As summer finally descends upon us, many are firing up their grills and slapping down big cuts of meat. And while I love a nice grilled piece of meat, grilled vegetables are also at the top of my list. Grilling adds great texture, flavor and color to everyday vegetables and helps to provide a new twist on old favorites. Follow these tips for great grilled veggies.
The most important thing to remember when grilling vegetables is to cut them into large, uniform pieces. This not only ensures that they’ll cook evenly, but larger pieces also have a harder time falling through the grates.
More often than not, vegetables need nothing more than: kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper and extra virgin olive oil. Forget all the fancy marinades and bottled stuff – stick with the basics when it comes to grilling vegetables. Toss or brush the vegetables with a thin, even layer of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. That’s it – you’re ready to go.
Use a medium-high, direct heat when grilling vegetables. To ensure chef looking grill marks, put the vegetables on the grill and don’t move or flip for a few minutes. You’ll know they’re ready to flip when they easily separate from the grill grates when you try to move them. If they stick, they’re not ready to flip.
Some of My Favorites
Zucchini and summer squash: Cut into 1/2 inch rounds, season as directed above and grill 3 – 4 minutes per side, flipping once.
Corn: Remove the husk and silk. Season as directed; grill over medium-direct heat for 12 minutes total, rotating often. Remove from grill and season with butter, salt and pepper. To give it a Mexican twist – season with butter, Parmesan cheese and cayenne pepper.
Mushrooms: Big, meaty portabella mushrooms are great on the grill. Keep them whole, season as directed above and grill for 3 – 4 minutes per side. Even better: Fill portabella mushrooms with a mixture of equal parts cooked Italian sausage, bread crumbs and roasted red peppers. Grill for 5 – 6 minutes on cap side until softened and mixture is warm throughout
Asparagus: Asparagus are great on the grill and so easy to prepare. Trim ends; season with olive oil, salt and pepper. Grill over medium-high, direct heat for 8 – 10 minutes until softened but still al dente. Remove from grill and toss with 1 tbsp of butter.
There you have it. Fire up the grill this summer and wow your guests with veggies that taste just as good as your grilled hunk of meat!