Move over chicken, steaks and hot dogs; there’s a new guy in town that’s taking over the grill by storm: Veggies! We can’t think of a veggie that wouldn’t go well on the grill and Martha Stewart seems to agree in her recent article. Unlike meat, vegetables cook very quickly and easily soak up the best smoky flavors from the grill. They are hard to mess up, since most of the time, you can tell that vegetables are ready to eat by just looking at them. While we love any grilled vegetable, some vegetables fare better on the grill than others. It’s important to have a clear strategy for each one to get the most flavor. We have compiled our top 3 favorite grilling veggies followed by tips shared by the biggest grilling pros in the industry. Start your burners!
Americans could take some eggplant appreciation lessons from The Middle East. They are way ahead of us in terms of eggplant incorporation (hello, baba ganoush ftw). Eggplant is excellent no matter how it is prepared, but it takes on a whole new level of charm when you throw it on the grill and it takes on grill marks like a pro, making even the most novice griller seem like he or she knows what they are doing.
When grilling, halve your eggplant lengthwise and cut into one-inch wedges. Brush the wedge sides with olive oil, and grill the oiled side down over medium-high heat until just golden and marked (about three minutes). Next, transfer the eggplant to a slightly cooler part of the grill (medium heat) and grill until marked, five to six minutes. Finally, soften it up by grilling skin sides down for five to seven minutes. Season with salt. Try grilled eggplant with yogurt Sauce, pomegranate dressing to add some fun and flavor.
- Bell Peppers
Bell peppers are one of the most versatile vegetables there is and they are absolutely excellent on the grill. Grill bell peppers on high heat turning occasionally until skins are charred in spots, approximately 15 to 18 minutes total. Remove the peppers from the grill and let them cool slightly. Next, peel away the charred skins using a paper towel. Halve the peppers, and discard the seeds and stems before serving. Try grilled peppers as a topping for pizza, for stuffed peppers (cooked on the grill) or in a salad with goat cheese.
Asparagus works beautifully on the grill. It cooks much faster than other conventional methods. There are some unfortunate pitfalls with grilled asparagus, though. You need to keep your eyes on them or you’re going to lose them in the bottom of your pit (or you can wrap them up in foil, but then you won’t get a char). Use asparagus spears that are no thicker than half-an-inch. Bunch six or seven spears together, and thread a skewer through the upper part of spears. Gently turn the skewer to keep spears from breaking. Repeat at the bottom of the bunch, brush with olive oil and season with salt and pepper or your seasoning of choice. Grill over medium-high heat, turning once, until marked and just tender—about nine minutes in total. Serve with grilled lemon halves.
It’s always a great idea to grill vegetables by skewering them alongside your choice of meat. Use skewers to keep small or narrow veggies from falling into the fire and remember to soak wooden ones for 30 minutes beforehand so they don’t burn. Finally, if you’d like to achieve restaurant-worthy crosshatch marks, wait until the grate leaves a set of lines, then rotate the vegetables 90 degrees. It’s surefire advice for mouthwatering success.
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