I could eat these easy grilled vegetables every day. And in the summer, we almost do. Sometimes it’s just one type (green beans rise to new height done this way!) or a couple (zucchini and onion), but most of the time we grill a variety.
And you know that if I love something, you will be hearing about it sooner or later- so today I’m happy to share how we grill vegetables, so you can eat them everyday, too.
We used to just grill slices of single vegetables – you know, slice the zucchini (or tomato, or onion…), carefully place them on the grill, and turn them with tongs until they were ready to eat. It usually took up a lot of room and was more work.
Then one day last summer we found a grill basket in the back of a cupboard that Brian’s folks had given us and decided to grill up a few vegetables with it.
Oh. My. It was love – deep love – at the first bite. Why had this been sitting in our cupboard for so long? Who knows, and who cares, because this basket is in almost daily use during the grilling season.
It’s basically the summer version of roasted vegetables – and so easy I’ve hesitated to post a recipe (which is more like a “how-to” since you adjust it to whatever you’d like). But I want everyone to be able to taste vegetables cooked this way, so I’m going to put it down in black and white for you.
And if you’re anything like me, you’ll want to thank me later.
With a grilling basket (a wok-like “pan” with holes), you can chop vegetables into bite-sized pieces without worry – as long as they are bigger than the holes they won’t fall through the grill. Here’s one like ours I found on Amazon (and yes, it’s an affiliate link):
After the vegetables are chopped (it’s best to make them about the same size as you’re able), just toss them with some olive oil, salt, pepper, LOTS of garlic, and some red pepper flakes for a bit of spiciness.
This is perfect for using up handfuls of veggies- either as they’re ripening from the garden, or what you need to use up from the fridge. This time my bowl contained both- just a few mushrooms and a red pepper from the fridge plus onion, cauliflower (it’s the orange “Cheddar” variety), zucchini, green beans, carrots and potato from the garden.
I don’t usually add potatoes, but I had just harvested some that I wanted to use up, and in order for these, the cauliflower, and the carrots to be done in the same amount of time as the other vegetables, I microwaved them with water to steam for a few minutes – just until they were crisp-tender. I sliced the potatoes pretty thin, but I should’ve pre-cooked them a bit more, because they still took longer than I wanted.
Brian is the griller in the family and he has found the best way to cook them is to start them over high heat for a few minutes without stirring. This seems to get some of the juices cooked out and starts the nice charring effect.
Then he stirs them around a bit, closes the lid and lets them cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes until they are nicely browned and cooked through (though still crisp), with spots of wonderful, grilled-marked goodness.
On this day, I served them on a tortilla with shredded jack cheese and called them “Grilled Vegetable Wraps.” And we didn’t even miss the meat.
Easy Grilled Vegetables (With Variations)
- About 4 cups of any vegetables, chopped or sliced (depending on the type) into roughly equal pieces
- About 2 Tb. olive oil
- 1 Tb. minced garlic (3-4 large cloves)
- Salt and pepper
- 1 tsp. red pepper flakes (or to taste, and of course it’s optional, but so good…)
- optional: herbs and seasonings (Italian, chili powder, onion powder, etc.)
- Combine all the vegetables in a large bowl as they are chopped. If using any “hard” vegetables like potatoes, carrots, and cauliflower, steam them until tender-crisp first.
- Toss the vegetables with the remaining ingredients.
- Add to a grill basket over high heat in a grill that’s been preheated. Evenly distribute them, cover the grill and let them sit without stirring for a few minutes (this will be less if making only a few cups of veggies, more if the basket is full – you get the idea) to help the juices evaporate.
- Stir them around, close the lid again and cook for about 10 minutes stirring occasionally. This may be less depending on the vegetable (especially single, smaller vegetables like green beans) – keep a good watch on them, as with any grilled foods.
- Taste for tenderness when they are starting to char and look cooked through, adjusting cooking time as necessary.
- Serve them as a side, over rice, in pasta, or lining a tortilla- they are so versatile!
- For an Asian flavor add some sesame oil and soy sauce instead of the olive and salt. And for spiciness, our favorite Sriracha sauce adds a nice bite.
- For a Middle-Eastern or Thai flavor try adding a teaspoon or so of curry powder and tossing them with a can of coconut milk after they’re grilled and serve over rice.
- Purposely make extra to have enough to add to a pasta salad the next day.
How would you use these vegetables?