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How to Grill Vegetables for Amazing Flavor

Make room on the grill for vegetables so you can experience how the caramelizing flames and touch of smoke elevate the flavor of even the most everyday produce. These easy tips will help you grill all kinds of vegetables for the most delicious meals.

Grilled Vegetables with Pita

Photo by Meredith

Two Grilling Methods

There are techniques for creating perfect tender-crisp grilled vegetables: directly on the grill and indirectly in a grill pan.

1. Direct Grilling

  • Cut larger veggies (like eggplants, squash, and onions) into smaller pieces; with more surface area touching the grill, they'll pick up more yummy grilled flavor. The pieces should be large enough that they don’t fall between the grates.
  • Place cut veggies in a zip-lock bag and add some olive oil, salt, and pepper. Most vegetables will cook better and are less likely to stick if they're marinated first or brushed lightly with cooking oil.
  • Small vegetables like cherry tomatoes or sliced veggies work best threaded through skewers.
  • Grill over medium heat until the veggies reach a desired tenderness.
  • Keep a close eye on your vegetables. Grilling times vary from veggie to veggie, but they're generally more delicate than meats. Harder, denser vegetables like potatoes will take a little longer on the grill.

2. Indirect Grilling in a Grill Pan

  • Use a grill pan or disposable aluminium foil pan.
  • Cut vegetables into the same thickness for even grilling.
  • Combine veggies with olive oil, salt, and pepper.
  • Divide the vegetables by size and density, putting more dense veggies like as carrots and potatoes into one grill pan and softer veggies like asparagus and green beans into a separate pan. Denser vegetables will take longer to cook.
  • Use medium heat.
  • Turn the vegetables, occasionally shaking the pan to keep the veggies from sticking. Cook until they reach the desired tenderness.

Best Vegetables for the Grill

A lot of vegetables do well on the grill, but some really stand out -- asparagus, corn, eggplant, mushrooms, peppers (hot or not), onions, beets, even cabbage.

Grilled Corn

Perfect for grilling, corn even comes with its own wrapper. Check out these tips for grilling corn three different ways.

Grilled corn with limes

Photo by Meredith

Try these recipes for grilled corn:

Grilled Asparagus

Easy and quick to grill, asparagus doesn't need prep work. Just season with salt and pepper and lay the stalks out across lightly oiled grill grates.

Grilled Parmesan Asparagus

Photo by mommyluvs2cook

Try these grilled asparagus recipes:

Grilled Zucchini

Great on the grill, zucchini cooks best sliced into long strips.

Grilled veggies on white plate

Photo by Meredith

Try these grilled zucchini recipes:

Grilled Tomatoes and Mushrooms

Corn's frequent companion, the tomato, might not seem well-suited for grilling, but it works surprisingly well. Grilling also brings out the best in most mushrooms, especially portobellos.

Grilled Tomatoes and Red Onions

Grilled Tomatoes and Red Onions | Photo by Meredith

Try these recipes:

A few veggies to avoid: Cucumbers, celery, and most leafy greens don't do as well on the grill because of their high water content. Of course, an exception is Romaine lettuce, which hits the grill with excellent results!

3 Favorite Ways to use Grilled Vegetables

  • Serve your grilled vegetables simply with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar and olive oil.
  • Add grilled veggies to a green salad, wraps, sandwiches, and omelets.
  • Enjoy them with hummus and other dips and spreads.

Check out our collection of Grilled Vegetable Recipes.


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