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Grilling Vegetables

Gorgeous Grilled Vegetables

Experiment with fresh veggies on the barbecue - we have the tips and techniques to inspire you!


Fill half your plate with vegetables

It’s easy to eat well in the summer since vegetables are bountiful and at their seasonal best. Make a balanced plate by remembering the simple half-quarter-quarter rule. Make sure the vegetables cover half of your plate; fill a quarter with whole grains and the remaining quarter with protein options such as steak, fish, chicken or tofu.


Marinate your veggies

Add some punch to your vegetables by marinating them in an interesting mix of ingredients for 30-60 minutes prior to grilling. The secret is to use an oil, an acid, and some flavour enhancements.

Here are some delicious combinations to try:

  • Olive oil, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup and wasabi
  • Olive oil, orange juice, marmalade, fresh cilantro and red pepper flakes
  • Sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, soy sauce and minced fresh ginger

Remember to wipe off excess marinade prior to grilling!

  • Canola oil, bourbon, soy sauce, brown sugar and cayenne pepper
  • Olive oil, lemon juice and zest, minced garlic, fresh thyme, salt and pepper

Great for the Grill

These vegetables love the grill. There are so many ways to barbecue them; you won't run out of ideas all summer. Here are a few suggestions for inspiration:

Grilled Asparagus with Aged Cheddar and Marinated Mushroom Salad

Asparagus

Tender asparagus turns bright green, with a slight char, when it’s grilled to perfection. Serve it simply, with salt and pepper and some garlic aioli to dip it in. Or, pair it with cheese in our decadent Grilled Asparagus with Aged Cheddar and Marinated Mushroom Salad.

See the recipe for Grilled Asparagus with Aged Cheddar and Marinated Mushroom Salad.

Potatoes

Potatoes are a hearty, nutritious staple for summer meals. Here’s how to grill them and get amazing results:

 

White and yellow potatoes

For a quick dinner, slice and parboil Russets or Yukon Gold potatoes to speed up grilling time. Then, drain and sear the slices directly on the grill for golden, crispy potatoes - a great side dish for steak or burgers.

New potatoes

Cut potatoes in half or quarters to create uniform pieces and toss them with oil and seasonings. Place in a grilling basket or foil packet and grill over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until fork-tender.

Fingerling potatoes

Cut fingerlings into bite-size pieces and toss with fresh chopped rosemary, thyme, oil and seasonings. Grill in a foil packet over medium heat for 20 minutes until tender, turning every few minutes.

Grilled Peppers

Peppers

Sweet bell peppers are simple to grill. They’re wonderful on their own or in salads, pastas and sandwiches. Our recipe for Grilled Peppers includes a touch of maple syrup!

See the recipe for grilled peppers.

Zucchini

Zucchini is a vegetable that is brought to its absolute best on the grill. This simple recipe for Grilled Zucchini will be one you crave on balmy nights. Citrus brings out the brightness of this summer squash, while fresh basil is the perfect complement.

See the recipe for grilled zucchini.

Grilled Zucchinis

Corn

Corn is probably the barbecue’s most popular vegetable…and for good reason! Grilled corn is sweet and juicy, with a pleasing smoky note. For perfect corn, soak the cobs with the husks on in cold water for a minimum of 30 minutes. Then trim loose strands off husks and place on the grill over medium-high heat. Close the barbecue and grill, turning frequently, for about 20 minutes or until tender.

An alternate way to barbecue fantastic corn is to shuck and parboil the cobs and then set them on a medium grill. Baste often with a blend of melted butter, chopped fresh basil, steak sauce and a bit of hot sauce. The corn will pop and sizzle and char in spots. Delicious!

Portobello Mushrooms

These meaty mushrooms have the perfect texture for grilling. They stand up well to the flames, which coax exquisite flavour from the mushrooms. Try our Grilled Portobellos with Prosciutto as a decadent appetizer or light main course.

See the recipe for grilled portobellos with prosciutto.

Grilled Portobellos with Prosciutto

Onions

These sweet root vegetables caramelize wonderfully on the grill. However, due to their high water content, you have to be careful they don’t completely fall apart and tumble between the grids. A great way to grill onions is to cut thick 3/4 inch slices and then skewer the slices lengthwise. Grill the onions over indirect medium heat, brushing them with a bit of seasoned olive oil and balsamic vinegar while they’re cooking.

