Grilled vegetables is the easiest side dish ever! See how to grill vegetables in a basket that are SO flavorful, crisp, and delicious. Plus it's the perfect way to use up handfuls of vegetables, a CSA box, or what's being harvested from the garden.
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We eat some version of easy grilled vegetables multiple times a week spring, summer and fall. In fact, I'd probably 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, as you might guess if you grow zucchini, lol), but most of the time we grill a variety of veggies, 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.
This usually takes up a lot of room and more attention and care. Not to mention mushy zucchini (yuck), lost onion rings, or whole tomatoes sunk into the grates.
So...how do you just grill vegetables?
Grilling Veggies in a Basket
Then one day we found a grill basket (similar to this one) in the back of a cupboard that had been given to us and decided to use it to grill some cut vegetables that needed to be used up.
And that was it for us - no going back to slicing vegetables and turning each individually! (Well, except for grilled potato planks - they need the bigger surface area to get all the crispy edges and grill marks!)
Plus, the vegetables were SO good cooked this way - there was some nice charring, with still crisp-cooked veggies.
It's basically a summer version of roasted vegetables - and so easy I wasn't sure it was even a recipe worth writing up (which is actually more like a "how-to" since you can adjust it how 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 vegetable and flavor variations below and in the printable recipe, plus how you can plan two meals from one!
Preparing Vegetables for Grilling
Gather all the vegetables you have on hand - this is the perfect recipe for using up seasonal produce odds and ends you have on hand.
Pictured above is what I used once in mid-June:
- Half an onion
- Quarter head of cabbage from the garden
- Head of broccoli
- Half a yellow pepper
- Snap peas from the garden
You'll also need:
- olive oil
- LOTS of garlic
- some red pepper flakes for a bit of spiciness
Or just sprinkle the mixture with an easy basic spice rub which is what I show above.
Here are some other vegetable mix ideas:
- #1: half of a cauliflower
- an onion
- a sweet red pepper
- medium zucchini
- a few small red potatoes (see tip below)
- yellow and green beans
PRO TIP: When adding longer cooking vegetables like potatoes and cauliflower 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.
- #2: Snap and snow peas
- #3: Green beans
- broccoli side shoots
As you can see, this is a great way to eat seasonally and reduce waste while having varied and delicious dishes!
Tips for Cutting Vegetables for Grilling
Here are two tips for cutting vegetables for optimal grilling:
- Cut vegetables in roughly the same size.
- Cut on the smaller side - not a dice, but not large chunks either. I find slicing onions and peppers and then cutting into thirds is a good size and more in line with the carrot slices.
- BIG broccoli cutting tip to USE THE STEMS: After removing the florets on the top, cut the bottom of the stem off flat and then use a sharp knife to cut all the outside stem peeling off. Then slice the stem as you would a carrot. (A Chinese college friend taught me this trick after he was disgusted with seeing me throw broccoli stems away - he said they were the best part and now I agree!)
How to Grill Vegetables In a Basket
With a grilling basket you can chop vegetables into bite-sized pieces without worry - as long as they are bigger than the holes they won't fall through.
What is a Grilling Basket?
There are typical baskets made for grills that allow you to set things on, sometimes with a lid for turning, but they are shallow.
What we want is a grilling basket like a wok-like pan with holes that you put directly on a grill and can toss the vegetables in.
Here are a few types of BBQ vegetable baskets that would work:
- round with a long handle
- non-stick square with small side handles
- large stainless steel rectangle for grilling more at one time
- even a set that includes both square and round grill baskets, plus a grill pan (nice for grilling asparagus and fish).
Grilling Vegetables in a Basket
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 7-10 minutes until they are nicely browned and cooked through (though still crisp), with spots of wonderful, grilled-marked goodness.
Grilled Vegetables FAQs
I've given lots of options here - basically anything is up for grilling in our house. Our favorites are green beans, onions, sweet peppers, carrots, zucchini, broccoli, asparagus, and snap peas.
If you don't have a grill basket, fold a 24-inch-long piece of heavy-duty foil in half and crimp up the edges to create a lip, creating a DIY basket. The food won't fall through and while they might not get the charring, they'll still get plenty of smokey flavor.
It's best to grill them with olive oil and simple spices first if using a marinade, then toss the warm veggies in the marinade after grilling since they absorb so much better when warm.
For grilling vegetables, heat the grill to a medium range, about 400 to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
Yes, like I mentioned you can grill long, thin, zucchini slices, sliced potato "planks," peppers cut in half, and whole or half corn on the cob right on the grill surface. It just takes more work time and attention.
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 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.