Grilled Italian Polenta with Fresh Tomatoes

Memorial Day was created by General John Logan  in the U.S. in 1868 as a way to honor and remember those who have died serving our nation. Because it creates a three-day weekend as the weather is heating up and schools are winding down, it has also come to signal the unofficial beginning of summer.  In my neighborhood, it truly feels that way because our community pool, just down the street from our house, opens its gates this weekend and the screams of joy and shock from the kids as their skinny bodies hit the cold water, can be heard for blocks.

Andrew and I do a lot more entertaining in the summer because we can invite friends to the pool, where not only can the kids have a blast swimming and playing volleyball and basketball, but we adults can hang out and eat at the covered picnic tables, complete with gas grills.  I find this to be the ultimate in low-maintenance entertaining.

The flavor of many vegetables, including broccoli, corn, zucchini, asparagus, and eggplant, is enhanced by grilling them, as they take on a smoky flavor from the grill. I generally brush or toss the vegetables with a little olive oil and kosher salt before putting them on a hot grill. You can also brush them with almost any dressing or marinade before grilling them, or drizzle them with your favorite sauce after removing them from the grill.

In addition to grilled vegetables and salads, vegetarians usually want something more filling, like grilled tofu, portobello mushrooms, or even sliced polenta. Years ago, my friend Nachama Wilker introduced me to this grilled polenta, and I’ve served it at many summer barbecues.

Below are a couple of other fantastic options for vegetarian barbecues:

What is your favorite vegetable or meatless item to prepare on the grill?

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