Easiest side dish ever! Grilled vegetables are SO flavorful and the perfect way to use up handfuls of vegetables, a CSA box, or what’s being harvested. For more great recipes, check out the Quick Healthy Recipes page.
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Our family seriously eats these easy grilled vegetables almost daily in the summer. In fact, I’d be happy to eat them every day!
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 (yuck), 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 parents 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. Be sure to check out the flavor variations in the printable recipe and how you can plan two meals from one!
Easy Grilled Vegetables
Gather all the vegetables you have on hand – this is perfect for using up odds and ends. The bowl pictured includes half a cheddar cauliflower, an onion, a pepper, a zucchini, carrots, a few small red potatoes (see tip below), 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!).
TIP: When adding vegetables like potatoes, cauliflower and carrots to the mix, steam or microwave them with water to steam for a few minutes until they are crisp-tender. Then they will be done in the same amount of time as the other vegetables.
For potatoes especially, slice them pretty thin, and pre-cook them thoroughly. You can also grill them separately like this if you don’t want to bother.
I usually prep the vegetables and happily pass them to Brian to do the grilling – here are his how-to & tips:
- 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 stir them around a bit and close the grill lid.
- Let them cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for about 8-10 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.
Easy Grilled Vegetables (+ Variations)
- 4 cups any vegetables chopped or sliced (depending on the type) into roughly equal pieces*
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic about 3 large cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes optional to taste (so good, really)
- optional herbs and seasonings: Italian, chili powder, onion powder, etc.
- OR a couple teaspoons of 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 to help the juices evaporate (this will be less if making only a few cups of veggies, more if the basket is full - you get the idea).
- Stir them around, close the grill 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!
- 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.
- Curry flavor: 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.
the next day, maybe with leftover grilled chicken and a balsamic vinegar - two dinners for one!
Other grilling recipes you may like:
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