The Ultimate Guide to Grilling Vegetables
Grilling vegetables is a great way to bring out their natural flavors and add a smoky taste. Grilling like other methods of cooking can help to make some of the nutrients in your vegetables easier to absorb.
Grilling Veggies Guide
Whether you’re a seasoned griller or just starting out, this guide will show you everything you need to know to grill the ultimate vegetable dishes.
Pair your grilled vegetables with one of these grilling ideas for dinner, recipes such as grilled BBQ chicken drumsticks, Sriracha mayo burgers, or marinated steak kabobs.
Preparation is Key
The key to grilling any food is being prepared. If you have ever started grilling and had to run in and out for things and even burned your food because you are running in and out you know how important this step can be.
Before you start cooking, make sure to wash and cut your vegetables into evenly sized pieces. This will ensure that they cook evenly and won’t fall through the grates.
If you’re grilling delicate vegetables like asparagus or zucchini, consider using a grilling basket to keep them from falling through the grates. You can also skewer them to keep them together and make them easier to flip.
When cutting your vegetables, make sure to cut them into pieces that are large enough to hold their shape, but small enough to cook quickly and evenly. For example, you can slice a bell pepper into wedges, cut a zucchini into rounds, or cut an eggplant into thick slices.
Marinate for Flavor
Odds are when you think about marinades you are thinking about meat not vegetables but you may just be surprised. Marinating your vegetables before grilling to add extra flavor and tenderness.
You can use a store-bought marinade or make your own using olive oil, vinegar, herbs, and spices. Just make sure to marinate for at least 30 minutes, or up to several hours for maximum flavor.
Some marinade recipes to try include:
- Balsamic vinaigrette: whisk together 1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar, 3 tablespoons of olive oil, 2 cloves of minced garlic, 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard, and 1 teaspoon of honey.
- Lemon herb: mix together 1/4 cup of lemon juice, 1/4 cup of olive oil, 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh herbs (such as basil, thyme, or rosemary), 1 minced garlic clove, and salt and pepper to taste.
- Honey mustard: whisk together 3 tablespoons of Dijon mustard, 2 tablespoons of honey, 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, 1/4 cup of olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste.
The Right Temperature
When it comes to grilling vegetables, the temperature is key. You want to cook them over medium heat, which is about 350-450°F.
If the heat is too low, the vegetables will take too long to cook and become mushy. If the heat is too high, they will burn. To make sure the temperature is just right, preheat your grill for 10-15 minutes before cooking.
You can test the temperature by holding your hand a few inches above the grates. If you can keep your hand there for 3-4 seconds, the heat is just right. You can use a grill thermometer to track your grill temperature.
Brush with Oil
Before grilling, brush your vegetables with a little bit of oil to help prevent sticking and to add flavor. Olive oil, avocado oil, or coconut oil all work well.
Don’t use too much oil, as this can cause flare-ups and increase the risk of burning. You can also season your vegetables with salt and pepper at this time. Another great option for an even coating is to use a spray bottle for your oil.
Grilling Times To Be Mindful Of
You do not want to overcook your vegetables as they can easily turn to mush without you even trying. The grilling time for vegetables will vary depending on the size and type of vegetable you’re cooking.
Here are some general guidelines for grilling common vegetables:
- Bell peppers: 8-10 minutes
- Zucchini and summer squash: 8-10 minutes
- Asparagus: 8-10 minutes
- Eggplant: 8-10 minutes
- Portobello mushrooms: 8-10 minutes
- Onion wedges: 10-12 minutes
- Corn on the cob: 10-12 minutes (wrap in foil or leave in the husk for best results)
Remember that these are just guidelines, and actual cooking times may vary depending on the heat of your grill and the size of your vegetables. To make sure your vegetables are cooked to perfection, use a meat thermometer to check for doneness.
A good rule of thumb is to cook vegetables until they reach an internal temperature of 135-145°F.
There are a few different grilling techniques you can use to cook your vegetables to perfection. Each one will give a different result so feel free to try a few options. Here are a few to try:
Direct Grilling: This is the simplest and most common method. Simply place your vegetables directly on the grates and grill, flipping occasionally, until they are tender and slightly charred. This method works well for sturdy vegetables like bell peppers, eggplant, and mushrooms.
Indirect Grilling: This method involves cooking your vegetables away from the direct heat source. This is useful for delicate vegetables like asparagus or zucchini that may burn if cooked directly over the flame.
To indirect grill, place your vegetables on one side of the grill and cook with the lid closed, flipping occasionally, until they are tender and slightly charred. This method includes smoking.
Grilling in Foil: This method is perfect for vegetables that are prone to sticking, like corn on the cob or sliced onions. Simply place your vegetables on a piece of heavy-duty foil, brush with oil, and fold the edges of the foil to create a packet. Place the packet on the grill and cook until the vegetables are tender, flipping occasionally.
Once your vegetables are grilled to perfection, serve them immediately while they’re hot. Grilled vegetables make a delicious and healthy side dish, or you can use them as a base for a hearty salad.
Grilling vegetables is an easy and delicious way to enjoy the flavors of the season. With a little preparation, the right temperature, and a few grilling techniques, you’ll be grilling like a pro in no time.
So, fire up the grill and get started making some of the best-grilled vegetables your family has ever had.