Farmer’s markets are in full swing at this time of year, and although I do love a salad for dinner, some vegetables are meant to be cooked. Grilling vegetables is an easy way to bring out your harvest’s full flavor without heating up the kitchen.
The best vegetables to grill are those that can stand some heat—and can hold their shape while doing so. Here are some of my favorites:
Cut whole onions into thick wedges or circles, and enjoy the sweetly caramelized results!
Yellow, green, striped—these are quick-cooking, so toss on spears or rounds of these summer staples close to dinner time.
Leave eggplant rounds on the heat long enough so they can get beautiful grill lines and develop their full flavor.
Yes, lettuce! Cut a head into quarters, and grill for a spectacular flavor, with just a hint of bitterness.
Red Bell Peppers
Char whole peppers on the grill, then place in a paper bag to allow the skin to steam away from the fruit. After a few minutes, remove the skin and chop to enjoy a roasted red pepper flavor.
These are best grilled in an aluminum foil pouch, with some chopped onion, fresh oregano, and olive oil tossed in with the chopped spuds. Be sure to flip the packet from time to time to ensure even cooking.
As you might be guessing from these casual tips, grilling vegetables isn’t so much of a recipe as it is a technique. Here are a few more secrets to veggie success:
Use Just Enough Oil
Your goal is to coat each piece of vegetable in canola or olive oil, but not use so much oil it drips into the grill and flames up.
A liberal sprinkle of kosher salt and some grinds of fresh black pepper are just the starting point for perfectly seasoned grilled vegetables. Try fresh or dried thyme or oregano leaves, or granulated garlic for an extra flavor boost.
Plan Your Heat Contact Method
Some vegetables, like potatoes, are best grilled in pouches. Others benefit from grill baskets, like if you wanted to pre-chop your eggplant or zucchini pieces. Direct heat isn’t always the best method—experiment and be creative!
There’s no right or wrong way to cut up vegetables for grilling (though your heat contact method should be a guide). But it is important that pieces be cut to close-to-uniform size (nobody’s perfect!) so the pieces cook in about the same time. Practice your knife skills, and enjoy the tasty rewards!
What are your secrets to perfectly grilled vegetables?