You probably already know it’s a good idea to add some more vegetables to your diet. Maybe you love veggies but aren’t sure how you can fix them in a way that is different and appetizing.
If you haven’t thought about grilling your vegetables, or have tried and failed miserably, we can help. Here are some simple tips to help you grill all types of vegetables for delicious meals and snacks.
Preparing Vegetables for the Grill – Direct Grilling
You can grill just about any type of vegetable provided you take a few minutes to prepare it. If you think about it, just tossing a full onion or eggplant on the grill isn’t going to produce the results you desire.
You’ll get more flavor from your vegetables the more surface area you give them for grill marks. This also makes it easier for you to move the items around on the grill. Here is how you can prepare some common veggies for grilling:
- Onions– Peel and quarter through the root.
- Tomatoes– Choose perfectly ripe tomatoes and cut them half crosswise.
- Asparagus– Remove the woody ends.
- Bell peppers– Quarter and seed.
- Mushrooms – Remove stems and halve or slice if large.
- Eggplant, zucchini, and yellow squash– Cut into lengthwise strips.
To prevent your veggies from sticking, make sure your grill is clean. You’ll also want to brush your vegetables with oil (olive oil works best) after you slice and prepare them. But you don’t want to use too much oil. This can make your veggies have a greasy flavor, cause flare-ups on your grill, and defeat the purpose of trying to add something healthy to your meal.
Grilling Your Veggies – Some Indirect Methods
Some vegetables are a bit unwieldy and messy to place directly on the grill, no matter how well you prepare them. Smaller mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, and zucchini rounds are a few examples.
You can keep these smaller items from falling through the grate or rolling around on your grill by using a grill basket or placing them on a skewer. If you don’t have either of these items, you can create your own “basket.” Take a roughly 24” piece of heavy-duty foil and fold it in half. Crimp the edges to create a “basket” that will keep your food inside while grilling.
Whether you use a skewer, grate, or makeshift basket, you’ll still want to prepare your vegetables for grilling the same way you would as if you were directly grilling them. By slicing them and brushing them with oil, you can ensure the veggies won’t stick and will come out tasting delicious.
How Long to Grill Your Vegetables?
Some vegetables only need a minute or two on the grill and others need longer to cook. To prevent burning, sear your veggies on medium to high heat and then move them to a cooler part of the grill to finish cooking. Use a thin metal spatula or a good set of tongs to carefully move and flip your vegetables around the grill.
Depending on the size of your veggies and your grill, your experience will vary, so watch your vegetables carefully. But here is a general rule of thumb for some popular veggies:
- Grilled corn– 10-15 minutes, turning occasionally
- Grilled asparagus– 4 minutes
- Grilled zucchini– 4-5 minutes on each side
- Grilled tomatoes – 5 minutes per side
- Grilled mushrooms– 2-3 minutes per side
If you’re grilling a mix of vegetables, you’ll want to grill the heartier ones first. For example, grill your onions and peppers before your mushrooms, squash, and zucchini. The last items to go on the grill should be things like tomatoes and asparagus.
A Few Additional Notes About Grilling Vegetables
Some vegetables don’t do well on the grill. Leafy greens, celery, and cucumbers are examples because of their high-water content.
But you can serve your vegetables with a green salad, sandwich, wrap, or omelet and get delicious results. Finally, consider adding a drizzle of olive oil or balsamic vinegar to your vegetables if you are going to serve them as a standalone side dish with your meal.
Get the Freshest Vegetables at Nick’s of Calvert
Now that you know how to grill veggies to perfection, the next step is to hit your local grocer for your supplies. Nick’s of Calvert offers only the freshest produce and makes service to its customers one of its priorities. Come into our Prince Frederick store today for all your grocery, spirits, and catering needs, or give us a call at (410) 414-7105 with any questions.