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. 
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.
Of course there must be grilled vegetable pizza on a homemade whole wheat cauliflower crust.
And it wouldn’t be me if there wasn’t a burrito.  A fajita burrito with portobello steak is a personal love.
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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