I don’t usually post two recipes in a row, but I’m sneaking this update of our classic grilled vegetables in because we seriously eat these almost daily in the summer. And this needed an update since being published almost 4 years ago – it’s near and dear to my heart and I wanted to bring it to your attention again. Especially check out the flavor variations in the recipe and how you can plan two meals from one!
I could eat these easy grilled vegetables every day – and we almost do in the summer. Sometimes it’s just one type of vegetable (green beans rise to new heights done this way!) or a couple (zucchini and onion are summer constants), but most of the time we grill a variety, using what we have in the fridge or coming in from the garden.
We used to just grill slices of single vegetables – you know, slice the zucchini (or tomato, or onion…), carefully place them on the grill, and turn them with tongs until they were ready to eat. It usually took up a lot of room and took more attention and care. Not to mention mushy zucchini (uck), lost onion rings, or whole tomatoes sunk into the grates.
Then one day last summer we found a grill basket (similar to this one, but with a long handle) in the back of a cupboard that Brian’s folks had given us and decided to use it to grill a couple cups of cut vegetables with it that needed to be used. Oh, my. It was love – deep love – at the first bite. Why had this been sitting in our cupboard for so long? Who knows, and who cares, because this basket is in almost daily use now.
It’s basically a summer version of roasted vegetables – and so easy I’ve hesitated to post a recipe (which is more like a “how-to” since you can adjust it to whatever you’d like). But I want everyone to be able to taste how amazing vegetables are cooked this way, so I’m going to put it down in black and white for you.
Gather all the vegetables you have on hand – this is perfect for using up odds and ends. This bowl included half a cheddar cauliflower, an onion, a pepper, a zucchini, carrots, a few small red potatoes, and some yellow and green beans. With a grilling basket (a wok-like pan with holes- here’s a round version with a long handle), you can chop vegetables into bite-sized pieces without worry – as long as they are bigger than the holes they won’t fall through.
After the vegetables are chopped (it’s best to make them all about the same size as you’re able), toss them with some olive oil, salt, pepper, LOTS of garlic, and some red pepper flakes for a bit of spiciness. Or just sprinkle the mixture with our basic spice rub and call it good (I do this a lot because its easy!).
Note: I don’t usually add potatoes, but I had some that I wanted to use up, and in order for these, the cauliflower, and the carrots to be done in the same amount of time as the other vegetables, I microwaved them with water to steam for a few minutes – just until they were crisp-tender. I sliced the potatoes pretty thin, but I should’ve pre-cooked them a bit more, because they still took longer than I wanted.
I usually prep the vegetables and happily pass them to Brian to do the grilling – he has found the best way to cook them is to start them over high heat for a few minutes without stirring. This seems to get some of the juices cooked out and starts the nice charring effect. Then he stirs them around a bit, closes the lid and lets them cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes until they are nicely browned and cooked through (though still crisp), with spots of wonderful, grilled-marked goodness.
You know what? Vegetables are so good this way that I sometimes serve them on a tortilla with shredded jack cheese and call them “Grilled Vegetable Wraps.” We don’t even miss the meat- and that’s saying something with my family.
- About 4 cups of any vegetables, chopped or sliced (depending on the type) into roughly equal pieces
- About 2 Tb. olive oil
- 1 Tb. minced garlic (3-4 large cloves)
- Salt and pepper
- 1 tsp. red pepper flakes (or to taste, and of course it's optional, but so good...)
- optional: herbs and seasonings (Italian, chili powder, onion powder, etc.)
- **OR a couple teaspoons of a good, basic spice rub**
- Combine all the vegetables in a large bowl as they are chopped. NOTE: If using any "hard" vegetables like potatoes, carrots, and cauliflower, steam them until tender-crisp first.
- Toss the vegetables with the oil and seasonings.
- Add mixture to a grill basket over high heat in a grill that's been preheated. Evenly distribute them, cover the grill and let them sit without stirring for a few minutes (this will be less if making only a few cups of veggies, more if the basket is full - you get the idea) to help the juices evaporate.
- Stir them around, close the lid again and cook for about 10 minutes stirring occasionally. This may be less depending on the vegetable (especially single, smaller vegetables like green beans) - keep a good watch on them, as with any grilled foods.
- Taste for tenderness when they are starting to char and look cooked through, adjusting cooking time as necessary.
- Serve them as a side, over rice, in pasta, or lining a tortilla- they are so versatile!
1. Asian flavor: add some sesame oil and soy sauce instead of the olive and salt. And for spiciness, our favorite Sriracha sauce adds a nice bite.
2. Curry: adding a teaspoon or so of curry powder before grilling and then toss them with a can of coconut milk after they're cooked and serve over rice.
3. Pasta Salad: Purposely make extra to have enough to add to a pasta salad
the next day, maybe with leftover grilled chicken and a balsamic vinegar - two dinners for one!
Do you like to grill vegetables? Have you use a grill basket, too?