grilled vegetables with balsamic and basil

This is one of those recipes that you’ll want to make all summer long and perhaps even brave cold winter days to get that grilled taste. These grilled vegetables are light and flavorful, healthy and pair well with just about any main dish. They’re also vegan, paleo and whole 30.

grilled vegetables with balsamic and basil
grilled vegetables with balsamic and basil
grilled vegetables with balsamic and basil
grilled vegetables with balsamic and basil

Red onion - an unassuming vegetable hiding a gentle sweetness and flavor behind its many layers. It took me a while to fully come around to this lovely vegetable. I used to catch glimpses of it at the market, modestly nestled next to the sweet and yellow variety but hardly ever did I think to cook with it. I guess it seemed a bit intimidating so I stuck with the familiar kind. 

But truth be told, red onion is now one of my favorite vegetables. Aside from its alluring color, red onion has a sweet, mild flavor that enhances many a dish. 

Las weekend my mother visited. And as is typically the case, she comes baring little gifts of one kind or another. While I insist that I need nothing and she doesn't have to, this time though she nailed it when she walked in with a massive pot of basil. There are few things that bring me as much joy as fresh herbs. But along with the basil she also brought an array of vegetables that were now strewn about my counter so my job was to figure out what to do with the mishmash. 

Days past and I still hadn't figured out what to do with all the vegetables on hand. Roasting of course was always an option but I wanted something else. Then I remembered the red onion sitting in the fridge from a previous recipe I'd made and it all came together. I would keep things very simple and grill the vegetables, toss them with olive oil, salt and pepper and finish them with balsamic vinegar and fresh basil. 

Best vegetables for grilling

For me, red bell pepper, zucchini and red onion are a must. I love green beans so they were a natural fit for this dish, but you could always add summer squash or eggplant as well.

You can play around with this recipe as you see fit and swap out the vegetables to suit your liking but the red onion is a must! It changes the entire flavor profile of the vegetables. It brings out the best in them in an almost inexplicable way. You'll see...

Best way to grill vegetables

Well you have a few options. You could toss them directly on the grill, add them to the grill pan that came with your grill (if that was the case) or use a cast iron skillet directly on the grill. Either options is going to give you flavorful grilled vegetables. And if you don’t have a grill at all, you can always use a grill pan and make them on the stove top.

Do you have to add balsamic vinegar to grilled vegetables?

That is entirely up to you. Some people find the flavor of balsamic vinegar to be intense and would rather tone it down some. You could experiment with something a milder vinegar like a rice vinegar, champagne vinegar or red or white vinegar. Or you could skip it entirely and just go for a little more olive oil to really bring out the flavor of the grilled vegetables.

Can you skip the basil?

Well of course, I just happen to love it and think that it works fantastically well in this dish. You could experiment with other tender herbs or leave them out all together. I don’t think a tougher herb like rosemary finds its home in this dish so stick with milder ones! Fresh oregano would be a very good contender!

grilled vegetables with balsamic and basil
grilled vegetables with balsamic and basil
grilled vegetables with balsamic and basil
grilled vegetables with balsamic and basil
grilled vegetables with balsamic and basil

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grilled vegetables with balsamic and basil

  • prep time: 5 minutes

  • grilling time: 20 minutes

  • makes: 4 servings


  • 1 red onion, sliced

  • 1 zucchini, sliced

  • handful of green beans, trimmed

  • 2 red bell peppers, roughly chopped

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 tsp salt

  • 1/4 tsp ground pepper

  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

  • 1 tbsp fresh basil chopped


  • large mixing bowl

  • tongs

  • grill

  • grill safe plate

  • cling wrap


Preheat grill on medium low.

In large bowl combine all ingredients aside from vinegar and basil and mix well. 

Add all vegetables to grill safe cast iron plate (most grills come with one) and grill for 10 minutes on low (stirring occsaionally) until soft but still retaining a bite. 

Place grilled vegetables back in bowl, add balsamic vinegar and basil and stir until vegetables are coated. Cover with wrap and let sit for 5 minutes. Serve right away. 

