want to sacrifice protein and flavor. It’s time for some new recipes. These two are inspired by this month’s issue of Bon Appetit magazine. It is filled with BBQ and other grill-based ideas but few are fully plant-based. We’ll need to adjust to keep the ingredients healthy but not lose flavor.

Grilled Kale

I did not know you could grill kale. You most definitely can. And it is GOOD.

2 bunches large-leafed kale, destemmed
2 lemons
1 tsp smoked paprika
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 apple, sliced thin
olive oil
salt, pepper

Select kale with relatively large leaves. Cut the stem from the middle of each , trying to preserve two large halves from each leaf. In a very large, wide bowl whisk together the juice of 1.5 lemons and 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Toss and knead the kale with this dressing and let it relax for at least 30 minutes. Good time to light the fire.

In a small bowl whisk the juice from the remaining 1/2 lemon with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, garlic, the paprika and a little salt and pepper. Slice your apples into whatever shape looks nice to you.

Place the kale over medium-hot  coals in small batches. Grill until charred on the edges. Continue in batches, piling the cooked kale back in the large bowel to prolong the cooking. When done toss with the apples and dressing from the small bowl and adjust salt and pepper. Serve while still hot.


Grilled Portobello Mushroom

Potobello caps – brushed clean, using NO water
Olive oil (after cooked)
Salt and pepper

Pretty simple but with a healthy technique. Instead of dousing the sponge-like mushroom with olive oil before grilling, place the caps on a medium-hot grill without any oil or seasoning. Cook until seared and somewhat pliable. This takes surprisingly long, like a piece of meat might take. Serve while still hot with a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper. Better flavor and texture than the way I used to do it.


Grilled Plum Tomatoes on the Vine

Grilling with the tomatoes connected by their vine keeps them from falling into the fire. Can drizzle with a bit of olive oil when they are done cooking.


Three Bean Salad

This cold salad takes no time if you use canned beans. Be sure to rinse them well after removing from the can. Looks nicer if you select contrasting colored beans like pintos with kidney beans. I like using fresh green beans to give the dish some texture and fresh flavor.


2 cans beans, rinsed well
1/2 lb. fresh green beans, parboiled
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
1 serrano chili, finely chopped
1/2 bunch cilantro leaves, about 1/2 cup packed
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 Tbsp fresh squeezed lime juice

After cooking the green beans, cut in half and rinse with cold water to cool (or ice bath). Whisk the olive oil and lime juice with a little salt. Mix in peppers into the dressing and toss with beans and cilantro. Adjust salt and add fresh ground pepper to taste.

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