You can use any vegetables in this recipe, they will all taste great. When you are making a vegetable dish like this one, think of "eating the rainbow". Vegetables with different colours have different ingredients and health benefits. Read on to find out the benefits of the rainbow!
3 red bell peppers, seeded and halved
3 yellow squash (about 1 pound total)
3 zucchini (about 12 ounces total)
3 Japanese eggplant (12 ounces total)
1 bunch (1-pound) asparagus, trimmed
2 red onions
1/4 cup coconut oil
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
1 teaspoon chopped fresh basil leaves
1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
Prepare the BBQ (medium-high heat) and brush the vegetables with 1/4 cup of the oil to coat lightly. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Working in batches, grill the vegetables until they are tender:
-8 to 10 mins: bell pepper and red onions
- 7 mins: yellow squash, zucchini, eggplant and mushrooms
- 4 mins: asparagus and tomatoes
Mix the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, parsley, basil and rosemary in a small bowl to blend. Add the salt and pepper to taste.
Drizzle the herb mixture over the vegetables. Serve the vegetables warm, or at room temperature.
Behind the color: The blue/purple hues in foods are due primarily to their anthocyanin content, the darker the colour the higher the concentration of phytochemicals. Anthocyanins are antioxidants that are particularly heart healthy and may help support healthy blood pressure and brain function.
Examples: Eggplant (especially the skin), blueberries, blackberries, prunes, plums, pomegranates
Behind the color: The natural plant pigment chlorophyll colors green fruits and vegetables. In our system, the green foods represented those foods rich in isothiocyanates, which induce enzymes in the liver that assist the body in removing potentially carcinogenic compounds. Green vegetables are high in Vitamin K and potassium - important for lowering blood pressure and preventing clot formation. Leafy greens are also a great choice for pregnant women because they are high in folic acid, which has been proven to prevent neural tube defects in newborns. Examples: Broccoli, cabbage, bok choy, Brussels sprouts
Behind the color: These foods are high in lutein. Lutein is particularly beneficial for eye health, and helps protect against age-related macular degeneration. Orange foods are rich in Beta-Carotene which is beneficial for vision and boosting your immune system. Yellow vegetables are also high in Vitamin C, important for boosting your immune system and preventing colds and flus!
Examples: Avocado, Examples: Carrots, mangos, cantaloupe, winter squash, sweet potatoes, pumpkins, apricots
Behind the color: Lycopene is the predominant pigment in reddish fruits and veggies. Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant that has been associated with a reduced risk of some cancers, especially prostate cancer, and protection against heart attacks. Look for tomato-based products for the most concentrated source of this phytochemical. Cooking actually enhances the activity of lycopene, so feel free to make your tomato sauce from scratch
In addition to vitamin C and folate, red fruits and vegetables are also sources of flavonoids, which reduce inflammation and have antioxidant properties. Cranberries, another red fruit (whose color is due to anthocyanins, not lycopene), are also a good source of tannins, which prevent bacteria from attaching to cells and can prevent urinary tract infections.
Examples: Tomatoes and tomato products, watermelon, pink grapefruit, guava, cranberries
There are still benefits in fruits and vegetables that don't have any colour. The largest class of phytochemicals are the flavonoids which are often colourless. These are powerful anti-oxidants that help the body to counter free radicals, thereby preventing damage to cells and tissues.
Examples: garlic, cauliflower, ginger, parsnips, white peaches/nectarines