The Daily Beet

24 Jun Get Your Grill On

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With summer here, you might think I am talking about your big, outdoor grill. But, let’s face it, everyone talks about the heat and humidity, then why, oh, why, would anyone want to grill outdoors in 95 degree heat, without the heat-index?

I prefer to stay in my air-conditioned home and grill away…on my waffle iron. Yes, my waffle iron. Not sure how I started using my waffle iron for grilling, but without a Panini grill or electric fry pan, my waffle iron was staring me in the face one day, and now, it’s my preferred way to grill indoors.

With a summer’s bounty from Portobello mushrooms, thin slices of zucchini, and even lettuce, the grilling possibilities are endless.
People have been using waffle irons for more than 100 years, when General Electric created a patent in 1911 for an electric waffle iron. Of course, we all know the story of Nike Co-founder, Bill Bowerman, who used his wife’s waffle iron to experiment with the idea of making a “waffle-ironed” rubber sole on a sneaker. The rest is history.

And for the record, I only cook food on my waffle iron. No sneaker waffling takes place on my waffle iron.

Veggie Grilling on the Waffle Iron
Using no-added oil, here’s a great way to create delicious grilled lettuce. Here’s my DIY:

For Lettuce:
~Small head of Romaine Lettuce
~Juice of one lemon

Slice the lettuce lengthwise, and cut off the bottom of the stem. Place the lettuce flat side down on a high and well heated waffle iron (I use a Teflon® grill). Pour the lemon juice all over the lettuce halves, and close the top of the waffle iron.

Because lettuce has a high water content, it will steam beautifully, and keep your cooking surface from drying out. The lettuce will be ready when you grill top is less hinged. You can check how the lettuce looks, too, you will have nice square, grill marks. Takes between 5-7 minutes to grill.

For Portobello:

~One large Portobello
~Juice of one lemon

I like to remove the gills from the underbelly of the mushroom. Place the mushroom, bottom side down on your waffle iron, generously pour lemon juice all over the mushroom Again, high heat works the best. You can tell when the mushroom is done as it will be flattened and filled with square grill marks.

I season any vegetables when they are done, as sometimes, some spices will stick to the grill and make it difficult to open, especially garlic powder.

Other Uses:
~Grilled Fruit is the best. I like pineapple wedges, watermelon, cherries, strawberries, the list is long. Bananas are awesome! Grilling brings out the sweetness of any fruit! Never a need for any added sugar, but your sweet tooth will be happy.

~Quesadilla maker. Who cares if your Tex-Mex dish has little squares in it? Guess what? Salsa will find a home in any square once you pour some over your finished product.

~Heated tortillas. Sprinkle some water on your tortilla (one at a time), then close the top using medium heat. They will be perfect for making wraps and burritos!
~Baked potato wedges. Thick slices actually work best. Use an already baked potato and cut into very thick slices. They will brown beautifully in your high-heat waffle iron.

My point is that your waffle iron can be your best friend in a hot kitchen, but you’ll stay cool creating fun, easy dishes. And, the clean up is a breeze.

How have you used your waffle iron for making dinner?

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Char Nolan for Engine 2
Char Nolan

Char Nolan is a blog contributor and Engine 2 Extra Coach. She's been plant-strong for almost five years. From Philadelphia, she works in the plant-based whole foods arena, and is also the "vegan features writer," for the "Town Dish." She's lost a great deal of weight from being plant-strong, practices yoga, and is always dabbling in her kitchen to create new, plant-strong recipes. Armed with a degree in public health, Char also holds a certificate in plant-based nutrition from e-Cornell.

  • Lisa
    Posted at 11:05h, 25 June

    WOW! Thanks for sharing! Plus – this will be a GREAT activity for my son and I — he loves to help!

  • Ginger C
    Posted at 18:26h, 25 June

    fun idea

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