Many people get into grilling for the wonders it works on meat. However, grilling vegetables can be just as rewarding. If you have friends or family that don’t eat meat, it’s a great way to get them in on the fun. Even if you don’t, grilled vegetables are delicious and will make your meals healthier and more satisfying.
If you’re new to grilling vegetables, here are 5 tips to get you started.
1. Pre-Cook the Vegetables
Vegetables can take a long time to grill. It may depends on the vegetable in question, but in general, it helps to pre-cook them. You can boil them to get them started and softened up.
You may also want to toss your veggies with olive oil. This will prevent them from burning and sticking to the grill, and it can enhance the flavour, which leads to the next tip.
Marinating is usually associated with meat, but it works great with vegetables as well. You can even use the same marinade you use for meat. This works best if they’re being served with the meat.
Typically, the marinade commonly used for vegetables is similar to salad dressing. Actually, it often is salad dressing. Vinaigrette is a great one. Raspberry vinaigrette can add a nice sweet tone to them. An easy place to start would be to use your favourite salad dressing. Different dressings will create different flavour profiles which makes it a great way to experiment and find interesting recipes.
In general, you want to marinate them for around 30 minutes. If you’re dealing with very soft vegetables like broccoli, then you may want to shorten the time to around 10 minutes or they will get soggy.
Don’t overlook the power of butter. Taking a slice of butter and letting it simmer into the vegetables can go a long way to enhancing their flavour. Also, simply sprinkling some salt and pepper is another easy way to improve the dishes.
3. The Temperature is Important
For vegetables, grilling with medium to medium-high heat is usually best. This means somewhere in the 375° to 450° F range. If they cook too fast, the outsides may burn, and the insides may be undercooked. If the temperature is too low, they’ll cook slow and may end up undercooked. Medium-high heat will leave them browned on the outside and tender on the inside.
This isn’t a universal truth, but it is a good rule to follow in general. Some vegetables, like potatoes, are denser than most and will require different temperatures.
Of course, even with the perfect temperature, you have to watch them closely. Vegetables can burn before you realize what has happened. Using a thermometer can be just as useful with vegetables as it is with meat.
4. Slice Them Thin
When you’re boiling or steaming vegetables, the heat encompasses the entire vegetable. This means that you can just put them in whole and they will cook evenly. However, when you’re grilling, the fact that only one side is receiving heat at any given time means your vegetables need to be sliced to grill evenly.
Some vegetables, like asparagus, can be cooked whole. Most of them though, like tomatoes, mushrooms and onions need to be sliced. They don’t have to be super thin, just thin enough to grill evenly.
5. Serve Them with Complementary Foods
There are a lot of ways to mix and match vegetables. Kebabs are a simple way to serve a variety of vegetables, and it works with a lot of combinations. Simply mix vegetables and meat to make either an appetizer or a whole meal.
Along with mixing vegetables on the grill, consider different dishes to make the most out of them. For example, a common North African dish mixes couscous with vegetables and meat. The couscous has a soft texture that synergizes well with vegetables. There are a ton of other interesting dishes.
Grilling vegetables can be just as worthwhile as grilling steaks. Follow these tips, find the right vegetables and recipes, and grill some delicious food.
About the author: Annabelle Carter Short is an experienced writer, editor, proofreader, blogger, teacher and photographer. She likes to cook, sew, and she’s very passionate about healthy food that tastes delicious. She loves designing new healthy recipes in her kitchen. She writes for seriouslysmoked.com.