Our Universal Guide to Grilling Vegetables
This is the perfect refresher anyone looking to prep and grill. Maybe you are looking to grill a range of vegetable types at once or just one, either way we will guide you through the dos and don'ts of what’s required for a great cook out. We will also guide you through what to do after your finished grilling.
Let’s start by going through how to prepare certain types of vegetables before they are placed on the grill. The more surface area you allow the vegetables to get charred grill marks, the more flavor you're going to pack in. This will also make it easier for the grill master to handle and move the veg around the grill.
First bell peppers; they need to be de-seeded and quartered. Onions, start by peeling them and quartering them through the root, this will help prevent them splitting apart, which can cause burning on the edges. Squash and zucchini both need to be cut length wise and sectioned into nice meaty chunks, think rectangular chunks of steak. Mushrooms, remove the stalk and then grill the whole cap, or if it is too large, cut in half; use your own judgment on this one. Finally tomatoes, the perfect tomatoes for the grill are small and on the vine, these are ideal for what you are trying to achieve and the stalk helpful for removing the whole bunch post grilling in one lift. Don't forget the first thing is to have a clean grill, then you need to brush down all your veg with an oil of your choice. This is all to prevent sticking and will save you a headache on the day.
Cooking Times? How long do Vegetables take on the Grill?
To begin with, the size and shape is going to play a massive factor in cooking times, also most grills will have hot spots and cooler spots which is something we will use to our advantage. Basically your meatier and larger veg will be placed on the hot spots and lighter vegetables, more prone to burning, will be placed outside in the cooler spots. What you will want to do is leave the hardier meatier chunks undisturbed for three to four minutes to get great grill marks before flipping. Bell peppers and onions take eight to ten minutes to cook. Squash, zucchini, eggplant and mushroom will take seven to eight minutes to grill. Asparagus, green onions and tomatoes on the vine four to six minutes. The initial three to four minutes to get your grill lines are included in these overall grill times.
Don't be afraid to move your veg about the grill if they are becoming too brown or not cooking at the same speed as the others. Try and get a feel for your grill; using your tongs and spatula to move things around is easier and will cause less damage, which will prevent the vegetables from falling apart.
How to Serve your Grilled Vegetables
Grilled vegetables just need a dash of salt, a squeeze of lemon and a drizzle of olive oil to bring out their natural flavors and freshness. Make sure to do this straight off the grill because the heat will help with absorption. Feel free to make a dressing or chimichurri, even a homemade pesto would be great to smother your freshly grilled veg with.
Don’t throw anything away, there are many uses for leftovers. They can be a perfect addition to a salad, a pizza topping or made into a healthy mid-week pasta dish. It’s up to you to come up with creative ideas; remember we are trying to add additional healthy, fresh vegetables to our diet.
6 Essentials for Home Grilling
- Instant read thermometer, While these aren't a must have for vegetables, they are essential for grilling season. There are many on the market that can synch with your phone or more basic ones that have a digital read out.
- Heavy-duty tongs. If you invest in a good pair of tongs it will pay dividends while you are grilling.
- A grate for your grill. This traps juices in its grooves where they burn off and flavor your food. They also prevent flare-ups.
- Charcoal baskets. Charcoal baskets will give you complete control on where the low and high temperature heat spots are on your grill. This will take your grilling game to the next level and really impress your guests.
- A veggie basket. This is a must have for grilling vegetables. It improves cooking times and massively reduces mess. Also, if you have guests with certain dietary requirements it will keep the vegetables from touching any meat on the grill.
- A good cleaning tool. There are many on the market place and investing in something top of the range will save you a lot of time. Remember the job isn't done until the area is clean and it will be so much nicer to come to a clean grill the next time you come to use it.