Eggplant Salad and Grilled Zucchini

Eggplant

This vegetable really knows its way around a grill. Eggplant’s spongy texture makes it ideal for grilling. Thick slices of eggplant can display golden grill marks beautifully. You’ll love showcasing this succulent barbecued vegetable in our Eggplant Salad and Grilled Zucchini.

See the recipe for eggplant salad and grilled zucchini.


Yes, you should grill these!

Put these summer vegetables on the barbecue for a delicious new taste experience:

 

Lettuce

A bit of time on the barbecue gives romaine a wonderful smoky taste and tender texture. Throw romaine hearts on a medium grill for two minutes – it’s that easy!

See the recipe for grilled Romaine lettuce hearts with warm dressing and roasted tomatoes.

Grilled Romaine Lettuce Hearts with Warm Dressing and Roasted Tomatoes

Cucumbers

The expression may be “cool as a cucumber,” but this versatile veggie can take the heat. Split your cucumbers in half lengthwise, remove the seeds and rub them with some olive oil. Then, throw them on the barbecue on medium heat for about five minutes per side. When they’re slightly browned, remove them from the grill, cut them into sections, and drizzle with a mix of olive oil, lemon juice, chopped fresh mint and salt and pepper.

Refreshing Grilled Radish, Strawberry and Parsley Leaf Salad

Radishes

We’re used to eating spicy radishes raw in salads, but when grilled, they develop a richer, sweeter flavour. This sweetness is perfectly paired with fresh berries in our Refreshing Grilled Radish, Strawberry and Parsley Leaf Salad.

See the recipe for refreshing grilled radish, strawberry and parsley leaf salad.

Cabbage

Grilled cabbage is wonderful! To make it, remove the outer leaves and cut the rest into wedges. Brush cabbage with grapeseed oil and grill for five to seven minutes, until the edges are charred. Turn the wedges over and cook the other side for roughly the same amount of time. Remove the cabbage from the grill when it starts to wilt. Serve with sweet vinaigrette.


Bring out the sweetness of vegetables

  • Barbecuing brings out the natural sugars found in veggies, leaving them a bit caramelized, a bit charred and absolutely delicious.
  • All vegetables can be grilled, but the ones with lower water content tend to turn out the best (corn, peppers, zucchini, asparagus, potatoes, mushrooms, etc.)
  • Grilling vegetables are easy to prepare – just toss them with a bit of olive oil and salt and pepper – and they can cook on the side while your steak is reaching the perfect degree of doneness.
  • They cook quickly – here’s a chart that shows the approximate total time it takes to cook the most popular kinds of veggies on direct medium heat (350-450F), which is recommended:

VegetableCooking Time

Asparagus

6 to 8 minutes

Bell peppers (whole)

10 to 15 minutes

Corn (husked)

10 to 15 minutes

Eggplant (½ inch slices)

8 to 10 minutes

Portobello Mushrooms

10 to 15 minutes

Onion (½ inch slices)

8 to 12 minutes

Potato (whole)

45 to 60 minutes on indirect medium

Potato (½ inch slices)

14 to 16 minutes

Sweet potato (whole)

50 to 60 minutes on indirect medium

Sweet potato (¼ inch slices)

8 to 10 minutes

Tomato (½ inch slices)

2 to 4 minutes

Tomato (halved)

6 to 8 minutes

Zucchini (½ inch slices or halved)

6 to 8 minutes

My Healthy Plate with Metro

The practical rule of thumb of making sure half your plate is filled with vegetables is easier to do in the summertime, when fresh salads and grilled vegetables are abundant. The best vegetables for grilling meaty mushrooms, hearty onions and peppers, and rich eggplant or zucchini. For a fun twist, grill up a halved (lengthwise) romaine lettuce, and use it as the base for a grilled Caesar salad.

Tips for great grilling

Here are seven steps to vegetable grilling greatness:

1Grill what’s in season

When you’re choosing veggies to grill, let nature give you a hand. The best results will come from ingredients that are at their peak

2Prepare your veggies with care

For even cooking, try to cut vegetables into similarly-sized pieces – note that the more surface area you expose to the grill (for example, cutting zucchini lengthwise instead of into coins), the easier it will be for the vegetable to cook

3Dress with good olive oil

Toss veggies with a bit of olive oil and seasonings before they hit the grill. Although other, cheaper oils can work, extra virgin olive oil gives the best flavour. Remember not to use too much oil, as it can cause vegetables to burn.

