Best Veggies You Should Try Grilling
Warmer weather and long summer days are the perfect combinations for firing up the grill. Although you can most certainly grill year-round, many people like to take advantage of the outdoors when they have more daylight and fresh produce to use up in favorite dishes. Plus, grilling is an excellent way to avoid being stuck in a hot kitchen while preparing warm meals. Besides, grilling in your backyard pairs well with any social situations.
A lot of people consider the grill as a way to perfect their favorite meats, but it is much more versatile in what it can cook. Many vegetarians are well versed in just how great a grill can make veggies taste, but you certainly don’t have to be one to enjoy some of the best veggies to grill both as your main or side dish!
Why Grill a Vegetable?
First off, why not? Vegetables are an incredible source of vital nutrients your body needs to function properly, and the tender texture and smoky flavors the grill lends can convince the most veggie-avoiding person to try it. Vegetables are also very easy to set up and can be done quickly to serve as appetizers or as a preview of what’s to come, either as a healthy snack, a side dish that cooks quickly as you prep the main course for serving, or even as part of the main course.
Plus, if you have an abundance of harvested produce that you slaved over in the garden by feeding the plants with the right fertilizer and watering them with a carefully adjusted hose nozzle, then you don’t want anything to go to waste. It’s also a great way to take advantage of your harvest while it’s still fresh without getting tired of the same old recipes.
Tips for Grilling the Best Veggies
The great thing about grilling vegetables is the short amount of time preparing them, you can cook them to your personal preference. However, there are a few good tips to consider in achieving the perfect “tender” – it’s timing the grilling to truly infuse them with a smokey char flavor and get the crisp balance of texture.
- Grill over a medium heat somewhere around 350 to 400-degree Fahrenheit. This will help allow their internal moisture to tenderize without drying them out too much, or you can keep them over the fire longer for better flavor.
- If you aren’t cooking over a grill mat, be sure to cut your veggies with enough surface area to keep it from slipping through the grate. You also want to maximize the surface area to increase its exposure to the grill for a better char.
- Use a thin coating of vegetable or olive oil and a small amount of salt and pepper. This will help keep them from sticking, sealing in moisture, and adding more flavor.
- Vegetables cook fast so keep them moving to avoid the hot spots on the grill and have them linger long enough to get a good grill mark on either side. If you have a fire that is too hot, this will happen quickly, and your veggies won’t be very tender. Each vegetable will cook slightly differently.
This vegetable is one of the healthiest you could eat. It’s high in fiber, which is great for our gastrointestinal tract, and the skin contains antioxidants that can help the lipids (fats) associated with proper brain function.
When grilling, you can leave the skins on and cut them in crosswise or in long pieces. The key is to make sure the pieces are thick, so they don’t fall apart when grilling. All you need to do is brush them with olive oil and fresh garlic. If you want to be quick, just use garlic powder, which is always a great alternative.
Part of the cruciferous family, cauliflower also packs a healthy punch of vitamins and minerals. It also includes fiber, soluble sugars, and antioxidants. They are delicious too, especially when grilled.
When preparing them, cut them into thick steaks, as opposed to florets. If you bought a package where they are already cut into florets, then us a skewer. Don’t forget to soak the skewers before grilling. Twenty minutes should be good.
Coat them with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Garlic and crushed red pepper flakes bring out great flavors in grilled cauliflower as well. Just be sure if you like them well done, that they don’t start breaking and falling through the grate.
This is a great alternative to the white potato. All you need to do with these are to wash the outside skin and throw them right on the grill. Once a fork inserts easily into the potato it’s done. Open it up and add a little salt and pepper. Garlic powder brings out a nice flavor too.
If you want to get creative, you can cut the sweet potatoes into cubes and coat with olive oil, salt, pepper, cayenne pepper (not a lot), and garlic powder. Put them into a cast iron pan and put it on the grill. The sweetness of the potato mixed with the saltiness and the spice will be heavenly.
On a healthy note, sweet potatoes are chock full of beta-carotene and vitamin A.
There isn’t a dash of pepper that you can’t grill as long as it’s big enough to stay on the grate and not fall into the coals. Grilled bell peppers are delicious on a skewer with onions and white button or baby Bella mushrooms. Whole jalapeños are amazing grilled and can be served whole, chopped into salads or toppings, and can even go great with cheese.
Red bell peppers can be thrown on the grill whole. Let them char and then cool. Once they are cool to touch, peel them, and cut out the seeds. Coat them with olive oil, a little salt, pepper, and garlic powder, and you have a perfect topping for toasted vegan bread.
Peppers are amazing and add flavor to everything they touch. They vary in levels but all peppers are full of vitamin A and C, folic acid, potassium, and fiber.
This is another vegetable that has a lot of variety. Shiitake and oyster mushrooms might need a pan due to their small size, while baby Bella and white button mushrooms would work best with a skewer. Portabella mushrooms should fit right on your grill whole since they have a nice, flat shape. Mushrooms benefit from olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder when grilling.
Mushrooms contain selenium which is good for your bladder and is a great source of vitamin D.
Cabbage is a favorite for all sorts of reasons, but mainly because it provides both a crunch and melts in your mouth with enough savor depending on how you prepare it. Plus, it truly infuses with the spices you use it with. To grill, cut into cabbage steaks so it holds its form well, brush with olive oil and sprinkle with whatever savory spices, salt, and pepper you are craving.
These make a great main meal served with other various sides, plus it is chock full of Vitamins K, C, and folate- just to name a few!
Onions are also a favorite when grilled and can be cut lengthwise to create a large surface area for a burger topping. It can be chopped into a salad, mixed with pasta, or even eaten as it! A little oil and garlic salt to infuse and add an extra zing!
They also are full of vitamin C and are an excellent source of fiber and folic acid!