18 Healthy Grill Recipes

Medically Reviewed By Katherine Marengo LDN, R.D.
Was this helpful?
113

If you are looking to fire up the grill with some fresh and delicious options for summer barbeques, you have lots of options to choose from. Grilled food both tastes good and can be an effective way to make healthy cooking part of your daily routine. Grilling can also be a fun way to mix up your meals. And of course, when the weather is nice, it gives you a good reason to enjoy being outdoors. 

Here are 18 healthy grill recipes that work with a variety of tastes and eating patterns, including vegan and vegetarian options.

Is grilled food healthy?

grilled meat and veg
Jeremy Pawlowski/Stocksy United

Grilled food can be healthy because it can add a lot of flavor without any additional calories. 

Additionally, grilling food can help reduce some of its fat, alongside trimming the extra fat off food. The remaining fat drippings will come off the food and drip into the grill instead of staying in the food or pan. 

Benefits of grilling food 

When cooking meat especially, grilling can help lock in moisture and flavor. Yet some evidence from 2022 suggests that eating a lot of red meat that has been cooked over a flame could link to an increase in the risk of cancer

You do not have to limit grilling to just red meat, though. You can grill many different foods, from fish to vegetables to tofu. 

Meat and fish grill recipes 

When grilling meat and fish, it is very important to follow all recommended safety protocols for cooking. You will want to make sure you clean your grill properly and cook meats to temperatures recommended by experts, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Recommended temperatures are:

  • 145°F for whole cuts of beef, pork, lamb, and veal 
  • 145°F for fish
  • 160°F for hamburgers and ground beef
  • 165°F for poultry and precooked meats, like hot dogs

Grilled chicken with strawberry-pineapple salsa

  1. Trim chicken breasts and season with a low salt chicken seasoning.
  2. Grill chicken until each breast reaches the recommended temperature in the thickest part.
  3. Separately, grill pineapple chunks for about 2 minutes.
  4. Combine grilled pineapple with diced strawberries, mint leaves, chopped red onion, lemon zest, 1–2 tsp sugar, and ⅛ tsp red pepper flakes.
  5. Top cooked chicken with salsa and squeeze lemon over top, if desired. 

Grilled chicken with smoked paprika

For an easy chicken recipe with a flavor profile that can pretty much go with anything, brush chicken with oil before grilling and a mixture of smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper, to taste. Serve with sides of your choice. 

Grilled beef kabobs with avocado-tzatziki sauce

  1. In a bowl, combine spices:
    • ¼ tsp garlic powder
    • ½ tsp dried oregano
    • ½ tsp ground cumin
    • ½ tsp onion powder
    • ½ tsp rosemary
    • ¼ tsp salt
    • a pinch of black pepper
  2. Add 1 lb. ground beef to the bowl and mix well with spices.
  3. Shape ground beef into kabobs, skewer, and grill until kabobs reach recommended temperature.
  4. To make a sauce, in a food processor, combine and blend:
    • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt or sour cream
    • ½ peeled and diced cucumber
    • ½ avocado
    • fresh mint
    • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
    • a pinch of salt
  5. Drizzle sauce over cooked kabobs or use it for dipping.

Grilled beef and curry

  1. Season a flank or sirloin steak with salt and black pepper. Preheat a grill on medium heat.
  2. Grill meat for about 10 minutes on each side or until the steak reaches recommended temperature, then let rest for another 10 minutes. Top with tented tinfoil.
  3. To prepare the curry, stir ingredients together in a saucepan over low heat until sugar dissolves:
    • 1.5 cups coconut milk
    • 1 tsp green curry paste
    • 1 tbsp fish sauce
    • 2 tbsp sugar
  4. Slice the cooked steak and top with curry.
  5. Serve with white rice and grilled veggies, if desired. 

Grilled Old Bay shrimp 

One tip for grilling shrimp? Grill with the shell on to help lock in moisture and flavor. Marinate shrimp in 1 tbsp oil with Old Bay seasoning, salt, and minced garlic. Grill for 1–2 minutes per side. 

Hibachi shrimp

  1. Combine ¼ cup mirin with 1 tsp of sesame oil, 1 tsp ginger paste or fresh finger, and 1 tsp soy sauce.
  2. Marinate shrimp for about 10 minutes, then grill for 1–2 minutes on each side.
  3. Serve with rice and vegetables, if desired. 

Vegetarian grill recipes 

These vegetarian grill recipes are sure to hit the spot and help you hit your veggie count for the day, too.

