Can You Cook Spinach on the Grill?

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If you think your grill is a meat-only zone, think again. A wide variety of foods can be prepared on your grill, including unexpected vegetables like spinach. The nutrient-rich leafy greens are a filling addition to a range of grill classics like grilled fish or marinated chicken. Instead of moving from stove to grill, keep it all outside with grilled spinach.

Why Grill

  • Grilling spinach is a particularly appealing option if you are already stationed at the grill; there's no need to monitor both the stove and the grill, so you can keep an eye on all your grill elements at once. Grilling is fast; over indirect heat, spinach will be ready to go within 10 minutes. Grilling also imbues spinach with signature smokiness, especially if you are grilling over a smoker that uses wood or charcoal.

Choosing Spinach

  • There are several varieties of spinach, and they are all appropriate for grilling. Baby spinach is a delicate smooth-leaf variety that wilts quickly when heated. Savoy spinach has ribbed edges and is usually sold in large bunches rather than individual leaves that are prepackaged. Savoy spinach is heartier and thicker. For grilling, fresh spinach is preferable to frozen, which is too watery for effective grilling. No matter what spinach you choose, look for dark green color and few stems.

Techniques

  • The most common strategy for grilling spinach is to cook it inside a grill basket or foil packet. A foil packet allows the spinach to steam to ensure it cooks fully. Foil packets also allow you to season the spinach while it cooks. To make a foil packet, fold a large piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil into a small bowl. Inside the bowl goes your washed and dried spinach, as well as any seasoning; think oil, lemon juice, garlic or oregano. Then seal the packet with a second piece of foil, pinching the edges to ensure proper steaming. The entire packet can go directly onto the grill, but try to keep it away from direct flame. If you have a complete bunch of fresh spinach, you can also place it directly on the grill, but the result with be warmed spinach appropriate for a salad, rather than steamed or cooked spinach.

Considerations

  • Plan ahead; time your grilled items so that they all finish at about the same time, so chicken should go on long before spinach, while steak tips might take about the same amount of time as the veggie. Spinach cooks down, so while it might seem like you are cooking too much when it's fresh, it will likely lose half its volume during cooking.

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