The Best Vegetables for Grilling
One of the many joys of summer is that in order to make a meal all you
truly need to do is pull out the grill, rub some meat and throw a few
vegetables in the mix. Everyone knows what meat goes best on the grill;
ribs, steaks, chicken, burgers, fish, pork. But what’s a meal without
some veggies? Grilling is an easy and delicious way to cook your veggies
if you know the basics.
We’ve put together a handy guide to give you the some tips to make the most of your veggies on the grill. There are three ways to grill any vegetable – directly on the grill, on top of tin foil or in a veggie basket. Some of these work much better than others depending on the vegetable you are grilling. Grilling vegetables directly on the grill will give you those highly sought after grill marks (more on that later), grilling your vegetables on top of tin foil will cook your vegetables but they won’t be as crispy and using a vegetable basket will make your veggies crispy but they won’t have grill marks (use this for small pieces that would otherwise fall through the grate). Some people will argue that one way or another is better but in my opinion there’s no wrong way to grill some vegetables!
Eggplant is one of those vegetables that most people aren’t quite sure what to do with. Of course you can add it to a dish like our Grilled Vegetable Pasta, but you can also enjoy it by itself. Grilled eggplant is one of my favorite vegetables to prepare for friends because they would not do it on their own. More often than not they can’t believe that what they’ve just eaten could be so healthy.
The key to cooking eggplant is to get the outside crispy, while keeping the inside creamy and sweet. To do this we recommend cutting your eggplant however you would like to grill it and then soaking it in salt water for 30 minutes. This tightens and firms up the flesh, making it less likely to absorb oil. It also draws out juices which will make older eggplants taste less bitter. Brush oil onto your eggplant and then sprinkle seasonings to flavor before placing it on the grill. Our Pennsylvania Pepper, which is a good all around pepper, and Smoky Citrus Salt bring out the flavor wonderfully. Cook your eggplant for about 5 minutes on a medium high grill and then flip and repeat. When grilling, try not to flip your vegetables more than once.
Grilled asparagus is one of my favorite summertime vegetables. One reason is because the flavor is so unique and can be added to enhance the flavor of almost any dish. I also love asparagus by itself as a side dish like our Marinated Asparagus with Red Pepper.
There are a few ways to grill asparagus, but because of its tougher texture we recommend marinating it for a few hours before placing it on the grill. This way the asparagus has time to absorb the flavors and will give you the perfect texture when finished. Sprinkle some Pennsylvania Pepper or Smoky Citrus Salt on your asparagus and heat your grill to medium high then place the asparagus on it. Cook for about 10 minutes checking and flipping every 3 – 4 minutes to make sure that one side does not get too much direct heat.
Grilled Zucchini is another vegetable that is delicious by itself or can be incorporated in a meal or sandwich such as our Grilled Vegetable Sandwich. If you’re looking to make zucchini as a side dish try our Cumin Seasoned Grilled Zucchini as a delicious addition to a meat or vegetation dish.
Similar to eggplant, zucchini follows the same rules when it comes to grilling. Cut your zucchini into disks or lengthwise depending on your taste. For best results soak your zucchini in salt water before oiling and seasoning it with our Pennsylvania Pepper or Smoky Citrus Salt. Place your cut zucchini on a medium high heat grill and cook for about 5 minutes before flipping. Once again try to only flip your veggies once to get nice distinct grill marks.
You can find grilled corn at almost any BBQ or cookout during the summer months and there are a few reasons why. When corn is in season you can find it almost anywhere – the grocery store, farmers market or even a roadside stand. You can’t really go wrong when cooking corn, but for an idea on how to grill it check out our Grilled Corn Recipe. Also, corn is the only vegetable that I’ve heard of being cooked in a cooler. This method is extremely effective for cooking corn for large crowds when you don’t have more than one grill on hand.
When it comes to grilling corn, peel back the husks and remove the corn silk. Coat your corn in butter and whatever seasonings you would like to use for flavor and recover the corn with its husk. Some of our favorite seasonings for corn are Chili Lime Seasoning and Manzanillo Mexican Seasoning. Now place your corn on a medium high grill turning every 4 or so minutes. You will be able to tell when a side of your corn is cooked when you see grill marks on the husk.
The possibilities are endless when it comes to cooking potatoes. They can be mashed, smashed, baked, fried, grilled or any other way you can possibly think to cook them. So many different seasonings go well with potatoes and our favorite way to prepare them is by making Grilled Camping Potatoes with Chimichurri.
There are two main ways to cook potatoes on a grill. Whole potatoes can be cooked on a grill for 30 – 40 minutes or microwaved for 3 minutes on each side and then placed on the grill for 10 minutes. Make sure to cut a small slit in each potato so that steam is able to escape. It is also helpful to brush melted butter on the outside of each potato and flavor with seasoned salt to get a nice crispy potato skin.
Another way that potatoes can be prepared on a grill is in chunks, like in our Grilled Chicken, Potato and Asparagus Salad. For this to be successful you need either a vegetable basket for your grill or a piece of tin foil large enough for all of the potato chunks to lay flat on the grill (not in a pile). If you are using tin foil make sure to spray it with oil so your potatoes don’t stick and drizzle either butter or oil on your potatoes and top with seasoning, like our Manzanillo Mexican Seasoning. If using a vegetable basket, drizzle your potatoes with butter or oil and top with seasonings before placing them in the basket to avoid dripping oil into the flame. If using tin foil, flip your potatoes every 3 – 4 minutes until the inside turns a golden brown.
Now that you know how, go add some veggies to your favorite summertime meals!