Recipes: Guilt-Free Grilling

Celebrate the end of summer with these delicious and healthy dishes.

Grilled chorizo cornmeal cakes with cilantro crema and tomatoes.


Chef Alyssa Wilen teaches hands-on cooking classes in South End’s Atherton Market. Before that, she worked in the restaurant industry for more than 10 years. Learn more about Chef Alyssa’s Kitchen at

Grilled Chorizo Cornmeal Cakes with Cilantro Crema and Tomatoes
Serves 6 to 8

2 cups finely ground yellow or white cornmeal
2 teaspoons salt
2 to 2 ½ cups warm water
¾ cup chorizo sausage, cooked and drained Cooking oil
4-5 tomatoes, cut into wedges
1. In a large bowl, combine the cornmeal with the salt and 2 cups of water. The water should saturate the cornmeal enough to make a thick paste.
2. Fold the chorizo into the cornmeal mix. If the consistency becomes really dry, add more water.
3. Set a cast iron grill pan on medium-high heat; the pan can be set right on a grill if desired.
4. Warm about 2 tablespoons of the cooking oil, then place spoonfuls of the cornmeal mix into the oil. The cakes should be about 2 inches in diameter and placed about half an inch apart.
5. Once golden brown around the perimeter (about 3 minutes), flip over and repeat on the other side.
6. Remove and hold in a warm place until all cakes have been cooked.
7. Serve warm, drizzled with cilantro crema and topped with tomatoes. Season the tomatoes with salt and pepper. 

Cilantro crema:
½ cup crema or sour cream
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves
1 tablespoon lime Salt to taste

1. Combine all ingredients and blend until smooth. 

Grilled Cabbage Cole Slaw
Serves 6 to 8

1 head cabbage
2 tablespoons cooking oil
1 cup grated carrots
¼ red onion, thinly sliced
2/3 cup Greek-style yogurt
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
½ teaspoon celery seed
2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
2 teaspoons chopped dill
Salt and black pepper to taste

1. Preheat grill to high.
2. Cut the cabbage into 6 to 8 wedges, leaving the core intact to keep the layers together.
3. Lightly coat the cabbage with oil, and grill to char the outside, about 3 minutes on each side. Remove from the grill and sprinkle with salt and pepper; set aside to cool.
4. In a small bowl, whisk the yogurt with vinegar, celery seed, Dijon, honey, and herbs.
5. Thinly slice the carrots and onion and toss with the yogurt dressing.
6. Serve the grilled cabbage wedges topped with the yogurt salad.

Melon Salad
Serves 6 to 8

1 small cantaloupe
1 small honeydew
1 large cucumber
Zest and juice of 2 lemons
3 tablespoons honey
¼ cup olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/ 8 cup each mint and basil leaves, chiffonade

1. Cut the top and bottom from the melons. Sit on the flat side and remove the exterior of the melons by slicing around following the curve. Cut in half and remove the seeds; set aside.
2. Peel the cucumber.
3. Using a mandolin slicer or a ribbon peeler, create ribbon strips from the melons and cucumber. When slicing the cucumber, slice around the sides in order to avoid cutting into the seeds.
4. In a small bowl, whisk the lemon zest and juice with the honey, olive oil, and salt. Sprinkle in the herbs.
5. Toss the melon and cucumber with the dressing.

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