The weather is getting warmer and that means it’s time to take the cover off your outdoor grill and start enjoying delicious grilled foods. Of course, you can also enjoy grilled foods indoors all year long by using a grill pan.
Grilling is an easy way to make veggies taste incredible. Their natural flavors concentrate while the veggies become tender with a bit of smoky goodness. Whether you’re having an outdoor cookout or an indoor feast, here is how to make the best grilled vegetables you’ve ever tasted.
1. Choose Your Veggies
Which vegetables can you grill? Pretty much, you can grill all of them. You just want to prep your veggies so they cook evenly and don’t fall through the grates of your grill. Smaller pieces will cook more quickly than larger pieces so try and cut your veggies consistently so they all cook at the same time. If the veggies are small, you can either put them on skewers or use a grill basket so they don’t fall through the grates. Round vegetables like onions or eggplant can be cut into thin “rounds” or halved. Bell peppers can be cut into strips or halves like this Grilled Eggplant with Ginger Dressing. Long veggies such as asparagus, scallions, mushrooms, and corn on the cob can be grilled whole.
2. Helpful Holders
Small, round veggies are a challenge since they can roll right off the grill. So are small veggies like green beans that can fall through the grates. Using accessories like baskets, skewers, and foil can help. One solution for food that won’t sit still is a grill basket. Just place the veggies in the basket and sit the basket on the grill. If you don’t have a grill basket, you can make one with heavy-duty foil. Just fold a piece in half and crimp up the edges to make the lips of the basket. Similarly, you can make foil packets for your veggies. Lightly coat a long piece of foil with cooking spray. Place thinly sliced vegetables on the foil and fold the edges over and pinch them together, making a packet. Place the packet on the grill. Cover the grill and cook until the vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes. Indoors, you can use this same method in the oven or broiler like this Roasted Carrot and Beet Salad With a Lemon Confit Dressing. Be careful when you open the packet because a lot of hot steam will escape.
Skewers are a third way to keep your veggies on the grill. Plus, everyone loves food served on a stick. Read Tips for Amazing Summer Skewered Food for detailed instructions on how to make delicious skewered food like these Tangy Mushroom Skewers.
3. Marinades and Seasoning
While veggies have natural flavors, you still want to enhance those flavors with marinades and seasoning. Grills are hot and veggies can dry out from the heat so you at least want a light coating of oil on the veggies or in the marinade. Let the prepped food sit in a marinade for at least 15 minutes to absorb the flavors and brush some more on during cooking and right before serving for an added flavor boost. Learn all about how to make awesome marinades in The Ultimate Guide to Making Flavor-Packed Marinades for Plant-Based Dishes.
You also want to have a bunch of spice rub and barbecue sauce recipes at your disposal. Spice rubs are simple, just mix together your favorite herbs and spices. Get ideas and recipes in How to Make Your Own Spice Blends and How to Make Your Own Spice Blends and Curry Pastes. When it comes to barbecue sauce, homemade is best. Check out How to Make Amazing BBQ Sauces with 7 Ingredients or Less and for more help with all types of seasoning, read 10 Ways to Make Awesome BBQ Sauces, Rubs and Marinades for lots of delicious seasoning ideas. Before you know it, you’ll be making amazing dishes like this Grilled Marinated Tofu Sandwich and Grilled Tempeh with Filipino BBQ Sauce.
4. How to Grill Anywhere
Having an outdoor cookout is practically required with the warmer weather. Here are some simple tips: brush a bit of oil on any equipment that comes in contact with the food so it doesn’t stick and tear. Arrange your food in a single layer on the grate with some space between the pieces. Crowding the food will cause them to steam and get soggy. Turn the veggies perpendicular to the grates so they don’t fall through. You only need to cook over medium heat so you don’t end up with charred food. Flip often and keep basting with oil or your delicious marinade. When the food is tender and has beautiful grill marks like these Mediterranean Grilled Chickpea-Stuffed Avocados, it’s done and ready to eat.
But what if it’s raining or you don’t have an outdoor grill? No problem, you can grill indoors with an electric grill or a grill pan on the stovetop. Heat up the grill and spray with a bit of oil. Then add the food to the pan, turning them so they get grill marks. If your grill pan is large enough, you can even cook skewered food on it like this Tofu Satay.
