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Happy Heart's Recipes

Fire Up the Grill for Heart-Healthy Meals All Summer Long!

By Liz Moore, RD, LDN

Cooking on the grill is a favorite summer pasttime for many. While most of us enjoy meat, poultry and fish on the grill, there's no need to stop there! The truth is that the grill can be a wonderful partner in creating delicious, heart-healthy meals, from appetizers to desserts. If you've never tried grilled veggies and fruits, you're in for a treat.

Vegetables should be grilled over medium heat and can be pre-seasoned with a little olive oil and herbs or spices. Fruits need an indirect, low heat. Grill them when the coals have begun to burn down or place fruit on the outer edges of the grate. To season fruit, brush with canola oil and sprinkle to taste with cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg or lemon juice.

You can skewer smaller pieces of produce or place them in a grill basket or tray. Fruits can also be cut in half and grilled with the skin on to help hold their shape during grilling.

When grilling meat, avoid charring, which can raise the level of potential carcinogens. Remove visible fats to reduce the risk of charring, and trim any badly charred pieces before you serve.

Marinating and cooking to the appropriate temperature, with the help of a meat thermometer, is another way to ensure grilling is a healthy endeavor. Be careful to avoid cross-contamination when grilling by separating utensils, cutting boards and plates you use for raw versus cooked foods.

With minimal ingredients and equipment, you can use the grill to add a whole new dimension to some of your favorite foods. Fruits and veggies can put the thrill back in the grill!

Roasted Vegetable Bruschetta

Serves 12


2 eggplants, sliced lengthwise, about 1/2 inch thick
2 red onions, quartered
2 zucchini, sliced lengthwise about 1/2 inch thick
2 red bell peppers, cut in half
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp fresh rosemary
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 loaf of whole grain baguette (to provide about 12 slices, about 3/4 inch thick)


Begin by grilling the bread: Preheat the grill to medium heat. Slice into 3/4-inch slices and use 1 tbsp of olive oil to brush one side of each slice. Place on the grill with the brushed side face down and grill for about a minute or two, or until slightly brown. Flip and grill the other side. Remove from heat and set aside.

To roast vegetables, brush with olive oil and grill until tender, on average 5 minutes. Grill marks will likely appear. Once grilled, remove vegetables from heat, chop into small pieces and mix together with remaining 2 tbsp of olive oil, pepper and rosemary. Place on each slice of bread and serve.

Nutrition Facts: Total Caloriesper serving: 170; Total Fat: 6g, Saturated fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 0mg, Sodium: 150mg, Total Carbohydrate: 22g, Dietary Fiber: 7g, Sugar: 5g, Protein: 5g

Ginger and Lemon Salmon Skewers

Serves 8


1.5 lbs salmon without skin
2 tsp olive oil
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp honey
2 tsp fresh ginger root, minced


Cut salmon into about two-inch chunks and thread on skewers. Mix olive oil, lemon juice, honey and ginger in a bowl. Place salmon skewers in a dish and pour mixture over. Let marinate up to 1 hour. Preheat grill to medium-high heat and place skewers on it. Grill for about 5 minutes on each side.

Nutrition Facts: Total Calories per serving: 125, Total Fat: 5g, Saturated fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 70mg, Sodium: 250mg, Total Carbohydrate: 1g, Dietary Fiber: 0g, Sugar: 1g, Protein: 20g

Glazed and Grilled Peaches

Serves 4


4 peaches, cut in half without pits
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp canola oil


Brush cut sides of the peaches with canola oil. Cook over medium heat on cut side for about 4 to 5 minutes or until grill marks appear. Turn peaches over, sprinkle cut side with brown sugar and reduce heat (or move to indirect heat) for additional 10 minutes. Serve with vanilla yogurt for a healthy treat or vanilla ice cream for a decadent dessert!

Nutrition Facts: Total Calories per serving: 110, Total Fat: 3.5g, Saturated fat: 0g, Cholesterol: 0mg, Sodium: 10mg, Total Carbohydrate: 20g, Dietary Fiber: 2.5g, Sugar: 18g, Protein: 1g

Liz Moore, the CVI's nutritionist, helps patients develop heart-healthy eating habits. Have a question? E-mail Liz directly at

Above content provided by the CardioVascular Institute at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. For advice about your medical care, consult your doctor.

Posted June 2012

Contact Information

CardioVascular Institute at
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
330 Brookline Avenue
Boston, MA 02215