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If you're looking for the prefect side for pretty much any dish, check out this simple 10 minute grilled vegetables recipe. Red onion, bell peppers, zucchini and green beans come together with extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper, balsamic vinegar and fresh basil. This recipe is vegan, paleo and whole 30. #calmeats, #grilling, #grilledvegetables, #vegetables, #sidedishes, #vegan, #vegansides, #whole30
If you're looking for the prefect side for pretty much any dish, check out this simple 10 minute grilled vegetables recipe. Red onion, bell peppers, zucchini and green beans come together with extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper, balsamic vinegar and fresh basil. This recipe is vegan, paleo and whole 30. #calmeats, #grilling, #grilledvegetables, #vegetables, #sidedishes, #vegan, #vegansides, #whole30
If you're looking for the prefect side for pretty much any dish, check out this simple 10 minute grilled vegetables recipe. Red onion, bell peppers, zucchini and green beans come together with extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper, balsamic vinegar and fresh basil. This recipe is vegan, paleo and whole 30. #calmeats, #grilling, #grilledvegetables, #vegetables, #sidedishes, #vegan, #vegansides, #whole30

maple dijon thyme roasted vegetables

carrots and brussels sprouts
vegetables on roasting tray
roasted vegetables in bowl
carrots and brussels sprouts on cutting board

A tiny hand escaped from mine as her feet searched gleefully for a bare spot. She couldn’t find it. Leaves of every color blanketed the uneven pavement making it nearly unrecognizable. She hopped about kicking some in hopes that it would reveal itself. It was enchanting in a way standing on the familiar but not discerning any of it. I watched her do this for some time until she grew bored with the activity and moved on.

Nature is beguiling. I feel bewitched by the display before me. So many leaves, not one like the other, swaying about in the occasional gust of wind. I take her hand as we continue on our walk.

Fall is a feast for the senses. It puts a spell on me every year and I long for it to last. Everything is beautiful, rich, draped in every shade of yellow, orange and red. A trace of green still cutting through reminds me of what was and what will be in another 5 months.

Saddened by the realization that soon all will be bare and bleak, I walk a little slower feeling melancholy. But the bouncy, blonde haired, blue eyed girl beside me, dragging a stick in the pile of leaves, screaming with delight, jolts me out of it.

I wanted to pay homage to this season of gold and make a dish reminiscent of the very colors draping our lawns and sidewalks. Because not only are the leaves exquisite during this time of year but so is the produce. Beets, carrots, Brussels sprouts wed with tangy apple, maple syrup, Dijon mustard and thyme to create an earthy autumn inspired dish.

Even though beets tend to be selfish, enveloping everything around them in their deep red color, the taste these vegetables take on when roasted together is everything I want out of a fall dish. You can put them on salad, as a side for your Thanksgiving dinner, or top them with a delicious runny egg and make a meal out of them.

It’s undeniable that fall is the most dramatic and beautiful season and during this time I find my food is often inspired by it.

brussels sprouts and string
roasted vegetables in bowl
vegetables napkin brussels sprouts carrots

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maple dijon thyme roasted vegetables

  • prep time: 10

  • cooking time: 30

  • makes: 4-6 servings


  • 6 medium carrots peeled and cut into 2 inch sticks

  • 1 large beet or 2 medium peeled and cut into 4 and sliced

  • 12 oz of Brussels sprouts cut in half

  • 1 large apple peeled and sliced

  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil divided

  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard

  • 1 tbsp maple syrup plus 1 tsp (skip for whole 30)

  • 1/2 tsp salt

  • 1/4 tsp pepper

  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped


  • 2 roasting trays

  • parchment paper

  • large bowl


Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line roasting trays with parchment paper.

In large bowl, add all vegetables and apple, 3 tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp maple syrup, salt, pepper and thyme and toss to combine.

Spread evenly on roasting trays and roast for 30 minutes, rotating the trays half way through and tossing the vegetables for even roasting.

Meanwhile, in same bowl whisk together leftover tbsp olive oil, Dijon mustard and and leftover tsp of maple syrup.

When vegetables have finished roasting, add them to bowl and toss to combine with the Dijon maple dressing and serve right away.

  • Note: You can skip the Dijon if you prefer without and if whole 30, skip the maple syrup.

