Tag Archives: grilling

Balsamic Grilled Vegetables with Couscous

14 Jul

You know it’s a heat wave when the temperature is in the high 80s and it’s a “cool” day. Yuck!  When it’s this hot outside, the last thing I want to do is turn on the oven or stove. It’s the perfect time to grill! Grilling can take only a few minutes and doesn’t heat up the whole house. Plus, then I can get my husband to do most of the work 🙂

Today I’m sharing a recipe for my new favorite grilled dish. Adapted from a recipe by the grilling guru, Bobby Flay, it’s summer vegetables; marinated in a a delicious combination of balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard, EVOO, and garlic, grilled; and tossed with couscous and fresh herbs. Super easy and so tasty!

I love the adaptability of this recipe. The original recipe calls for toasted Israeli couscous, which is delicious, but after running out of that rather expensive ingredient, I’ve been using regular whole wheat couscous and it works just as well. You can also use whatever vegetables you have on hand. I love grilled asparagus in it, but after it jumped in price, I was OK with leaving it out. Last night when I made this recipe again, I discovered that my cherry tomatoes had gone bad. I was dismayed because they add a lot of brightness to the dish. But I had some extra carrots on hand, so I threw them in, and they gave the dish a really nice sweetness. So really no matter what substitutions you need to make, you can’t go wrong. Grilled veggies are just that good 🙂

It’s delicious served warm, or at room temperature. Feel free to serve as a side salad, or like I do, as a main dish with some yummy grilled bread.

Balsamic Grilled Vegetables with Couscous

(adapted from recipe by Bobby Flay)


  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 clove garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 green zucchini, quartered lengthwise
  • 1 yellow squash, quartered lengthwise
  • 4 carrots, quartered lengthwise
  • 1 red bell pepper, quartered and seeded
  • Handful of fresh basil, chopped
  • 4 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/2 lb couscous


  • In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, mustard and garlic. Slowly add the olive oil and whisk until combined. Season with salt and pepper. Pour 1/2 the marinade over the vegetables and let sit at room temperature for 15 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, preheat the grill to medium heat. Prepare the couscous as directed on package.
  • Remove the vegetables from the marinade and grill the vegetables until just cooked through, about 3-4 minutes per side (depending on the size of the veggies).
  • Cut the grilled vegetables into 1/2 inch pieces. Add them to the prepared couscous and herbs and toss with the remaining vinaigrette. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.

Makes 4 main dish servings.


Grilled Panzanella Salad & Becoming BFFs with a Top Chef

4 Jul

Wow, it has been almost a month since I’ve posted. I’ve been doing a lot of travel in the past month, including a trip home to New York state (not the exciting part) for my sister’s high school graduation, and going to Columbus for a friend’s wedding. In between all of the travel, I’ve been super busy with my summer class, and my husband has been doing the grocery shopping, and we’ve slipped into a routine of eating a variation of the same seven meals each week. So boring! Well yesterday I finally did the grocery shopping myself and picked up some ingredients for a new recipe I’ve been meaning to try, Grilled Panzanella Salad. Minus the meat, of course (vegetarian alert).

But before I get to this delicious recipe, allow me to update you.

Let’s start with New York. My baby sister graduated from high school which was rather emotional for me, but I am so proud of her! She is a little genius. Think I can take credit for her brilliance because I always used to “play school” with her and teach her all of the material I was learning in school, even though I’m seven years older?? I like to think so 🙂

My mom and I spent nearly an entire day on cupcakes for my sister’s graduation party the following day. After baking and decorating 100 cupcakes, my delusions of someday opening a cupcake bakery have vanished. It was hard work! But the result was impressive, if I do say so myself.

Ghiradelli squares on top of Reese's peanut butter cups for caps, and pirouette cookies for diplomas

To add to the excitement of graduation day, one of my favorite celebrity chefs, Angelo Sosa from Top Chef D.C. and Top Chef All Stars, was in attendance!! Remember, I am not from the exciting part of New York, and my tiny hometown of approximately 6,000 is not used to anyone important being in our midst. But Angelo’s nephew was graduating with my sister, and I could not pass up the opportunity to meet one of my idols. So after the graduation, we had a wonderful conversation about Top Chef, food, my dad’s restaurant, and my life in Indiana! Hooray! Hopefully this means we are now BFFs.

