As much as we may hate to admit it sometimes, there’s more to culinary mastery than meat. Even when it comes to grilling. So with summer coming to a close, and harvest season in full swing, now’s the perfect time to have the talk… You really should be grilling your veggies.
It’s not hard — in fact, it’s strikingly easy, especially if you follow these simple rules.
Choose Great Grillable Veggies
Onions, corn, bell peppers, asparagus, carrots, and more. The sky’s the limit when it comes to your veggie-grilling options. Prep your selections by thoroughly washing them, then grouping like vegetables according to the time they take to cook and whether they grill up best over direct or indirect heat.
Get Chopping & Skewering
Slice larger, denser veggies (summer squash, eggplant, cauliflower, etc.) into uniform pieces to ensure even heat distribution and consistent cook times. For smallish, softish veggies like mushrooms or cherry tomatoes, skewering or using a roasting pan will do the trick. Just be sure to soak your skewers for 30 minutes before grilling so the wood doesn’t burn.
Oil, Oil, Oil
Unlike meat, veggies have no natural fat to prevent them from sticking to the grill as they cook. Liberally coat your veggies with olive oil before grilling to prevent this, and to encourage yum-inspiring grill marks. Marinating them for an hour prior to cooking works too (if you’re feeling ambitious and prefer your veggies extra tasty).
Keep Your Eye on the Grill
This is a no-brainer, but it’s worth noting. Grilling vegetables, like grilling meat, requires diligence. Monitor your veggies for doneness, particularly those cooking over direct heat. If they start to look dry or a tad too crispy — move them aside to an indirectly heated portion of the grill or take ‘em off entirely.
Relish the Results
The grilling process causes the natural sugars in veggies to caramelize, adding a unique sweetness to their flavor that’s hard to come by otherwise. Take a moment as you dig in to savor the, ahem, delicious fruits of your culinary labor.
Don’t let meat have all the grilling fun this fall, expand your cookout repertoire by adding some veggies to the mix!
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in September 2016 and has been updated for freshness and comprehensiveness.