Limiting barbecues to a measly three months a year is a real shame. Who doesn’t want corn on the cob, ribs, and s’mores year round? Here's a way you can have your burger and eat it too: the genius grill pan. Not only does it make cleanup a breeze, but grilling can also be one of the healthiest ways to prepare meals.
So if you’re craving a cookout and your barbecue pit is buried in snow (or you just live in a tiny apartment), check out these 25 recipes for classic and unconventional dishes that can be made on a grill pan with equally satisfying results.
Pork is one of the best sources of easy-to-absorb iron. Dust a lean cut of tenderloin with a few simple herbs and spices, then throw it on the grill pan to give your hemoglobin a boost.
Sure, chicken thighs may be a slightly higher-fat option than other cuts, but dark meat also makes for a sumptuous, totally worth-it end result. These get doused in a slightly sweet, slightly spicy sauce that's brightened up by calcium- and vitamin C-rich lime juice.
If the cholesterol in shrimp makes you nervous, there's growing evidence that its effect on your bloodstream is harmless in moderation. So go ahead: Skewer up a few for tostadas with all the fixin's.
Skip the fryer and use the grill pan to jazz up plain ole chicken breasts without a heart-clogging vatful of oil. Lightly dust them with herbs and Parmesan, then grill until crispy, coat with tomato sauce, and top with melty cheese. The protein may be lean, but there’s nothing skimpy about the flavors here.
While “glaze” traditionally equates to at least half a cup of added sugar, this recipe takes a smarter approach to sweetness, using only 4 tablespoons of maple syrup to contrast the slightly spicy rub on the pork. What makes it even sweeter? It’s ready in less than 30 minutes.
While naan proves a great substitute for the crust, it’s the toppings that are the real stars of the recipe. Chargrilled peppers, squash, zucchini, corn, asparagus, and tomatoes not only look gorgeous but are also packed with fiber and vitamins.
No panini maker? No problem! Grill antioxidant-packed zucchini and bell peppers on an indoor pan, place them between two slices of crusty baguette, add a few slices of mozzarella, and put the sandwiches back on the grill pan, using a heavy skillet as a weight to help get that signature pressed look.
Studies show that grilled eggplant contains more cancer-fighting nasunin than the raw stuff—all the more reason to give the veggie the starring role in these rollatini. Cardioprotective properties of raw and cooked eggplant (Solanum melongena L). Das S, Raychaudhuri U, Falchi M. Food & function, 2011, Jun.;2(7):2042-650X. Subbing in for noodles, they get grilled to soft perfection, then rolled with calcium-rich ricotta for a lower-carb answer to lasagna. Buon appetito!
Who needs a pizza oven when you have an indoor grill? Throw store-bought dough (extra points for convenience!) on the pan until those all-important char marks show up. Top the flatbread with goat cheese, a more easily digestible alternative to cow’s milk. Its mild taste pairs well with the stronger flavors of caramelized onions, mushrooms, and reduced balsamic.
Savory, sweet, nutty, herby? This sandwich will keep you guessing with each bite. Each flavor has its own unique health benefits too, whether it’s the satiating fat from the peanut butter, potassium from the peaches, or digestion-aiding properties in the basil. Variation in minerals, phenolics and antioxidant activity of peel and pulp of different varieties of peach (Prunus persica L.) fruit from Pakistan. Manzoor M, Anwar F, Mahmood Z. Molecules (Basel, Switzerland), 2012, May.;17(6):1420-3049. The combo is unusual to say the least—but a delicious departure from your run-of-the-mill PB&J or grilled cheese.
Burgers. Wine. Cheese. 'Nuff said right there. But allow us to gush just a bit more, because when vitamin D-filled, bone-enriching portabellas are liberally brushed with a cab sav reduction (hey, a little wine is actually good for your heart!) and topped with sharp cheddar, there is no way you can go wrong.
Sides and Salads
You may assume that tandoori-anything requires a huge clay oven, but this recipe proves that cooking with Indian flavors is easier than you think. These gluten-free skewers require just a few spices that are readily available at your grocery store; yogurt and chickpea flour helps cut the heat (plus adds protein and calcium).
Avocado and black beans give this quick grilled seafood salad a Southwestern flair (and so much fiber!), while tortilla chips add the crunch factor. Though using just 3 tablespoons of ranch helps keep things on the lighter side, you can also try making your own additive-free version of the creamy dressing.
Bok choy may not be a green you use often, but it should be. It's full of calcium—and its cruciferous properties may even help fight breast cancer. Rather bland on its own, bok choy needs just a few minutes on the grill and a super-simple soy dressing to help it come alive—an edible example of “simplicity at its finest.”
Yup, grilled romaine is a thing—and for good reason: Lightly charring the leaves gives them a surprisingly addictive, smoky flavor. Walnuts, parmesan, and a light vinaigrette provide just enough fat to help you absorb romaine’s abundance of vitamin A.
Bring out the natural sugars in bananas by grilling them until they char to gooey perfection, then layer on a tart, protein-rich peanut butter and Greek yogurt mixture. Fruit, yogurt, and nut butter? It wouldn't be a stretch to have this banana split for breakfast.
A deconstructed version of chocolate-covered fruit, these skewers are a no-brainer dessert. Assemble your favorites, from berries and chopped banana to pineapples and melons, then grill them to your liking before Jackson Pollock-ing them with melted white chocolate. Eating the rainbow was never so much fun!
In this take on the classic cheese and fruit platter, seared mango chunks are spooned onto lightly grilled baguette slices smeared with goat cheese. Chopped basil on top lends a fresh flavor contrast, while adding a small but welcome dose of antioxidants.
Store-bought mini tart shells are filled with a lower-fat, citrusy yogurt base (go with Greek for maximum texture and protein benefits!) rather than custard or cream. Topped with grilled, carotene-rich nectarine slices, they’re almost too cute to eat.
Grill = cookout = s’mores. Are we right, or are we right? This version is extra-special because a) the indoor grill method means you can enjoy it any time of year and b) the addition of banana adds protein-building potassium—not to mention even more gooey goodness. In fact, if you’re willing to really eschew convention (and added sugar), we’d recommend skipping the marshmallow altogether and just letting the banana take the spotlight.