Hallelujah! The sun has finally peaked out from behind the dark winter clouds and the chill in the air has started to ease. Now is the time to enjoy the sunshine and what better way to do that than a good old Aussie BBQ. Not only is eating outside a relaxing and less formal way to enjoy a meal with friends, but it can also be a healthy option too!
Here’s why we think you should embrace the barbie this season:
Get your iron with a side of vitamin D
There is no denying that red meat and seafood are Aussie staples when it comes to the BBQ, helping to provide iron-rich meals. Iron is an essential mineral that is involved predominantly in oxygen transport and immune function…pretty important stuff! While we are grilling our rib-eyes, chicken wings and tuna steaks (which all contain a readily absorbed form of iron called haem-iron), we are likely to be topping up on another essential nutrient – Vitamin D. Sunshine, or UV rays rather, are our main source of Vitamin D, a nutrient most of us desperately need after a long, cold winter spent inside. Promoting the absorption of calcium, Vitamin D plays a key role in forming and maintaining strong bones. Who would’ve thought a BBQ could be so nutritious!
No fuss, no fat
We love grilling because it’s one of the easiest, quickest, and healthiest cooking methods available. Grab your produce, chuck it on the grill and it’ll be ready to eat within minutes. This simple process also means we don’t have to add extra fats and oils to our food plus many fats drain away, making grilling a healthier cooking technique. Minimal cleanup, minimal dishes, maximum nutrition and maximum flavour – sounds good to us!
Keep things interesting
As the weather warms, it’s common for us to lose a bit of interest in our veggies. We swap our tasty, roasted veg for light, spring salads; our hearty vegetable soups for steamed and boiled veg. This season, we are saying bye-bye to boring vegetables and taking them to the BBQ! Asparagus, broccoli, pumpkin, capsicum…if you can name it, you can grill it! You can also try grilling fruits for dessert, pears and apples are perfect and as stone fruits start to return try grilled peach with honey yoghurt and macadamias, you can thank us later…
Retain those nutrients
The food you cook on the BBQ is not only tasty but often more nutritious than those pan-fried, steamed or boiled. Essential nutrients found in meat such as thiamine (vitamin B1) and riboflavin (vitamin B2) are better preserved by the grilling process. Similarly, the vitamins and minerals within fruits and veggies are better retained by grilling than any other cooking method, such as boiling where often water-soluble nutrients are partially lost.’
The Australian way
The humble BBQ is the pinnacle of the Australian spring and summer social calendar, and rightly so! We all know that food is not only nutritious, but it should also be delicious and an important social glue. Us Aussies love nothing more than a chat around a BBQ. And we are fine with that because good food, friends and fun in the sun are what life is all about, in the best country in the world!
Barbecued pumpkin with sesame rice and miso sauce
- 1 Cup brown rice
- 2 Teaspoons sesame oil
- Juice of a lemon
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil, plus 2 tablespoons extra
- 2 Tablespoons sesame seeds
- ¼ Cup white miso (substitute 2 tablespoons peanut butter mixed with 2 tablespoons soy sauce)
- ½ Cup buttermilk
- 1/8 Kent pumpkin, cut into 1cm thick wedges
- 1 Bunch broccolini
- 1 Bunch spring onions, halved lengthways
- 4 Radishes, thinly sliced
- 1 Bunch coriander, leaves picked
- Place rice in a saucepan with plenty of hot water. Bring to the boil, cook according to packet directions or until tender, then drain well. Stir in sesame oil, lemon juice, 1 tablespoon olive oil and sesame seeds. Set aside.
- Whisk together miso and buttermilk in a small bowl, then set aside.
- Preheat a barbecue over high heat. Drizzle remaining 2 tablespoons olive over pumpkin, broccolini and spring onions. Cook pumpkin for 3-4 minutes each side or until lightly charred and tender. Add broccolini and spring onions for final 3-4 minutes of cooking time.
- Lay rice onto a serving platter. Top with pumpkin, broccolini, spring onions, radish and coriander. Spoon over miso sauce then serve.