If you’re trying to incorporate more vegetables into your diet, there’s a simple way to make them more appealing: Just fire up the grill.
When certain veggies are cooked over direct heat, their flavours intensify in ways that can’t be achieved through other methods. The slight charring and crisp-tender texture elevate the ingredients to a whole new level. Even if you’ve never before considered using the grill for vegetable dishes, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how easy the process is.
Before we get into the specifics about which veggies work best on the grill, here are a few basic tips:
- If you typically use the grill to prepare several meal components at once, consider investing in a kamado grill. These units often contain more than one tier, giving you the option of creating multiple cooking zones.
- Don’t be tempted to over-season the ingredients before cooking. Their natural flavours will shine through. If you’d like, you can experiment with different dressings and accompaniments once they’re off the grill.
- When it comes to cooking vegetables, less is usually more. It’s better to undercook slightly than to wind up with soggy, limp veggies. Don’t forget that the ingredients will continue to cook for a few minutes after they’re removed from the heat.
- Consider using foil packets for dense root vegetables such as potatoes and yams. This method is more carefree and keeps the butter or oil from dripping into the flames, thereby creating fewer flare-ups.
5 Veggies That Taste Better On The Grill
These tender green stalks are nutritional powerhouses, as they’re fiber-rich and loaded with vitamins A, C, and K. They’re also some of the simplest veggies to prepare for the grill.
To begin, apply gentle pressure to the lower ends of the stalks, closest to the woody tip until they snap. Rinse them well and pat dry with paper towels.
Next, toss the spears with extra-virgin olive oil, kosher salt, and freshly ground black pepper. Grill over a medium-hot fire until they’re bright green and crisp-tender. This should only take a minute or two for the thinnest spears, but thicker ones might take 5-7 minutes.
Season grilled asparagus with a little fresh lemon juice and additional salt and pepper, if necessary. Serve hot.
#2 Baby Marrow (Zucchini)
Baby marrow is rich in antioxidants. It also greatly aids the digestive process, making it the perfect accompaniment to any meal.
To prepare baby marrow for the grill, trim off the ends, then slice lengthwise into planks about 2 centimetres thick. Brush the cut planks lightly with extra-virgin olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt and garlic powder. Grill over medium heat until lightly charred, about 2-3 minutes per side. Sprinkle with vinegar and minced herbs, if desired.
#3 Brinjal (Eggplant)
Another fiber-rich option, and one that can easily stand in as a meat substitute.
For best results, the brinjal should be brined before grilling. Dissolve 2 teaspoons of table salt in 1 cup of warm water, stir until the salt is dissolved, and add an additional 6 cups of cold water.
Peel the brinjal and trim off the ends. Slice lengthwise into discs about 2 centimeters thick. Add the discs to the salt water, weighing them down with a plate to keep them from floating to the top. Let soak for about 45 minutes.
Drain the brinjal discs and pat dry with paper towels. Brush them lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt. Grill over a medium-hot fire until grill marks appear and the flesh is soft and creamy, about 5 minutes per side.
Top each disc with a dollop of basil pesto before serving.
In addition to being delicious, artichokes can help regulate cholesterol levels by boosting “good” (HDL) cholesterol, while lowering the “bad” (LDL) version.
Prior to grilling, artichokes should be partially cooked to ensure tenderness. You can do this by trimming off the tops, slicing the artichokes in half, and dropping them in boiling water for about 15 minutes.
When you’re ready to grill, season the cut artichokes with lemon juice, minced garlic, extra-virgin olive oil, kosher salt, and freshly ground black pepper. Grill over a medium-hot fire for 5-10 minutes, basting with additional oil as needed. Serve hot with mayonnaise or aioli on the side.
#5 Brussels Sprouts
Grilling provides yet another way to enjoy this hearty, antioxidant-rich vegetable. Make sure to choose larger sprouts, so they won’t fall apart on the skewers.
Trim the sprouts of any tough stems or outer leaves. Steam lightly for 3-5 minutes and let cool.
Toss with a mixture of extra-virgin olive oil, dry mustard, smoked paprika, kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper, and a hint of cayenne. Thread the sprouts onto metal skewers, about 1 centimeter apart.
Grill over a medium fire for about 10 minutes, turning the skewers halfway through the cooking process. If your grill has a lid, you can close it during this step. If not, you might want to cook the sprouts for an additional minute or two.
Serve warm. If desired, you can set aside some of the mixture you used for dressing and serve it on the side.
Cooking over an open flame is a wonderful way to bring people together. For these vegetables, it also brings flavours to the fore.