Why aren’t grilled vegetable plates common in America?

While it’s been impossible for me to maintain my restricted diet while on vacation in Italy this past week and a half, one pleasant menu surprise here is that nearly every restaurant, large and small, has a plate of grilled vegetables on its menu.

On Thursday, we stopped at a tiny, nondescript place that likely would be thought of as a greasy spoon in the States, only to find a menu full of salads and sporting the ubiquitous grilled veggies, which I ordered. What I received was delightful, including eggplant, squash and even some spinach along with mushrooms and carrots, all grilled without any harmful sauces and what seemed like very little salt.

Veggie plates are common in Italy, why can't U.S. places offer the same?
Veggie plates are common in Italy, why can’t U.S. places offer the same?

Such plates are routinely served with olive oil and vinegar, the accompaniments that seem so difficult to find in U.S. restaurants that I now carry my own with me there. No need here.

At dinner, my wife and I split a larger plate of grilled veggies as side dishes for our main courses.

A larger dinner veggie plate, two can split it as a side dish
A larger dinner veggie plate, two can split it as a side dish

Why can’t restaurants in the U.S., including those saying they offer healthy food while they load their so-called healthy choices with unhealthy levels of salt (I’m talking about you Protein Bar) offer this wonderful, healthy simple dish?

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