The all-grilled salad has become a staple in our house over the years — it's versatile, easy, has minimal cleanup and is right up our healthy-eating alley.
A hot grill coaxes out the sweetness from anything we toss on it, and that tiny bit of char flavor is like a kiss of summer. So, even if I don't "have" to cook something — such as cabbage in a slaw — if the fire is roaring, I'll let the ingredient enjoy a few minutes of grill time, just for flavor. Super-healthy foods become craveable with the arrival of the backyard barbecue season.
To make a tasty all-grilled salad, follow a few simple tips. First, invest a few bucks in an oil mister, which allows you to coat veggies and fish with just enough fat to keep them from sticking or drying out. With an oil mister, you can turn almost any combination of veggies and protein you have on hand into an all-grilled salad.
Second, grill the veggies in somewhat larger pieces and chop them down to salad size later. This will keep the veggies from falling through the slats and keep the integrity of the vegetable intact, resulting in a true salad, not just floppy grilled garnish for your meat.
Third, make a simple vinaigrette for the salad, and in it, use some form of fruit juice — lime, orange, pineapple juice. The little bit of sweetness plays up the sweetness in the lightly charred veggies.
Finally, don't hesitate to serve the salad whole. Layer the veggies and meat on a large white tray and pour vinaigrette over, and serve with crusty baguette slices for an alfresco meal that will delight.
Food Network star Melissa d'Arabian is an expert on healthy eating on a budget. She is the author of the cookbook "Supermarket Healthy."