Me and Angelo Sosa!! By the way, he is the most beautiful man I have ever seen in person. The pictures really don't do him justice.

But now I am back to my dull and school-filled life in Indiana. All the more reason to grill up something special for the holiday weekend.

As my luck would have it, about two minutes after I started grilling some lovely vegetables for the Grilled Panzanella Salad, my propane ran out 😦 But you know my motto, when life gives you lack of propane, make Grilled Panzanella Salad with a panini press. Or something like that. Using the panini press was less time-efficient, but the end result was a close enough approximation to what I could get on the grill.

The salad is lovely. Perhaps it’s not truly a panzanella salad because I omitted the salami, but I don’t think anyone would miss it. You get a delicious charred flavor on the vegetables, with soft cubes of grilled ciabatta bread to soak up all the lemon vinagrette. Top it with some fresh herbs, and you’ve got a bright, flavorful dish that would be a welcome addition to any cookout.

I hope everyone is enjoying the holiday weekend! Happy birthday, USA!

Vegetarian Grilled Panzanella Salad (adapted from recipe by Food Network Magazine)


  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing and drizzling
  • 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice (from about half of a medium lemon)
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 3 medium tomatoes, halved
  • 6 scallions
  • 2 large bell peppers (any color), quartered
  • 1 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise
  • 1 10-ounce loaf ciabatta or semolina bread, halved lengthwise
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • Dried (or fresh) basil, to taste (I used approximately 1 tbsp dried)
  • Freshly grated parmesan


  • Preheat a grill to medium high. Make the dressing: Whisk the olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste in a bowl.
  • Brush the grill with olive oil. Put the tomatoes in a large bowl; drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill cut-side down until slightly charred, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a baking sheet.
  • Put the scallions, peppers and zucchini in the same bowl; drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Brush the bread with olive oil.
  • Grill the bread and vegetables until charred, about 2 minutes per side for the bread and scallions and 4 minutes per side for the peppers and zucchini. Transfer to the baking sheet and let cool slightly.
  • Cut the scallions, peppers, zucchini, tomatoes and bread into bite-size pieces; transfer to the bowl. Add the herbs,  dressing and any juices from the baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper and toss.
  • Top with parmesan cheese.

Makes 3-4 servings.

[School’s NOT Out for Summer, But I at Least I Can Have Some] Grilled Sweet Potatoes with Scallions

23 May

It’s finally starting to feel like summer here in Indiana! And you know what summer means… school is out of session and leisure time abounds with lots of lazy days by the pool.  Sigh, I wish! My summer is characterized by summer classes 5 days per week, my part-time research job requiring more work than usual, and studying for and taking a grueling six-hour preliminary exam to prove I am deserving of doctoral candidacy. /end complaining

But summer won’t be all bad. I have a few weekend trips planned, and I get to enjoy eating on the patio that my husband and I installed last year. To me, summer means grilling, which is not only delicious, but also gives me a satisfying sense that I am defying traditional gender roles. Any other ladies out there feel that sense of accomplishment from grilling, or is it just me? 🙂

Anyway, today’s recipe is for Grilled Sweet Potatoes with Scallions. It’s super easy. You just throw sweet potatoes, scallions, and garlic in a foil packet along with some salt and pepper, and plop it on the grill. Grilling the sweet potatoes really brings out their sweetness, which is balanced by the garlic and onion flavor. It’s the perfect summer side dish!

Grilled Sweet Potatoes with Scallions (recipe by Food Network Magazine)


  • 1 1/2 lbs. sweet potatoes, chopped
  • 1 bunch scallions, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 6 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme (Note: I used dried thyme, to taste)
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


  • Combine sweet potatoes, scallions, garlic, and thyme in a bowl. Drizzle with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper.
  • Place mixture on a sheet of foil and fold to close.
  • Grill over low heat until the potatoes are tender, 20-25 minutes.

Makes 3-4 side dish servings.