Experience all of fall’s produce in one delicious side dish. Roasted beets, apple, carrots and Brussels sprouts work perfectly with maple syrup and dijon mustard to create a delicious, festive Thanksgiving, holiday or every day side dish. It’s vegan, paleo with a whole 30 option as well. #vegan #calmeats #thanksgivingsides #fallsides #fallproduce #sidedishes #beets #carrots #brusselssprouts #paleosides #paleothanksgiving #whole30sides #whole30thankgiving

fermented vegetable medley

Cauliflower, carrots and beans
carrots, beans and cauliflower

I'm on a serious gut health kick this week. And for good reason. Admittedly I've been slacking a bit the last few weeks. Work became stressful, keeping up with everything felt overwhelming and I mindlessly gravitated towards, for lack of a better word, shit food. It had gluten free plastered all over it but just because it was gluten free doesn't mean it was good for me. 

It's easy getting trapped in the "it's only a few" mentality but the truth is, if you have gut issues, a few every day is just enough to bring all the symptoms back and make you feel like garbage. I felt a bit hypocritical because here I am, a big proponent of real food stuffing my face with gluten and dairy free food like stuff. 

Without much fanfare and self loathing, I decided to just get back to eating real and minimally processed food. And sure enough it's made a big difference. I've mentioned before that I don't like being overly strict because it feels suffocating but it's important to remind ourselves that a lot of what we see on store shelves is not providing any nutrients or any benefit aside from sheer pleasure because it does taste so damn good. 

So what to do when you've gotten off track? Start by getting back to the good stuff. For me that always includes nature's probiotics in the form of fermented vegetables. I mean yes, you can go and buy a bottle of expensive probiotics but why when you can just get them through food! Truly one of my favorite ways of undoing some damage is by eating fermented vegetables. 

Do you feel intimidated by the idea of making your own ferments? Don't! It's surprisingly simple and versatile and your little gut bugs will be very happy to say the least. 

As far as vegetables, you can use whatever you'd like but I find certain combinations work better than others. This assortment is one that my grandparents often made and it's simply cauliflower, green beans and carrots. You can eat fermented vegetables on their own, as a side or chop them up and add them to your favorite dishes. 

All you need is a large jar, filtered water, salt and vegetables. 

fermented vegetable medley
fermented vegetable medley
fermented vegetable medley

fermented vegetable medley 

  • prep time: 5 minutes

  • fermenting time: 2 weeks +

  • yields: 1 half gallon jar


  • 1 small head organic cauliflower

  • a good handful of green beans

  • bunch heirloom or regular carrots

  • 2 tbsp sea salt or pink salt

  • 4 cups warm filtered water

  • 1 clove garlic sliced

  • 1/2 tsp whole peppercorns

  • a few springs of fresh dill



Combine warm water with salt and stir until salt is fully dissolved. Let cool.

Break cauliflower by hand into desired size pieces. Chop carrots in whatever shape you wish, either strips or rounds. You can leave the beans whole or cut them in half. 

Add all vegetables, garlic and dill to the jar and add saltwater until vegetables are fully submerged. Twist on lid and keep away from any places with temperature fluctuation such as stoves or dishwashers. 

Let ferment for 14 or more days. You can "burp" your ferment daily if you want to release some pressure but it's not mandatory. That just means twisting the lid off and back on.  

Want a simple and cheap way to get more probiotics in your diet? Try this delicious fermented vegetable medley. All you need is salt, water, cauliflower, carrots and green beans. #fermentedfood, #fermentedvegetables, #calmeats, #paleo, #vegan, #whole30, #fermentation, #probioticfoods, #guthealthyfoods #guthealth #howtoferment #easyfermentedrecipes

vegetable coconut curry

vegetable coconut curry, lime and cilantro greens
vegetable coconut curry
vegetable coconut curry

When It comes to cooking from scratch, I hear the same struggle over and over. "I don't have time, I don't know where to start, it seems overwhelming". I hear you loud and clear.

It's easy for me to run in the kitchen, throw some stuff together and call it dinner, but if that's not part of your repertoire, it's challenging to get into the groove. But what I've tried to impart over and over is that cooking doesn't have to be complicated to be delicious. 

