Keeping It Simple

It was a busy and wonderful weekend filled with visits with a dear friends I don’t get to see very often, a fun run, and family Easter celebrations, which doubled as my Birthday celebration.  The weather finally seems to be conceding to spring’s arrival and as the it gets nicer outside I seem to spend less time in the kitchen plotting meals.  A girl’s still gotta eat though!  In spring and summer I seem to rely more on grilled vegetables to form the basis of simple, wholesome and delicious fare without too much fuss or thought put into the planning. 
There is a lot of versatility in a batch of grilled vegetables.  I often will grab an assortment such as zucchini, yellow squash, eggplant, peppers, red onion, and portobello mushrooms without too much thought as to how I intend to use them.  For me this is unusual.  Throughout the fall and winter I plan my meals and shopping lists carefully to ensure that I am not wasting food. Once the warmer months come along and perfectly content with big salads, which provide a great canvas for just about anything leaving little to waste.
I typically will prepare a simple marinade of balsamic vinegar, garlic, and some herbs to brush on the vegetables.  For portobello steaks, I find I enjoy the Forks Over Knives recipe, which is a soy based marinade with garlic, ginger and a bit of unrefined liquid sugar.   Grilling 3-5 minutes on each side leaves nice grill marks and tenderness to most vegetables. 
A grilled vegetable sandwich makes a nice light meal.  I like to smear some hummus on fresh bread and add fresh tomato, basil and/or spinach, some banana peppers for acid and crunch, a few kalata olives. 
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Grilled vegetables also lend well to pastas.  Fresh basil, kalamata olives, toasted pine nuts, nutritional yeast and fresh squeezed lemon juice makes for a special dish.  I also like to make a sauce of garlic, crushed red pepper and white balsamic vinegar.  The white balsamic has a less harsh flavor than it’s dark counterpart that lends well to sauces and salads, especially when you are not using oil to tone down the flavor.
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Of course there must be grilled vegetable pizza on a homemade whole wheat cauliflower crust.
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And it wouldn’t be me if there wasn’t a burrito.  A fajita burrito with portobello steak is a personal love.
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Even simpler is grilled vegetables over brown rice or in the aforementioned salads.  
I can’t believe I almost didn’t buy a grill, because what would a vegan need a grill for?!  Nonsense.  I love my grill and the simplicity it adds to meal planning. 
Next week’s post will be a bit late because I’m heading to Portland!  This weekend is the Engine 2 Retreat in Portland, Oregan.  What better excuse to cross a trip to the Pacific Northwest off my bucket list 🙂  Stay tuned for my review of the Retreat and the city.
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