Monday, March 19, 2012

Grilled Vegetables - Another Foundation Recipe

Mama said, "Eat your vegetables!"

(Click on the images to enlarge them.)

Grilled Veggies - Yellow Squash, Zucchini, Mushrooms
and Fennel
I hope by now you are coming to realize that I love foundation recipes – or mother recipes – as I like to call them. Foundation or mother recipes come in useful when learning to cook because they represent building blocks and short cuts to more complex recipes.

Grilled veggies are a foundation recipe because once you make them, the grilled goodies can morph and springboard into several different recipes as an ingredient rather than a “destination.” You can flavor them creatively which adapts their flavor to fit many different cuisines.

Grilled veggies make life easy because I can make the foundation recipe and eat them simply as grilled veg one day, then use them the next day to make something completely different. It adds complexity to recipes and makes the second recipe easier to make than trying to make all the steps of a multi-step recipe on the same day.

I’m a gonna illustrate iffin’ you allow!

Day 1 – Grilled Veggies
(These will get served with some kind of grilled meat like a grilled chicken breast or fish fillet or pork chop. Quick. Easy. Yum! 30 Minute Meal. Score!)

Individual Veggie Lasagna
Day 2 – Grilled Veggie Lasagna or Low Carb Pasta
(Layer veggies with ground meat, onion and herbs, and the cottage cheese mixture also used in the Squash and Tomato Bake from Day 3, mozzarella and parmesan cheeses and oh my gawd! It’s so awesome. You can even leave the meat out for a hearty vegetarian meal. I also love to simply toss veggies with some of the homemade Roasted Veggie Marinara or your favorite bottled pasta sauce along with your favorite low carb noodles or shirataki noodles and boom! Dinner is done!)

Day 3 – Layered Squash and Tomato Bake
(This is a quick vegetarian casserole that works as a side dish or as a main dish. It freezes beautifully and features only the yellow squash and fresh tomatoes layered with a cottage cheese, herb and egg mixture – like the kind our mama’s used to make to go in lasagna before they knew about ricotta cheese.)

Day 4 – Grilled Veggie Salad with Feta and Olives
(Cut the grilled vegetables up and combine them with fresh Spring Greens or Romaine along with olives, feta, blue or parmesan cheeses and fresh purple onion. Nom!!)

Day 5 – Quick Grilled Veggie Soup, Panini Sandwich, or Pizza
(Use your favorite low carb crust and use the grilled vegetables as an ingredient on your pizza, or drop them into a delicious quick soup of broth, a little pasta sauce and grilled veggies. Cut up a fresh tomato and heat until piping hot. Add a little parmesan cheese and presto change! You’re done! They also work great with a slice of melting cheese and a piece of Fluffy Chix Focaccia split horizontally into two pieces.)

Grilled Veggies are another versatile recipe. I can hear you now. But Susie, I don’t have a grill!! What do I do? Well, I use a grill cuz it’s convenient for me and I’m experienced with grilling. I love it cuz it’s quick, easy clean-up, no smells in the house…EASY with all caps. Yes I’m shouting! OK? Fall in love with your grill. It can become your greatest cooking tool. Even cheap little habachi table top grills allow you to make these yummy grilled veggies!

But, not everybody has a grill. Instead of cooking on a grill, you can do several things. If you have a grill pan, use the grill pan and cook inside. If you don’t have a grill pan but have something like a George Foreman grill, use that. If you don’t have a GFG or a grill pan, roast the veggies on racks placed over lined cookie sheets in the oven, like the racks you use for cooling cookies. The important thing is to cook the veggies quickly so the outside gets color before the insides get mushy. If none of these cooking methods work, you can always use a little olive oil and a very hot pan and pan sear or pan roast them.

When grilling veggies, I like to cook one type of veggie at a time and then when I get to the mushrooms and fennel, I will double them up and cook together since they take about the same amount of time.

I usually grill onions with this group as photographed. I did however, include an onion in the recipe below and in the nutritional counts. But, on the day I made these recipes I was using so much onion in other elements of the recipes, I didn’t grill any. But please, don’t grill veggies without at least cutting one onion into slices or wedges and grilling it! They are simply TLF (To Live For)!

Grilled veggies will keep up to 5 days in a cold refrigerator. They don’t freeze well though, so only make what you know will be eaten in the first few days. I will warn you, they taste so delicious as leftovers in their own right, that you may be hard pressed to use them as an ingredient in other dishes.

Grilled Yellow Squash and Tomato Bake
One of my favorite dishes made from grilled veggies is Layered Yellow Squash and Tomato Casserole. I’ll give you the recipe soon, but in the meantime, here is how it looked! It tasted even better.  Oh my!

Pare this dish with a side salad and it's a complete vegetarian meal. But, it goes great with fish or chicken and tastes awesome with pork chops.

Vegetable Lasagna tastes so comforting you never
miss the pasta noodles!
This is the delicious Vegetable Lasagna complete with meat and cottage cheese filling. It brings comfort to the forefront and you will never miss pasta noodles in the lasagna.

This dish alone used about 3/4 of the grilled veggies but serves 8 huge servings or 10 smaller servings. Serve it with a simple green salad and no one will grouse about the absence of pasta noodles in the lasagna.