4Preheat the grill

Get the barbecue nice and hot before grilling. A bas grill will need about 20 minutes to preheat, while a charcoal version may require about 40 minutes. Remember to oil the great or grill topper (if you’re using one) before adding the veggies.

5Add vegetables in order

Think of required cooking times and add the ones that will take the longest to cook to the grill first, adding other quicker-cooking items when required.

6Baste when needed

Vegetables lose a lot of water as they grill, so brushing them with a little oil if they look like they need it.

7Leave them alone

Veggies typically do well on direct medium heat if you don’t turn them too often. Let them have a chance to sear and obtain grill marks before you touch them - this will also discourage them from sticking to the grate.


When are grilled vegetables “done”?

Several different factors play a part in determining the perfect “doneness” of vegetables. Each vegetable is unique and is done to perfection according to its own schedule. Also, personal taste plays a part too, as some people like their veggies softer and more thoroughly cooked than others do. Refer to the chart above as a general guide, but use your eyes to determine perfect readiness. Veggies should have gorgeous, golden brown grill marks and be soft when pierced with a fork.


Tools for the job

It’s always discouraging to helplessly watch as vegetables fall down between the grids of the grate.

Here are some great items that can help to reduce some of that grilling trauma:

Grill Toppers

Stainless steel grill toppers are great investments and are particularly good for grilling vegetables (such as asparagus) and fish. With a grill topper, you can cook smaller vegetables with ease and not have to worry about losing half of them to the flames. Just remember to oil the grill topper as you would the grate itself.

Baskets

A stainless steel basket is another useful tool. There are two kinds, the first of which resembles a bowl-shaped grill topper. This is great for shaking vegetables during cooking to encourage even grilling. The second type is a flatter version that you open up and place the vegetables inside. As it has long handles, it allows you to easily turn and shake the vegetables. Both of these baskets are perfect for mixed grilled vegetables, such as a blend of onions, zucchini, peppers and mushrooms. Add some chopped fresh herbs and give the basket a shake to distribute the flavour.

Skewers

Colourful veggie kebabs are a part of summer! Cooking vegetables on stainless steel skewers allows for a fantastic tableside presentation. Vegetable kebabs work best when the vegetables are cut in larger, similarly sized chunks. Also, if you’re including several different types of veggies on a kebab, try to group together those that require a similar amount of cooking time (see the above chart for guidance). Marinating vegetables for an hour before stringing them onto the skewers adds great taste!

Packets

These are tools you can make yourself! Cooking vegetables in a folded packet made of heavy-duty aluminum foil allows you to steam and grill delicate veggies at the same time. Packets are perfect for green beans or for creating tender sliced potatoes, gently cooked with butter and garlic. The great thing about packets is that you just throw them on indirect heat on the grill and they look after themselves. You can look after preparing the rest of the meal while your vegetables cook. The only thing you have to do is remember timing – you don’t want the veggies to drastically overcook.


How to use leftover veggies

Grilled vegetables are the perfect summer side dish – but they can be used for so much more! Here are our top ways to use up any leftovers:

In pasta

Toss with pasta and grilled chicken or puree the veggies into a wonderful pasta sauce. You can even use grilled vegetables in a pasta salad. They’re also a fantastic addition to Mac’n Cheese.

In a sandwich

Combine the veggies with goat cheese and a balsamic vinaigrette and serve on crusty bread. Delicious!

With eggs

Add your vegetables to a frittata, omelette or quiche

In a stir fry

Add the veggies to your stir fry when it’s almost ready to serve

In a soup

Grilled vegetables are a great addition to a homemade soup – just add them in a the end of the cooking time. They’re also fantastic pureed and used as a base for a gazpacho.

With rice or quinoa

Marinate the vegetables in a seasoned vinaigrette and toss them with nutty rice or quinoa

In a salad

For an interesting contrast of textures, combine fresh and grilled veggies in a salad

In a wrap

Spread a tortilla with hummus and add grilled veggies for a nutritious snack

On pizza

During the last few minutes of cooking, top your pizza with the veggies and sprinkle them with cheese – grill the top of the pizza to melt the cheese

In Mexican food

Whip up some quesadillas, fajitas or tacos for lunch or dinner

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