Helping families eat healthier for less

Helping families eat healthier for less

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Grilled Veggie Salad Takes Heat Out of the Kitchen

I wanted to create a recipe that would use summer’s bountiful produce, namely garden fresh corn, tomatoes, and zucchini. So, it was decided a corn salad would fit the bill.  Here are the steps for a Grilled Corn & Tomato Salad.
I started by reviewing existing recipes for grilling corn. I’ve grilled corn in the past, but have not been happy with the results. In the past, it has turned out too charred, dry, and a challenge to eat. After researching several recipes by others, I decided to try a technique where you soak the corn in its husks in water. Then when it is barbecued, you are actually steaming the corn.
I was able to find corn on the cob in my local supermarket, 10 ears for $2.00.  That’s just 20 cents each. You begin by carefully pulling back the husks and removing the silk.

Then, you put the husks back in place. Soak the ears in enough water to cover for 30 to 60 minutes. I used a wooden bamboo bread board to weight down the corn so it was completely submerged.

While the corn is soaking, I grill the plum tomato halves and ½-inch slices of red onion over medium heat (350), covered. I sprayed them on both sides with non-stick olive oil cooking spray. They will take about 5 to 7 minutes per side.

After 30 to 60 minutes of soaking, you remove the corn from the water and shake them well. You have the option of seasoning the corn at this point, if desired. I carefully pulled back the husks and sprinkled them with smoked paprika, one of my favorite spices at the moment.

You pull the husks up around the corn and tie them shut using a 3-inch piece of string. Then, grill them over medium heat for about 15 to 20 minutes, uncovered, turning them every 5 minutes or so. Then, remove the corn from the direct heat to a rack or grill without a burner on and cook the ears covered for an additional 15 minutes over indirect heat.

Remove the corn from the grill and when it is not too hot to handle remove the husks and cut the corn off the cob. Place the corn in a medium bowl with the grilled tomatoes and onions that have been cut up, along with smoked paprika, black pepper, kosher salt, and fresh chopped basil. You can serve the corn salad “as is” in a bowl.

Another option is to serve the corn salad in romaine lettuce leaves.

Or, you can serve the corn salad on top of salad greens.

The complete recipe directions can be found below.

Grilled Corn and Tomato Salad
4 ears of corn on the cob
2 medium plum (Roma type) tomatoes, stem ends removed, halved lengthwise
½ medium red onion, peeled, cut into ½-inch slices
Olive oil non-stick cooking spray
4 pieces of string, each about 3 inches in length (to tie corn husks around corn)
2 tsp smoked paprika, divided
1 cup finely diced fresh zucchini
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
¼ tsp kosher salt, or to taste
4 Tbsp finely chopped fresh basil
6 cups salad greens

Preheat grill to medium heat (350 degrees), leaving one burner unit unlit.
Remove large outer husks on corn and discard. Carefully pull back inner husks and remove silk; then smooth inner husks back in place. In a sink or large pan, soak corn in cold water to cover for 30 to 60 minutes.
Meanwhile while corn is soaking, spray tomatoes and onion slices with cooking spray. Grill tomatoes and onion over medium heat, covered, until they are soft and slightly charred, turning occasionally, about 5 to 7 minutes per side. Once grilled, set aside and let cool. Remove skin from tomatoes and chop. Cut onion in ½-inch pieces.
After soaking, remove corn from water and shake off excess water. Carefully pull back inner husks and season with smoked paprika, if desired.  Smooth inner husks back over corn and tie closed with string. Place prepared corn on preheated grill for about 15 to 20 minutes, turning ears every 5 minutes or so. Move ears to indirect heat on grill, cover, and cook for an additional 15 minutes. Let cool.
When corn has cooled enough to handle, remove husks and cut kernels from cob and place in medium bowl. Add cut  tomatoes and onion. Add zucchini, olive oil, 1 teaspoon paprika, pepper and salt. Best served slightly warm or at room temperature. Just before serving, add basil. Then place one cup of salad greens and 1 cup of corn salad on each of six salad plates.

Makes 6 servings (1 cup each)
Variation: add 1 cup of cooked black beans to the salad. It adds color contrast, protein, and fiber to the dish.

Nutrition Information per Serving:
116 calories, 5.6 g total fat, 0.9 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 2.6 g dietary fiber, 3.3 g protein, and 100 mg sodium. One serving of this low cost recipe provides an excellent source of iron, phosphorus, vitamin C, thiamin, and niacin.
Cost per Serving: $1.24
Pricing Note: all ingredients were at “regular” prices except corn on the cob which was on sale for 20 cents per ear. Cost will be almost negligible if homegrown tomatoes, corn, and basil can be used.

Go to these other blogs for more great grilling recipes and ideas.

Alexandra Caspero
Grilled Summer Fruit Salad
Alysa Bajenaru – Inspired RD
Grilled Romaine Salad
Cindy Brison
Nutrition Know How
Chef Pandita
Grilled Vegetables
Danielle Omar – Food Confidence
Grilled Sweet Peppers
Diane Welland – EatWellEatClean
Grilled Beet & Onion Salad with Goat Cheese
EA Stewart – The Spicy RD
Grilled Polenta Veggie Stacks with Balsamic Cherry Tomatoes
Emma Stirling – The Scoop on Nutrition
Char Siu BBQ Pork
Gretchen – Kumquat
Grilled Tandoori Chicken Skewers
Jackie Mills- Delicious Diabetes Cooking
Grilled Proscuitto Shrimp with Asian Dipping Sauce
Jessica Fishman Levinson – Nutritioulicious
Grilled Salmon Burgers with Cherry Chutney
Kat Lynch – Eating The Week
Portobello mushrooms stuffed with spiced couscous
Katie Caputo- East Meats West
Succulent Sirloin Kabobs
Kristen – Swanky Dietitian
Portabella Mushroom Burgers with Grilled Corn
Lisa – Healthful Sense
Grilled Veggie Bean Burgers
Liz Weiss and Janice Newell Bissex – Meal Makeover Moms’ Kitchen
Mushroom Burgers with the Works, Mushroom Cannellini Spread
Marie Spano
Italian Grilled Turkey Burgers
Nicole Ferring Holovach – Whole Health RD
Grilled Eggs
Rebecca Scritchfield – MeFirst
Grilled Plantains: A Sweet Summer Side Dish
Regan – The Professional Palate
Grilled Eggplant & Two-Tomato Whole-Wheat Piadina
Serena – Teaspoon of Spice
Grilled Watermelon Salad

Monday, June 13, 2011

Gallop poll shows Americans healthy habits declining

A Gallop poll released Friday, June 11th, looked at adults healthy habits of eating fruits and vegetables, not smoking, and exercising for at least 30 minutes 3 times a week. Compared to the same time last year, they found that Americans are doing more poorly in all three habits. They indicate that it may be partly due to higher gasoline prices because families have less money to spend on food.  See the news article link by clicking here.
Think through your week and make a shopping list of the foods you need. You’ll be less likely to buy impulse items and spend less overall. Go to to find a lot more money-saving tips and strategies to eat healthier.
Do you have any tips for eating healthier for less that you’d like to share with others?