Ekahi Ornish Lifestyle Medicine
Photo: Grilled Veggie Skewers

Adapted from Carra Richling’s original article

Grilling is a great way to cook delicious, heart-healthy food without added fat, and without losing an ounce of flavor. Grilling brings out and intensifies the flavor of tofu, tempeh, veggie burgers, vegetables – and even fruit – by offering a smoky and robust flavor, along with a hearty texture from the grill.

Imagine yourself grilling on a warm summer night, knowing everything on the grill is packed with heart-healthy benefits. If you haven’t already, it is time to transform your grilling from high fat hamburgers and steaks, to perhaps a veggie burger piled high with onions and red peppers. Add a side of corn on the cob, or some grilled mushrooms, or pineapple. Healthy barbecuing is about an abundance of heart-healthy foods soaking in the wealth of barbecued flavors.

Here are a few tips to get you started on the grill:

Grilled Vegetables

Vegetables do not need added oil, just flip often to prevent sticking to the grill or add a drizzle of balsamic vinegar.

  • Corn: Soak in water and leave on husks
  • Grill Time: 45 minutes
  • Grilled Flavor Boost: Sprinkle with smoked paprika


Cut crosswise in ½-inch slices

  • Grill Time: 12 minutes
  • Grilled Flavor Boost: Drizzle with balsamic glaze or use grilled eggplant.


Take off stem and trim

  • Grill Time: Depends on the size, 10-30 minutes (for portobello, 15 minutes on each side)
  • Grilled Flavor Boost: Drizzle with balsamic vinegar mixed with minced or roasted garlic


Thread cherry tomatoes on a skewer or slice a juicy garden tomato

  • Grill Time: 5-7 minutes
  • Onion: Cut into ½-inch slices, secure with toothpicks
  • Grill Time: 10-15 minutes
  • Grilled Flavor Boost: Balsamic glaze or toss first in lime juice and salt or add spices

Summer Squash

Cut lengthwise into ¼-inch slices

  • Grill Time: 5 minutes per side
  • Grilled Flavor Boost: Add balsamic glaze
  • Peppers (Bell or Hot): Cut lengthwise or into quarters
  • Grill Time: 10 minute or longer to blacken, bringing out a rich smoky flavor to recipes
  • Grilled Flavor Boost: Add balsamic glaze

Breadfruit (Ulu) or Potatoes (Baby Red, Okinawan Sweet or Yams)

Cut in half; wrap in foil and seal edges

  • Grill Time: 30 minutes
  • Grilled Flavor Boost: Toss with fresh herbs such as chives

Grilled Fruit

Grilled fruit is a simple, refreshing, and delicious summer treat. Grilling caramelizes the sugars and intensifies the sweetness and flavor. Add a honey glaze with some freshly squeezed juice (orange, lemon, or lime) with a dash of spice such as freshly ground pepper or cayenne for extra zest. Typically, you can grill most fruits about 8-10 minutes until golden. Balsamic glaze (1/2 cup of balsamic vinegar sweetened with juice, brown sugar, or stevia) is a wonderful compliment to the caramelized grilled fruit.

‘Ekahi Health, a member of the ‘ike family of companies (www.ikehawaii.com), is an innovative healthcare delivery organization that provides comprehensive community-based care focusing on primary care and prevention and wellness. It was the first organization to offer the Ornish program to the people of Hawaii.

For more information about ‘Ekahi Ornish Lifestyle Medicine, visit www.ekahiornish.com and follow them on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.