If you have a fire pit or a fireplace out back, you may be looking forward to hot dogs and smores this summer. However, meat and sweets aren’t the only options for outdoor cooking—you can use your fire pit or outdoor fireplace to cook fruits and vegetables too.
If you need a break from the marshmallows, look for something new. For nutritious side dishes, or even main dishes if you want to go vegetarian, try these options this summer.
1. Corn on the Cob
Corn on the cob is a summertime staple. You may already cook this dish inside in a pot of boiling water or in your microwave. Some folks swear by barbecuing it, but if you want to use a fire pit or fireplace, you certainly can. You have two options: the tin foil method and the grill method.
If you want to put your corn directly into the fire, shuck it and wrap it in two layers of heavy aluminum foil. Next, put the corn directly on the coals. If you can, put more coals on top of the corn for faster, more even cooking. Let the corn roast for about 15 to 20 minutes. Take the corn out with tongs, unwrap it, and baste it with butter and whatever spices you like on your corn.
If you have a grate on your fire pit or your fireplace, you can use that instead. Leave the corn in the husk, and put it on the grate. Let the corn roast until the husks are brown, or about 10 minutes on each side. Unhusk the corn, put the butter and spices on, and you’re ready to go.
2. Roasted Potatoes
Potatoes make a hearty, filling side dish or entree. You can choose classic russet potatoes or sweet potatoes, depending on your preference. Wash the potatoes, rub them with a little oil and some salt, and wrap them up in two layers of heavy foil. Place your potatoes directly onto the coals in your fire pit or fireplace.
Potatoes are big and dense, and they can take longer to cook. Try cooking them for 30 minutes, turning them once. Then take one out, unwrap it, and check to see if it’s soft all the way through. If not, return the potato to the fire for a while. Otherwise, take the potatoes out and split them—try adding sour cream, cheese, and spring onions to add flavor.
3. Grilled Brussel Sprouts
Maybe you’re in the mood for something new—if you’re not interested in potatoes and corn this summer, branch out to new vegetables that you may not be as familiar with, like Brussel sprouts. You’ll need a grate for your fire pit or fireplace for this recipe, as well as:
- 1 pound Brussel sprouts
- 2 tablespoons whole grain mustard
- 2 tablespoons olive or canola oil
- Salt and pepper, to taste
First, boil a pot of water indoors, and blanch the sprouts—just put them in the boiling water for about three minutes, then dunk them in cold water to rinse them off. Next, dry the sprouts off, and trim off the bottom stems and the outer leaves. Mix the oil, salt, pepper, and mustard together, then mix the sprouts in until they’re coated. If you have the time, let the Brussel sprouts marinate for half an hour to let the flavor sink in.
Next, skewer the sprouts and place them on the grate of your fire pit or fireplace. If your grate’s gaps are really small, you can also get away with just putting the sprouts directly on the grape without the skewers. Let them cook for about three to five minutes on each side, or until they look a little charred. Take them off and serve with more mustard sauce, if desired.
4. Grilled Peaches
Maybe you want something sweet instead of savory. For a nutritious side dish or dessert, try grilled peaches. Cut your peaches in half and remove the pits. Brush the peaches with maple syrup, and brush the grate over your fire pit or fireplace with butter or oil. Cook the peaches on the grate for about five minutes, turning them over once. When they’re finished, they should be soft but not mushy.
Grilled peaches are great on their own, but you can also put them over ice cream, yogurt, salad, or even pancakes.
Get the most out of your fire pit or fireplace this summer by trying new types of food. In between favorites like hot dogs, make healthier options like these plant-based dishes.
If your fire pit or fireplace isn’t performing at its best, or if you’d like to install one, talk to an expert. You can find all sorts of options for outdoor fireplaces and fire pits at Alpine Fireplaces. Give us a call at 1.800.550.0952 to get expert advice and to find the perfect choice for your backyard.