On-AirVirginia This Morning



Posted at 12:02 PM, Jun 24, 2013
and last updated 2013-06-24 12:02:29-04

RICHMOND, Va (WTVR) - Now that summer is officially here, a lot of you will be turning to the grill to cook dinner, and maybe even lunch and breakfast! Culinary Expert Elise Johnson shares a couple of her  gluten-free grilling options.

Thai Grilled Sweet Potato Salad


¼ cup creamy peanut butter (use a not-to- sweet brand like Smart Balance)

2 scallions, diced

¼ of a red bell pepper, diced

Zest and juice of one lime

2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil

3 tablespoons gluten-free soy sauce

1 tablespoon local honey

1/2 tablespoon garlic and chili sauce

1 teaspoon minced ginger

1 cup mayonnaise

2 tablespoons freshly chopped cilantro

1 tablespoon freshly chopped Thai basil

2 lbs sweet potatoes (peeled and cut into 1-inch rounds)

3 scallions, chopped

3 tablespoons orange juice

½ teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

1/4 of a red bell pepper, diced

Chopped peanuts for garnish

Prepare medium-low charcoal grill or preheat a gas grill.

1. Combine peanut butter, scallions, red bell pepper, sesame oil, soy sauce, honey, garlic chili sauce and ginger into a small saucepan. Cook for two minutes; let cool.

2. Add mayonnaise and blend well.

3. Stir in freshly chopped cilantro and Thai basil; season with a little salt and pepper.

4. To make sweet potatoes, peel and slice into 3/8-inch rounds and cook in water until fork tender. Coat the sweet potatoes in two tablespoons of canola oil and season with a little salt and pepper.  Transfer the potato slices to your grill.  Turn your sweet potatoes occasionally and cook until tender when pierced with a fork – about 10-15 minutes.

Important to Note: Grilled sweet potatoes are delicious but they do need close attention— the results are worth it however. Slice the potatoes too thick, and they won't cook through; slice them too thin, and they will char quickly. Slice them carefully, and be sure to keep a close eye on the grill.

Once cooked through slice each round into fourths and add the grilled potatoes to the bowl of Thai mayonnaise and stir to coat thoroughly.

Add the rest of your diced red pepper, scallions, orange juice, salt and pepper; toss gently and serve.

Grilled Bananas with a Sweet Cinnamon Butter

These grilled bananas coated in a yummy cinnamon butter make the best accompaniment to a bowl of cold vanilla ice cream. The juices of the bananas will add a lovely sauce to your ice cream.


6 large bananas

6 tablespoons salted butter, softened

1 tablespoon local honey

1 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon + 1 tablespoon granulated sugar



  1. In a small bowl combine softened butter, honey and ground cinnamon. On a dinner plate combine one tablespoon of cinnamon and with 1 tablespoon sugar.
  2. Peel each banana, cut in half vertically and spread the butter mixture on the flat side of all the bananas. Place the flat side onto the plate covered in cinnamon sugar.
  3. Place the banana halves on a hot grill until each side has caramelized.
  4. Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top and enjoy!