Grills and barbecues may seem like the exclusive domain of hamburgers and hot dogs. But, the BBQ can do much more than cook cuts of meat. It’s also a great place to grill veggies. In fact, you can cook all types of vegetables on the grill with a variety of techniques. It’s a tasty and easy way to prepare your favorite veggies. Learn how to grill vegetables before your next cookout.
Grilled Veggies — A Great Addition To The Barbecue Menu
Cooking your veggies over an open flame imparts a unique and amazing flavor. That’s because food cooked over hot coals or a gas flame comes into direct contact with the heat source. This gives grilled food a caramelized, smokey flavor that can’t be recreated in the pan or oven.1
Plus, cooking over the grill requires very few dishes. Less clean-up means more time enjoying your meal and relaxing.
But, Are Grilled Vegetables Healthy?
Charring food — heavily blackened and crispy and the outside — may create unhealthy chemicals. However, charred is not your goal when cooking on the grill. Simply put, charred food doesn’t taste good. Additionally, veggies do not contain the chemicals that convert to unhealthy substances when charred.2
Besides, you want to cook your food, not burn it. Most food cooked on the grill over indirect heat doesn’t get burned or present any health risks. That means that your veggies will still be good for you — so long as you don’t burn them.3
What Veggies Can You Grill?
When you think about grilled vegetables, you may picture some corn on the cob or a big mushroom. But, you can basically grill any vegetable. Learn more about vegetable sizes and cooking methods in the guide to grilling vegetables below.
These are some of the tastiest vegetables to grill:
- Sweet potatoes
- Romaine lettuce
The Ultimate Guide To Grilling Vegetables
Grilling is a quick and easy cooking method for all kinds of vegetables. But, before you get started, you’ll first want to prep the grill.
Heat And Clean Your Grill
Get your grill hot and ready by starting the coals or turning on the gas flames. Let it heat up for a few minutes, then wipe down the grill racks with a wire brush to remove any old charcoal. You want nice clean grates before adding your veggies.
Do I Need To Soak My Veggies?
You can soak starchy vegetables, like potatoes or broccoli, in a mixture of water and vinegar before you grill them. This may help add moisture so that these veggies don’t dry out during cooking. This is a particularly helpful step if you cook the veggies directly on the grill.4
How To Grill Vegetables
While your grill heats up, you can prepare your veggies. Select a method from the guide to grilling vegetables based on what veggies you have on hand.
Larger Vegetables Cooked Directly On The Grill
This is a tasty and simple way to grill your veggies. It requires very little prep and minimal clean-up. This method is best suited for whole veggies or large vegetable pieces, such as:
- Heartier peppers
- Cuts of eggplant
- Big portobello mushrooms
- Corn on the cob
- Broccoli rabe
- Sprinkle the whole veggies or large pieces with salt and pepper, and brush with olive oil.
- Pick up the veggies with tongs, and place on a medium heat grill. Be sure that the veggies are not directly over the flames.
- Close the lid, and let the veggies cook for around 5 minutes. Then, open the lid, and flip the veggies. Return the cover, and let cook for 2 more minutes.
- Cook until soft, and remove.
Note: As you cook your veggies, they’ll tend to shrink. Keep this in mind as you flip your veggies so that they don’t fall between the grill grates.
Grilled Vegetables In Foil Packets
Foil packs allow you to cook a bunch of veggies together on the barbecue. By using a piece of foil, you can prevent small or diced vegetables from falling through the grate. Plus, the foil pouch can help speed up the cook time and prevent dryness.5
This is a great method for assorted vegetables, like:
- Cubed potatoes
- Baby carrots
- Cauliflower planks
- Diced tomatoes
- Small mushrooms, like cremini mushrooms
- Garlic cloves
- Line a baking tray with heavy-duty foil and drizzle with olive oil.
- Dice your veggies into ¼ inch pieces — about the size of a quarter — and place in a large mixing bowl.
- Toss the diced vegetables with olive oil, and then place on the piece of aluminum foil. Sprinkle everything with salt and garlic powder.
- Wrap the foil up by folding in the sides to create a seal around your vegetables.
- Place this foil pouch on the grill over medium or medium-high heat and cook for about 20-30 minutes. Check that the veggies are soft, and then remove.
Note: You can add a variety of vegetables to a single foil pouch. But, you want to combine veggies with similar cook times. Dense vegetables, like potatoes, carrots, peppers, or sweet potatoes should get cooked together.
Whereas tender vegetables — tomatoes, eggplant, and yellow squash — should be cooked together.
Skewers For Vegetable Kabobs
Vegetable skewers let you cook directly on the BBQ grill without the risk of losing veggies through the cracks. This makes cooking and flipping your veggies quick and easy. It takes a little extra time to prepare, but it produces a delicious and beautiful finished product.
This is great for foods like:
- Bell peppers
- Diced winter squash
- Bell peppers
- Red onion
- Start by soaking your wooden skewers in a bowl of water. This will help keep them from burning.
- Cut your vegetables into large cubes of about ½ inch — or the size of a golf ball. If you cut them too small, they might fall off the skewer during cooking.
- Add the cubed vegetable pieces to a large mixing bowl, and toss with extra virgin olive oil.
- Remove your skewers from the water, and begin adding your veggies. Alternate the veggies each time, so you have an assortment of different vegetables on each skewer.
- Add the skewers around the perimeter of your grill so that they aren’t directly over a flame. You don’t want the veggies or the skewers to burn.
- Cover the grill and cook for 5 minutes. Then, remove the lid and flip the skewers for another few minutes.
- Cook your vegetables until tender but make sure they’re still sturdy enough to stay on the skewer.
Ideas For Serving Your Grilled Vegetables
The bold flavors of grilled vegetables make them an excellent addition to a salad or sandwich. They also go great alongside your other favorite grilled foods, like chicken and beef. Or, you can serve them as the main course with a tasty dressing.
Enjoy Grilled Flavors With Your Favorite Vegetables
The grill is a versatile tool for preparing your vegetables. You can put veggies straight on the BBQ racks, wrap them in foil, or cook them on skewers. No matter what you choose for how to grill vegetables, you can expect delicious results. It’s easy to do and a great way to add nutrition to your next BBQ night. So, fire up those coals, and see what a grill can do for your vegetables.
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