Cooking in Foil Packets

Share this:

As they say, big things come in small packages and that may explain the burgeoning popularity of foil-packet recipes. Minimal preparation and cleanup are easy trade-offs for the immense flavors you can create in these tiny containers, whether you prepare them in the oven, on the grill, or over an open flame.

The secret to successful foil cooking is locking in the layers of flavor from each ingredient. It’s surprisingly simple to create delicious, healthy dishes when cooking with foil. An ingredient like seasoned rice vinegar offers a wholesome alternative to many condiments and flavorings while giving your packet a big flavor boost.  Find more inspired ideas for healthy meals at

Gochujang-Glazed Chicken
Servings: 4
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes

4 tbsp. Nakano Seasoned Rice Vinegar – Roasted Garlic
2 tsp. gochujang (chile bean paste)
6 tbsp. maple syrup
4 tsp. soy sauce
2 tbsp., plus 2 tsp., olive oil
4 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
8 chicken thighs
4 cups fresh cauliflower, riced (use grater or food processer so cauliflower resembles rice)
1 1/2 cups fresh scallions, sliced
2 cups fresh sugar snap peas
3 sprigs fresh cilantro, for garnish

Heat oven or grill to 375° F. In large bowl, mix together vinegar, gochujang, maple syrup, soy sauce, olive oil, mustard, salt, and pepper to form marinade. Dip chicken in marinade and toss lightly until coated. Lightly oil foil pouch and layer base of pouch with cauliflower. Add scallions and sugar snap peas, then place chicken on top. Carefully pour remaining marinade over pouch contents (ensuring that liquid stays inside foil). Seal foil packet and bake or grill 30 minutes. Open foil to create 2-inch long vent then bake or grill another 15 minutes, or until completely cooked. Garnish with cilantro before serving.

Chef’s tip: For best results and added flavor, marinate chicken 30 minutes before preparing pouches.
Substitutions: In place of gochujang, red pepper flake paste can be made by mixing 1 tbsp. red pepper flakes with a few dashes soy sauce and 1 dash sugar. Alternatively, substitute 2 tsp. sriracha for gochujang.

Grilled Bartlett Pear and Oat Crisp
Servings: 4
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes

4 cups fresh pears, medium diced
4 tbsp. Nakano Seasoned Rice Vinegar – Mango
3/4 cup quick oats
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup, plus 2 teaspoons, all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
6 tbsp. butter, diced into 1/4-inch squares

Heat oven to 375° F. Toss pears in rice vinegar and set into lightly greased foil pouch. Combine remaining ingredients in bowl and use two forks to combine ingredients until mixture becomes crumbly. Pour mixture evenly over pears, seal pouch and bake 20 minutes. Open top of foil and bake another 10 minutes, or until crisp and golden.

Chef’s tips: For crispier crust, refrigerate crumbly mixture 30 minutes before baking. Serve with scoop of vanilla bean ice cream.
Mediterranean Vegetables
Servings: 4
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes

3 tbsp. Nakano Organic Rice Vinegar – Seasoned
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp. salt, plus extra, to taste
1/2 tsp. pepper, plus extra, to taste
1 tbsp., plus 1 1/2 teaspoons, fresh parsley, chopped
1 1/2 tsp. fresh garlic, minced
1 cup fresh zucchini, sliced into 1 3/4-inch long, 1/4-inch thick planks
1 cup fresh green pepper strips
1 cup fresh red pepper strips
8 fresh stalks asparagus, slicing off 1/4 inch from bottom of stalk
1 fresh portobello mushroom, sliced into 1/2-inch squares
1 cup fresh eggplant, diced into 1/2-inch squares

Heat oven or grill to 375° F. In large bowl, mix together rice vinegar, olive oil, salt, pepper, parsley, and garlic to create marinade. Clean vegetables then place them in marinade in small batches. Toss to coat then place in foil pouch. Pour remaining marinade over vegetables and seal pouch. Bake in oven or over indirect heat on grill 25 minutes. Add salt and pepper, to taste, after removing pouch from heat.

Chef’s tip: Open pouch after 20 minutes of cooking and allow vegetables to crisp slightly under direct heat for remaining 5 minutes. u

7 Steps to the Perfect Foil Pouch
1. A 12-inch square piece of foil is a good starting point, but you may need to adjust depending on the recipe. You’ll need plenty of extra room around the ingredients for the heat to build up and cook the contents to perfection.
2. Use heavy-duty foil to avoid tears or poor seals that can spill ingredients and precious seasonings and juices.
3. Spread foil on a flat surface and add a light nonstick spray, if needed.
4. Place ingredients and seasonings in the center of the foil.
5. Bring long sides of the foil together over the food. Pinch together and make 1/2-inch folds straight across at least twice for a strong seal. Leave space between the foil and food.
6. Make 1/2-inch folds on each short end, folding toward food but leaving at least 1 1/2-2 inches between the seam and food.
7. Handle pouch with care to avoid piercing or tearing, and always use tongs to remove pouches from heat.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *