Top tips for grilling vegetables

July 15 2015

When you think of summer food, one of the first things that probably comes to mind is barbecue. Burgers, hot dogs, steaks and chicken wings all cooked over an open flame and topped with a delicious spice rub or tangy sauce.

And while proteins are certainly the most popular thing to throw on the grill, the barbecue is also an ideal place to cook vegetables in the summer months - and grilled veggies are can be a wonderful side dish or an entree on their own, if prepared correctly.

Delicious and nutritious

Writing for Restaurant Central, nutritionist Devon Peart points out that grilled vegetables are not only tasty, they're also good for you - meaning they will appeal to health-conscious diners. The cooking method requires very little fat, except to add flavour and with grilling you don't lose nutrients in the cooking water.

Fire not necessary

While grilled food is always tastier when prepared over an open flame, due to the lovely smokey flavour that this creates, fire is not necessary. "You can always grill in the oven for a similar outcome," Ms Peart says.

How to cook veggies on the grill

Depending on the type of vegetables that you're cooking and the desired outcome, there are a number of different ways to prepare them using a barbecue.

Ms Devon notes that basic prep involves removing the hard bits you don't want to eat and adding seasoning. You can also lightly spray with olive oil.

From there, you can wrap the vegetables in a foil pouch - and you can also include other items like fish, mushrooms or small potatoes with them. Then, place the pouch right on the grill.

Another option is to place the veggies in a shallow heat-safe container and add dry seasonings and olive oil. Then, cook away over the heat source - just keep an eye on them to avoid burning.

Some veggies - like peppers and zucchini - can be placed directly on the grill, or you can chop of the vegetables and place them on skewers for shish kebab. Alternating colourful vegetables in this way, along with meat or chicken, can result in an attractive and good-for-you entree or appetizer.

Greens might not seem like they'd work well on the grill, but foods like mustard, collard, spinach and kale can actually work well - and the cooking process brings out some excellent flavours.

Here are a few more top tips on grilling veggies:

  • Cut brussels sprouts lengthwise to allow for better heat penetration.
  • For best results with corn on the cob, cook it with the husks on, then peel back afterwards to create a natural handle. Once cooked, brush the corn with butter or margarine - you can also mix in a bit of honey for a little extra sweetness.
  • Cut sweet peppers in half and use them to hold other foods like brie or goats' cheese.
  • Serve grilled vegetables as a side dish or use them as a bed for other foods like cooked fish, quinoa or a bean salad.