Vegetable fajitas

  1. Slice up colored peppers, red onions, and any other vegetables you might like, such as mushrooms or zucchini.
  2. Sprinkle vegetables with salt, pepper, paprika, chili, cumin, and cilantro, to taste.
  3. Drizzle vegetables with avocado oil, then grill for 3–5 minutes.
  4. Serve with warmed tortillas and toppings of your choice. 

Plant-based burger

Pick up your favorite plant-based burger and toss it on the grill. It might be helpful to line the grill with foil or use a grill-safe dish directly on the grill. Plant-based burgers may lose their shape a little more than beef burgers, which will help keep the mess to a minimum.  

Grilled peaches with cinnamon sugar

The grill is not just for dinner. You can also fire it up for some delicious desserts. Try this next time you’ve gone peach picking — or to a grocery store that sells peaches — and have some fruit on hand:

  1. In a bowl, combine room temperature butter with sugar and cinnamon.
  2. Brush halved peaches with olive oil, then place directly on a hot grill, cut-side down.
  3. Grill for a few minutes.
  4. Serve topped with prepared butter and a mint leaf, if desired. Ice cream is always a good choice, too!

Grilled pineapple

For a sweet treat, top pineapple slices with a mixture of melted butter, cinnamon, and sugar. Grill for about 7 minutes, turning regularly to cook each side. You can also experiment with smoky or spicy flavors by topping with chili powder or cumin instead. 

Grilled Bruschetta

Summer means gardens bursting with fresh tomatoes, so take advantage by firing up the grill for this bright recipe:

  1. Slice a baguette, then brush each slice with olive oil.
  2. Grill face down until golden brown.
  3. Top with chopped tomatoes, crumbed feta cheese, and chopped basil.
  4. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar to serve. 

Grilled eggplant

  1. Slice eggplant lengthwise then brush with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Grill cut-side down for about 5 minutes.
  3. Serve eggplants on their own or in a sandwich with goat cheese, sliced tomatoes, and basil. 

Vegan grill recipes 

If you are enjoying a vegan diet, here are some recipes to try. 

Grilled corn on the cob

Summertime means an abundance of fresh, sweet corn. If you live close to a farm that can supply you with a few ears — or have a grocery store that sells them — you have to try grilled corn on the cob:

  1. Prepare the corn by removing the outer layer of the husk, then soak the cobs in a bucket of cold water until you are ready to grill them.
  2. Place the whole corn, still in the husk, right on the grill.
  3. Grill for 15–20 minutes.

BBQ tofu skewers

Spear tofu onto skewers, then baste with your favorite BBQ sauce (or try your hand at making your own). Grill for 2–3 minutes on each side, then turn and baste again with more sauce before finishing grilling. 

Grilled tofu with soy sauce

  1. Prepare tofu for the grill by pressing it and cutting it into slabs.
  2. Then, baste it with a mixture of:
    • ⅓ cup soy sauce
    • garlic powder
    • salt
    • black pepper
    • ⅓ cup brown sugar
    • ⅓ cup vegetable oil
  3. Grill for 2–3 minutes or until charred, then top with more marinade before serving. 

Grilled cauliflower steaks

  1. Cut cauliflower heads into generous portions. Brush on a mixture of olive oil, lemon zest, agave, fresh parsley, garlic, and red pepper flakes.
  2. Sprinkle with salt, then grill salt-side down.
  3. Flip after 5 minutes and grill for an additional 5 minutes or until the cauliflower appears charred. 

Portobello mushroom steaks

  1. Remove stems from 2 portobello mushrooms and brush with a mixture of:
    • 3 tbsp oil
    • 1 tsp soy or tamari sauce
    • 1 tsp garlic powder
    • 1 tsp onion powder
    • salt
    • black pepper
  2. Grill for 4–5 minutes.
  3. You can pour more marinade over the mushrooms while grilling for additional flavor. 

Grilled flatbread with arugula

Brush a prepared flatbread with olive oil, then top with your favorite toppings. Consider topping with vegan cheese, tomatoes, mushrooms, red onions, or olives. Grill for about 10–12 minutes, then sprinkle with fresh arugula before serving. 

Summary 

Grilling, in moderation, can be a fun and delicious way to incorporate new recipes and foods into your diet. You can grill anything from vegetables to meat to fruit and enjoy fresh flavors all season long. Grilling foods may provide some health benefits, such as reducing fat and improving flavor without added calories.

These 18 recipes will help inspire you to bust out the barbeque for a summer full of gathering and feasting together.  

Was this helpful?
113
Medical Reviewer: Katherine Marengo LDN, R.D.
Last Review Date: 2022 Sep 2
View All Food, Nutrition and Diet Articles
THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.