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High heat grilling seals in kebabs’ flavor

Published: Wednesday, June 27, 2012 5:30 a.m. CST

The Fourth of July is a great holiday to celebrate at the grill. And you don’t have to sacrifice your healthy eating habits to do so.

Grilling is an easy way to cook healthy foods without sacrificing great results. That’s partly because the high heat of the grill seals in moisture. This keeps the food moist and tender without the need for excess fat.

For a super succulent meat option without going the cholesterol- and fat-rich steak route, we marinated pork tenderloin. Pork tenderloin is a neutral base that can really soak up flavors, so feel free to play with your seasonings in the marinade.

We went with a basic marinade of red wine vinegar and herbs, but apple cider vinegar with Southwestern spices or rice vinegar with soy sauce, garlic and a splash of toasted sesame oil also would be delicious.

Alongside the pork tenderloin, we included some veggies. We threaded them on skewers with the chunks of meat, and let them absorb the marinade too. Of course you could use whatever veggies you prefer, but be sure to cut them in large chunks to let the meat have enough time to cook before the veggies turn to mush or burn on the grill.

Marinated Pork Kebabs

Start to finish: 30 minutes (plus marinating time)

Servings: 4

16 ounces pork tenderloin, cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks

1 small eggplant, cut into 1-inch chunks

2 portobello mushrooms, quartered

2 small red onions, quartered

1 large red bell pepper, cored and cut into large chunks

1 large green bell pepper, core and cut into large chunks

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 cup red wine vinegar

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

2 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary

2 tablespoons minced fresh thyme

3 cloves garlic, minced

Thread the pork, eggplant, mushrooms, red onions and both bell peppers onto wooden or metal skewers, alternating the meat and vegetables as you go. Arrange the skewers in a shallow dish that allows them to lay flat. A 9-by-13-inch pan usually works well.

In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt, pepper, rosemary, thyme and garlic. Pour over the skewers, turning and massaging them with your hands to thoroughly coat the meat and vegetables. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours or up to overnight.

When ready to cook, heat the grill to high. Using a paper towel soaked in vegetable oil held with a pair of tongs, lightly oil the grates.

Place the skewers on the grates and cook for 7 minutes per side, or until the meat registers 145 degrees F. Serve immediately.

Nutrition information per serving (values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 260 calories; 70 calories from fat (27 percent of total calories); 8 g fat (1.5 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 75 mg cholesterol; 19 g carbohydrate; 28 g protein; 8 g fiber; 310 mg sodium.

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