Grilled Vegetables
Grilled Veggies ready to eat!
Serves 8
Serving Size – About 1 cup
Prep Time – 15 Minutes
Cooking Time – 45 Minutes

4 medium Yellow Squash
2 medium Zucchini Squash
1 large Purple Onion
6 large Mushrooms
1 Fennel Bulb
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 tsp Garlic Powder
1 tsp Black Pepper
1 tsp Kosher Salt
1 tsp Thyme Leaves, dried

Wash and dry vegetables

Slice yellow squash into 4 slices lengthwise. About ¼ inch thick.

Slice the zucchini squash into 4 slices lengthwise. About ¼ inch thick.

Slice fennel bulb lengthwise into 4-5 slices about ¼ inch thick.

Slice mushroom caps into 3 slices about ¼ inch thick.

Toss vegetables with olive oil and spices.

Grill each type of veggie separately.  Grill yellow squash 6-8 minutes, about 3-4 minutes per side with the lid down.

The yellow squash is done when it has bend.

Grill zucchini for 6-8 minutes, about 3-4 minutes per side with the lid down.

The zucchini is done when it is bendable.

Add mushrooms to the grill first.

Add fennel bulb slices with the mushrooms. Grill fennel and mushrooms about 6 minutes, 3 minutes per side with the lid down. It’s done when the mushrooms have a little bend and both the mushrooms and fennel have color on them.

Serve immediately. Pour extra olive oil over each serving if desired, but that’s optional!

Nutritional Information:

Nutritional Label – Full Serving

Nutritional Label – Single Serving

Susie T’s Notes:
Yeah, by now y’all are probably thinking I’m full of myself. Afterall, don’t all my recipes get 4 forks? And I haven’t seen too many folks come back and tell me they’ve made my recipes and think they are 4 forks. So I could just claim they all have 10 stars. Hey, maybe I will! J

But I love these grilled vegetables so much, I make them at least once or twice a month. They make awesome quick lunches either eaten as chilled as is or combined in a quick salad or soup with some type of protein.

During the weeknights, meals tend to be pretty boring – a simple protein, pan seared or grilled, a veg like grilled veggies or steamed veggies with butter or olive oil and a side salad of some kind. Anything to get food on the table within about 30 minutes and doesn’t tax my energy. Something those of you recovering from cancer treatment know can be tricky business and difficult to predict.

The fact that these grilled veggies store well in the fridge and can morph and get face lifts of all kinds make them an all-star mother recipe in my estimation. Hope you give them a try!


  1. That looks amazing! Love your blog. I have a question about the corn tostada recipe. I couldn't order the corn bran b/c they would not ship here so what can I replace for it? Also, do you think they could be fried?

    1. Hi IvO - Thanks so much for loving the blog!! Please spread the word about it to your friends?! :) The only sub I can think of for corn bran would be another high fiber, low caloric "flour" such as something like oat fiber. You could also try garbanzo/fava bean flour but you have to be careful with those because of their assertive taste.

      I've never tried frying the corn dough. I didn't think it was necessary because they get so crisp in the oven! Just like tostada shells! You can easily make baked chips by scoring the pre or par baked dough rounds, then putting them back in the oven to melba and crisp up. You can also try draping the raw or barely cooked dough rounds over the back of an upside down custard cup to make a little "cup" so to speak, for tacos. I think it will work I just never had time to test it out! Let me know if it works!!

      I do think they might work with more baking powder and some egg as an arapa (sp?). But I haven't tried them yet!

      Let me know how it goes if you try the recipe out!

  2. You really have a way with those photographs,
    makes me want to eat veggies.

    I grill Japanese eggplant, takes all the moisture out, then when I make my eggplant
    lasagne it is NOT watery. Love grilling
    and roasting veggies.

    1. Barbo! :hugs: Lady. Coming from you that is a real compliment!!!! Gosh one of my greatest sorrows is my eggplant allergy. I could seriously eat eggplant every day and grilled eggplants (especially the little Japanese ones) are TLF!!! So awesome!!! They make wonderful lasagne as well as other dishes like grilled ratatouille and grilled eggplant parmigiana! *drool*

      I do LOVE that grilling the veggies means they aren't watery any more. You still have a tiny bit of water from the squash (mostly the yellow squash) but it was very minimal and the veggie lasagna I did with the roasted marinara turned out beautifully!!!

      Hugs hon, I promise to be by to visit your awesome forum Barbo's Low Carb Kitchen. Lot's of savvy low carb and paleo cooks on the forum and DELICIOUS recipes!!!! Just google it y'all!

      I don't know how to put a link in here and I'm afraid if I list an address you will get all kinds of spam you don't want on your site!!!

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  5. Dang girls! I missed the fact that I could have replied to your post as a nested comment! My bad. I have to get to know this software here at Blogger! Doh!

  6. There! I nested them and deleted the old replies that were not nested! :) Now I only have to remember to do that next time!

  7. Sooooo creative!!! The pics are mouth watering:D I really like the look of the lasagna. I have never tried making a lasagna with layered veggies. I just use a very thin homemade hamburger patty.

    1. Hey hon! What a great idea for the hamburger patty! I will have to try that! I like using the grilled veggies because they don't get watery and make very defined layers. The grill flavor adds a really nice difference.

      I will be posting the recipe up soon!


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