Besides the fact that I'm a food blogger, I'm also a mother and full time worker and whatever other roles I have to fulfill, so needless to say, I've got a lot of stuff going on. Some days I can cook uninterrupted, sipping away at a glass of wine, gliding through the process. But most days aren't like that so I have to be realistc. My only object is to feed the starving mouths, whining at my feet.

One of my go to meals is this vegetable coconut curry. It's a great option if you're looking for a quick dinner that's going to require minimum effort. It's also practically foolproof since the blender makes the sauce for you and all you have to do is peel, chop and stir. Easy right? 

Coconut milk, peanut or almond butter and Thai red curry paste are staples in my house. If you have those and some vegetables, you have yourself a vegetable coconut curry that's absurdly easy to make. And frankly in the time it takes to order takeout, you can have dinner made and on the table. 

vegetable coconut curry
vegetable coconut curry
vegetable coconut curry
vegetable coconut curry

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vegetable coconut curry 

  • Prep time: 10 minutes

  • Cooking time 15 minutes

  • Serves 4-6


For peanut sauce:

  • 1/4 tsp ground coriander

  • 1-2 tsp Thai red curry paste (I use this)

  • 1 inch knob minced ginger (i use a lemon zester for it)

  • 1 tbsp fresh cilantro

  • zest of 1/2 lime

  • 1 can full fat coconut milk (I use this)

  • 2 tbsp peanut butter or almond butter (I use this or this)

  • 1 tbsp maple syrup (I use this) - omit if Whole30

  • 1/2 tsp lime juice

For vegetables: 

  • 2 tbsp coconut oil

  • 1/2 tsp salt

  • 2 minced garlic cloves

  • 1 large summer squash or 2 small cut into roughly 2" strips

  • 1 large zucchini or 2 small cut into roughly 2" strips

  • 3-4 carrots cut into 2" strips

  • 1 red bell pepper thinly sliced

  • 8 small white mushrooms sliced

  • handful of green beans trimmed and cut in half


  • chopped peanuts or sliced almonds

  • additional cilantro for garnish

Serve with suggestions

  • rice (In a strainer rinse 1 cup of rice under running water, add to pot and combine with 2 cups water, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes. Let stand for 5)

  • quinoa (In a strainer rinse 1 cup of quinoa under running water, add to pot and combine with 2 cups water, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes. Let stand for 5)

  • zoodles (Follow directions of whatever equipment you have). Sauté in pan with 1 tsp coconut oil for 1-2 minutes until soft.

  • cauliflower rice check out the recipe here.


  • large dutch oven or other heavy pan

  • blender


Add all the ingredients under sauce to a blender and blend until smooth. Set aside.

Heat dutch oven on medium heat and add coconut oil along with garlic. Cook stirring continuously for 30 seconds until fragrant but not brown. Add all the veggies and salt and give a good stir from time to time. Cook veggies for about 8 minutes. 

Add sauce and continue cooking for another 5 minutes. I like my veggies to still have a bite.

Like with all recipes, they can be customized, so if you want to add more maple syrup for a sweeter taste go for it, if you want to add more lime for a tangier taste that's good too. 

To assemble, layer over rice, quinoa, zoodles or cauliflower rice. 

This is an easy vegan and paleo Thai inspired vegetable coconut curry you can whip up in just 15 minutes. So if you’re in the mood for a fresh and delicious curry, check this one out! #curry, #thaicurry #vegancurry #thaicoconutcurry #calmeats #paleocurry #coconutmilk #vegetables #realfood #glutenfree #dairyfree #vegetarian #grainfree #thaicurry #thaifood #takeout

how to meal prep vegetables

how to meal prep vegetables

When people ask me how I've changed my diet and am able to consistently stick to eating fresh, whole food, the answer is always the same: "by planning". It's the deciding factor between making it long term and giving up after one or two weeks. I've made my decision to change my lifestyle and diet well over 6 months ago and never looked back. 

The reality is, you have to be organized and think about your next meal and plan accordingly. It doesn't have to be overwhelming or extensive but it does have to be consistent. The trap many people fall into is simply saying that it's too hard and they don't know where to start or what to do. 

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