Summertime, and the livin’ is easy…and the grilling can be too! Being plant-based doesn’t mean missing out on amazing flavorful grilled foods–in fact, there are more vegetables (and fruits!) to throw on the grill than there are meats.
Here are eight tips for making easy grilled vegetables that will take your summer meals from so-so to sizzling.
You can listen to our podcast here or read on for a breakdown of what we discuss on the show!
Let’s Break Out the Veggie Grill!
We’re guessing that most people know about at least a few veg-friendly foods to throw on the grill–veggie burgers, hot dogs, and sausages; portobello mushrooms; corn on the cob; and maybe even eggplant and summer squash. But did you know that you can also grill foods like cabbage, green onions, and edamame? You can–and without a lot of fuss and mess–as long as you follow some simple guidelines. So fire up that veggie grill and let’s get grillin’!
How to Grill Vegetables
1. Uniformity is key to even cooking
Just as with any other cooking method, vegetables for grilling should be about the same thickness and/or size. This will ensure that all pieces take about the same time to cook. One thing to note here–different vegetables require different lengths of time on the grill and different temperatures, so take this into account when planning your grilling. We’ll have some tips about timing and temperature below.
2. Brush or drizzle your vegetables with olive oil
Vegetables that have not been oiled will stick to a hot grill and make a huge mess. After washing your vegetables and cutting them into appropriate-sized pieces (if necessary), place them on a large plate or baking pan with sides and either drizzle with oil or use a pastry brush to lightly coat each piece.
3. Place small pieces on perforated foil or use a grill basket
To keep small vegetables like edamame pods, green beans (yes, you can grill green beans!), and broccoli and cauliflower florets from falling through the grate, place a piece of foil on the grill, poke a few holes with a fork, and spread your veggies out on top. If you plan to do a lot of “micro” grilling, consider investing in a grill basket or cage.
Metal grill baskets are versatile–you can even use them to stir fry on the grill. Cages hold vegetables securely between two grates and typically have long wooden handles, making them great for turning lots of vegetable pieces at once.
4. Have a grill strategy
When I first started grilling, one of the biggest mistakes I made was getting the fire too hot and placing the more delicate food almost directly over the heat which of course, caused it to burn. As I’ve gotten to know my grill better and gotten a bit more skilled, I’ve learned that patience is a virtue when it comes to grilling…even vegetarian grilling!
Since everyone’s grill is a little bit different, it’s important to understand how to control the temperature of the grill. Additionally, placing thinner and more delicate veggies away from the hottest parts of your grill can prevent burning. Placement matters!
Here are some guidelines to help you with grilling times:
5. Season with salt and pepper before grilling
Salt will draw water out of vegetables, which will help keep them from getting mushy (unless you overcook them). Keeping seasonings simple before grilling makes prep faster. You can dress up the taste of your veggies after they come off the grill.
6. Marinated vegetables make great kebabs!
For uber-flavorful veggies right off the grill, marinate whole button or Cremini mushrooms; cubes of zucchini, yellow squash, and eggplant; whole pearl onions, and bell pepper pieces in a mix of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and your favorite herbs. Thread marinated veggies on skewers and grill.
Similarly, you can skewer and grill root vegetables such as carrots, parsnips, and sweet potatoes. The key to kebabs is to only combine veggies that take the same amount of time to cook.
7. Avoid over-handling vegetables
Patience is a virtue; give your veggies time to cook once you place them on the grill. Too much handling can interfere with cooking time while turning only once will result in cool-looking grill marks!
Drizzle finished veggies with olive oil & balsamic vinegar & sprinkle with herbs. Serve warm or room temp.
8. Don’t forget about the stove
No grill? No problem. If you don’t have a grill or you just don’t feel like braving the heat, you can grill up some tasty vegetables on an indoor grill or grill pan. We prefer a well-seasoned cast iron pan to avoid exposure to chemicals found in the non-stick coating of regular pans. Prepping and cooking times are essentially the same when cooking indoors as when cooking on a charcoal or gas grill.
We hope this article has provided you with some great vegetable grilling tips and has inspired you to create your own delicious and nutritious veggie platter!
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Recipe of the Week
Vickie’s Grilled Corn Recipe
- Peel back the husk far enough to remove as much silk as possible. Replace husk.
- Place the corn in a large bowl filled with cold water (I add a few ice cubes). Let soak for a minimum of 15 minutes (I usually soak for 30).
- Remove soaked corn from the bowl and shake out excess water over the sink.
- Place the soaked corn on a medium-heat grill.
- Close the grill cover and cook for 10-15 minutes.
- After 10-15 minutes, rotate the corn ¼ turn and cook for another 10-15 minutes.
- Repeat this until the corn has made a complete rotation.
- Be sure to keep an eye on the corn between rotations to ensure it doesn’t burn.
- Use a fork to test the kernels for tenderness before removing from the grill.
- Once done, remove corn from grill and allow to cool for a few minutes before removing the husks.
- Dress the grilled corn with your favorite seasonings.
Products of the week
Thanks for listening!
Peace and Veggies,
Vickie and Larissa