Grilling vegetables during the warmer months can be as quick and easy as grilling meat. If your grill is large enough, you can even grill both simultaneously. With a light, balanced summer meal ready in thirty minutes or less, this method is perfect for busy weeknights and weekends alike.
In this article, we’ll explore which vegetables are best for grilling, the optimal grilling techniques, and some frequently asked questions about grilling vegetables.
Choosing the Right Vegetables for Grilling
Almost every vegetable can be grilled, except for leafy greens. Here are a few favorites:
- Mushrooms, portabello mushrooms, or large brown mushrooms
- Onion, red onion
- Bell peppers, poblano peppers, jalapeño peppers, sweet baby peppers, shishito peppers (sliced)
- Romaine lettuce
Best Techniques for Grilling Vegetables
Make them BIG!
There’s no need for grilling baskets or skewering. Instead, cut the vegetables into large chunks to avoid turning numerous tiny pieces.
- Fresh or frozen vegetables
- Butter or Olive oil – one tablespoon per serving
- Seasoning of your choice
- Aluminum foil
- Tear off a piece of aluminum foil large enough to create a pouch that will hold the vegetables. If using butter that is not at room temperature, spray the foil with cooking spray to prevent sticking and burning.
- Cube fresh vegetables and lay them on the foil. Measure out the number of frozen vegetables you wish to cook. Potatoes cook faster and more evenly when cubed. Diced onion and green pepper add extra flavor as well. Add butter or olive oil. Season vegetables as desired.
- Wrap the foil together to create a “packet” that contains the vegetables and allows you to flip the packet.
- Corn on the cob can be grilled in the husk or husked first and wrapped in foil. If it’s grilled in the husk, have oven mitts or pot holders on hand to aid in husking.
- Place the packet on the top shelf of a cold grill. Cook on high for five minutes while the grill is “preheating” for the meat.
- Turn the gas down to low. Flip the packet and cook for five minutes on each side. Cook the meat simultaneously with the vegetables. Cook for twenty minutes, flipping the vegetable packet in five-minute intervals (timed with the flipping of the meat). When finished, the vegetables will be hot but crunchy. Cook longer if you prefer softer vegetables.
- If the grill has a warming shelf, you can cook the packet for less time. Try it at 5 minutes per side and increase the time if needed.
When your vegetables are done, add additional seasons or garnishments as desired. Butter, sour cream, onions, or bacon bits can add pizazz to otherwise boring veggies.
Having grilled vegetables during warmer months doesn’t require fancy, expensive grilling baskets or skewers. Some aluminum foil and a timer work perfectly.
How Long to Grill Vegetables
Here’s a quick reference for grilling times for various vegetables:
|Artichokes||Boil first for 10-12 minutes, then quarter and grill for 4-6 minutes|
|Bell pepper||Whole for 10-12 minutes; halved for 8-10 minutes|
|Carrot||Boil first for 4-6 minutes, then grill for 3-5 minutes|
|Corn||15-20 minutes in husk|
|Eggplant||5-7 minutes (depending on thickness, leave longer)|
|Portabello mushroom||8-10 minutes|
|Onion Sliced||8-10 minutes; halved 35-40 minutes|
|Green onion||3-4 minutes|
|Tomato||6-8 minutes halved|
Should you marinate vegetables before grilling?
Veggies should be marinated AFTER cooking, not before, because hot veggies absorb flavor much more readily than raw vegetables! While some vegetables, such as mushrooms and eggplants, absorb oil and vinegar, they do not absorb flavor well (such as garlic or herbs) and sweat when exposed to salt, leaving them less juicy and floppy – not ideal for grilling! However, other veggies, such as bell peppers and zucchini, have no benefit from marinating when raw.
Can I cook my vegetables in an oven or a stove?
YES! This is a go-to dish for cleaning the fridge at the end of the week, and roasting is often more convenient than grilling. You can even cook vegetables on the stove, although it might require multiple batches. However, the added flavor from the char and grease of a BBQ undoubtedly makes grilled vegetables taste even better!
Are grilled vegetables healthy?
Yes, grilled vegetables are the healthiest and most delicious way to grill. According to WebMD, grilled vegetables are safe to grill because risk-potential PAHs and HCAs do not accumulate on grilled fruits and vegetables. Vegetables lack fat, which renders and drips onto the grilling element, causing flare-ups to flap back these substances onto the food.
Should you soak the vegetables before grilling?
There is no need to soak your vegetables before grilling (you don’t want them to be mushy or soggy), but some vegetables will perform better on the grill if you briefly boil them beforehand. Examples of vegetables that need boiling are artichokes and carrots.
Do you grill meat or vegetables first?
When grilling vegetables to accompany steak, chicken, or pork on a charcoal barbecue, cook the meat first while the fire is at its hottest. The heat will have cooled slightly when the meat is done, allowing the veggies to cook at a lower temperature while the meat rests.
Why is grilling vegetables healthier than roasting?
Grilling imparts flavors to meals that other cooking methods do not. This healthy cooking method best captures the flavor without needing large amounts of fat, salt, marinades, or sauces, allowing you to reduce your caloric consumption. When vegetables are grilled, they retain more vitamins and minerals.
Do you close the grill when cooking vegetables?
Searing requires an open lid. However, foods thicker than 3/4 of an inch can withstand the heating chamber created by the lid, which will help larger portions of meat or veggies cook more evenly. You’ll avoid an undercooked middle with a crusty, overly browned exterior.
Do you need oil to grill vegetables?
The vegetables do not require oil to prevent sticking to the grill; they do not stick without it. Any oil that falls ignites, and the following flames shoot burnt oil particles back up into your food. Vegetables do not benefit from being oiled.
Are burnt vegetables still healthy?
Most charred veggies are harmless since they lack the components that can result in potentially hazardous carcinogens. Charbroiled meats and darkly browned potatoes, on the other hand, can produce cancer-causing chemicals. Therefore they should not be consumed at every meal.
What temperature do you grill vegetables?
To ensure that the grill is as hot as you want, use the thermometer that came with it or a separate one. You don’t want it as hot as it can get for grilling vegetables; instead, keep it in the medium range. That implies the sweet spot is usually between 400 and 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
How do you soften vegetables before grilling?
Blanch them in hot water until they are semi-tender. Alternatively, finish them in the oven once they’ve reached the desired char level. Vegetables require fat. Fat imparts a buttery quality and increases the flavor.
What oil is good for grilling vegetables?
While butter and olive oil enhance the flavor, the best oil to use is those with high smoke points when cooking, such as vegetable oil, canola oil, pomace oil, rice bran oil, or grapeseed oil.