Denver's Leading Local News: Weather, Traffic, Sports and more | Denver, Colorado | 9NEWS.com

Great Time to Fire Up the Grill

Denver, CO — Optimum Wellness Presented by King Soopers

Author- Dr. James Rouse

One of the things we love most about summer is spending time outdoors. And when it comes to mealtime, the same holds true. Let’s face it—Who really wants to turn on the oven when the outdoor thermometer surpasses 80 degrees? Beat the heat with a gas grill or barbeque and allow creativity to take over. Don’t limit yourself to grilled chicken and burgers. Create a rainbow of color on the grill with bell peppers, summer squash, and eggplant. Go wild grilling stone fruits like nectarines, plums, and peaches.

If you’re worried by reports that grilling may cause cancer, let’s set the record straight: Smart techniques can virtually eliminate the risk found in charred meats. When grilled, the protein in meat, poultry, and fish reacts with high heat to create potential carcinogens, called heterocyclic amines, or HCAs. Cooking your meat until well-done or more increases the risk (Food and Chemical Toxicology, 1998, vol. 36, no. 4). You can reduce HCAs by cooking at a lower heat and flipping meat often, avoiding any blackening. Adding antioxidant-rich fruit juices and marinades to meats can also help reduce HCAs. And for those emphasizing meatless options, there’s no evidence that grilled fruits and vegetables pose any cancer risk.

The best part is you can truly enjoy grilling year round. All you need are fresh, fun ingredients, a stainless-steel spatula or tongs, and your trusty grill.

Mediterranean Chopped Veggie Salad

Serves 4

2 red peppers

2 yellow bell pepper

1 medium sized zucchini, sliced lengthwise

1/2 eggplant, sliced lengthwise

1 small red onion

2 large Portobello mushroom caps

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1/4 cup pitted black olives, chopped

1/2 cup marinated artichoke hearts, chopped

2 tablespoons crumbled goat cheese (chevre) or feta

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

salt and pepper

Begin by thoroughly washing all the vegetables, removing seeds and stems from the peppers, and drying them so that there isn't a lot of water left on the surface. To roast the vegetables slice the peppers into quarters and slice the zucchini length-wise into about 4 or 5 long slices, same with the eggplant. Cut the onion into quarters. Lightly coat the veggies with olive oil either tossing them or use a pastry brush to lightly coat them. Lightly season with salt and pepper.

After grilling all of the vegetables, wait for them to cool. Chop them into small, bite-sized pieces, adding them all to a large mixing bowl. After all the veggies are cooled and chopped, add the goat (or feta) cheese, olives, and artichoke hearts and toss until well combined. Drizzle about a tablespoon of olive oil and red wine vinegar (or balsamic) over the salad and toss it together. Taste it before deciding whether or not to add more salt. It usually doesn't need it because the cheese adds quite a bit of flavor, as do the olives.

Serving size is about one cup.