5. Grilling Specific Vegetables
Here is a simple guide to grilling specific vegetables that may come in handy.
Artichokes: Cut in half lengthwise, press down on them to spread the leaves open. Rub with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Cook them 15-20 minutes per side or until the base is tender.
Asparagus: Roll spears in olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. They can be placed in a grill basket or perpendicular to the grates. Cook 5-10 minutes, turning every few minutes until tender.
Bell Peppers: Cut bell peppers into large squares so they don’t fall through the grill. Remove the seeds and ribs. Cook on each side for 4-5 minutes until charred.
Broccoli: Cut the broccoli into large florets and pre-cook them by steaming them until they are bright green. Rinse them under cold water to stop the steaming process. Marinate the florets or brush with oil and grill, turning them often, until they are charred in spots. This can take up to 8 minutes.
Carrots: Peel and cut the carrots in half lengthwise. Brush with oil or marinade and grill for about 10 minutes, flipping them, until charred and tender.
Corn: You have a choice with corn – you can cook it with or without the husk. To cook corn with the husk: leave the stem and husk on. Pull back the husk, remove the silk, and soak for 15 minutes in cold water. Then carefully pull the husk back up, smoothing and twisting it if necessary so it stays closed. Grill for 20-30 minutes, turning the corn several times. To cook corn without the husk: peel and husk the corn. Soak it in cold water for 30 minutes. Wrap the corn in foil and grill for about 30 minutes, turning often.
Eggplant: Cut eggplant in half lengthwise or into rounds. Brush with oil and grill 4-5 minutes on each side until tender.
Fennel: Remove the stalks and cut the fennel bulb in half lengthwise, Keep the root attached so it doesn’t fall apart. Brush with oil or marinade and grill for 6-8 minutes per side.
Green Beans: Green beans should be cooked in a basket so they don’t fall through the grate unless they are large enough to sit perpendicular to the grate. Toss with oil or marinade and grill, rolling the green beans to cook on all sides. Grill for 7-8 minutes or until tender with charred spots.
Leeks: Cut the white portions in half lengthwise and wash them well in warm water to get out any grit or dirt. Brush with oil and grill for about 5 minutes per side, longer if they are really big.
Mushrooms: Mushrooms can be grilled whole after removing the stems. Brush with oil or marinade and grill for up to 10 minutes, depending on size. Turn frequently and brush more marinade on during cooking to keep them from drying out.
Onions: Peel and cut the onions into ½-inch thick rounds. Brush with oil or marinade and grill until tender, about 10 minutes.
Potatoes: Potatoes take a long time to cook so you might want to pre-cook them by boiling or steaming them first until they are softer but still firm. Let them cool completely and then cut them into thick rounds or cubes. Brush with oil or marinade and grill until browned, about 10-12 minutes.
Summer Squash and Zucchini: Cut into halves, rounds or oblong slices for the grill, cubes for skewers. Brush with oil or marinade and grill both sides until tender and charred, 5-8 minutes per side.
Now that you know everything there is to know about grilling, you’ll need some recipes to try out. We have plenty! You’ll love this Curry with Tofu and Grilled Vegetables, Grilled Black Bean and Pumpkin Burgers, Grilled Artichoke and Quinoa Lettuce Wraps, Grilled Avocados with Roasted Tomatoes, and this Hot n’ Spicy Mexican Street Corn. Love kebabs? Then you’ll definitely want to make these Pineapple Island Kebabs, Spicy Balsamic Tofu Kebabs, Tofu Vegetable Kebabs with Peanut Sauce, Piquant Tempeh Kebabs, Spring Vegetable Kebabs with Orange Sesame Dressing, Grilled Seitan Kebabs with Creole Coconut Sauce, and these Grilled Fruit Skewers.
For even more grilling recipes, check out these 50 Jaw-Dropping Vegan-Friendly BBQ and Grilling Recipes, Fire Up the Grill With These 15 Savory and Saucy Vegan BBQ Dishes, How to Make Vegan Sausages That Can Hold Up on the Grill, and 10 Epic Veggie Burgers to Throw on the Grill Now.
Grilled food is so good with that smoky, deep flavor, you shouldn’t wait for summer to enjoy it. With these tips, you’ll be able to grill all your favorite foods indoors and out, all year long.
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Lead Image Photo: Mediterranean Grilled Chickpea-Stuffed Avocados