Grilled Vegetables : The Underrated Hero Of Any Meal

An assortment of seasoned vegetables on on top of a cooking grill

  1. Gather all the tools and ingredients 
  2. Prepare the marinade 
  3. Cut vegetables and add to the marinade 
  4. Preheat the grill
  5. Add the vegetables
  6. Cook vegetables until tender 
  7. Plate the vegetables, garnish, and serve. 

    A full plate of grilled vegetables including corn on the cob next to a nakiri knife

    6.5'' Nakiri Knife | Frost Fire Series | Dalstrong ©

      “FINISH YOUR VEGGIES!” Is it just me or can you also hear your mom yell this out loud every time there’s a side of vegetables served with something yummy like a classic burger, steak, or any other dish? 

      Just like you, even I had once made the silly mistake of underestimating the deliciousness of well-cooked veggies and considered it to be a side dish instead of the star of the meal. But this was up until I tried some exceptionally YUM grilled vegetables that are not only easy to make but are the least fussy thing you can cook on a grill. 

      When grilled the right way, vegetables can be a healthy and tasty part of a balanced diet and can be just as good as a meal of burgers or shrimp skewers.

      Not only does this help introduce new cooking methods to your mundane kitchen routine, but grilled vegetables actually take on a new flavor dimension that cannot be achieved by steaming, boiling, baking, or pan-frying veggies. 

      In today’s article, I’m going to cover everything you need to know about grilling vegetables perfectly, which veggies to pick and what to serve them with. So without further ado “lettuce” jump straight into it. 

      1. Tools You Will Need For Grilled Veggies

      A kitchen knife with a stainless steel handle next to a cutting board covered in raw vegetables

      • A sturdy cutting board: Lots of chopping is involved in this recipe and to do that with accuracy, you are going to need a big, sturdy cutting board.
      • Sharp knife: To ensure great cuts of vegetables, you are going to need a razor-sharp knife. To chop your veggies you can use a classic chef’s knife or a Nakiri knife. If these blades are too big for you, you can also pick up a small but sharp paring knife that will assist you in peeling and chopping the veggies.
      • Grilling Tools: The right grill and grilling tools can be a game-changer for this particular recipe. I highly recommend Dalstrong’s Premium Grill Kit that is loaded with all the equipment you require to grill your veggies.
      • Apron: Working with a grill sometimes can be a messy affair. For this purpose, you would want to wear an apron when handling the grill, especially if you’re new at it.

      2. Best Vegetables to Grill

      If you’re new to grilling, vegetables will be the easiest thing for you to handle. Grilling will coax out every bit of roasted sweetness from any plain, blah veggie. The heat that is concentrated on the vegetables beautifully brings out a lush, smoky char in every bite. 

      Once coated with olive oil and salt, veggies can be tossed onto the grill but each vegetable takes its own time to cook. Let’s take a look at some vegetables that work well with a grill and give you the best-tasting grilled veggies. 

      Veggie

      How to Prepare

      Cook Time

      Garnish Options

      Asparagus

      Trim tough ends

      5-7 minutes 

      • Sprinkle with some lemon juice and zest
      • Drizzle with balsamic vinegar

      Corn on the Cob

      Remove husks and cut them into smaller pieces or keep them as is 

      10-15 minutes

      • Top with butter, some paprika, and a squeeze of lime juice 

      Bell Peppers

      Cut them into quarters and remove the rib

      6-8 minutes 

      • Drizzle with vinaigrette
      • Sprinkle with chopped herbs

      Eggplant

      Cut lengthwise into planks (½ inch thick)

      10-12 minutes

      • Drizzle with tahini sauce
      • Serve with a  dollop of pesto
      • Top it off with some fresh feta

      Green Onions

      Leave whole

      3-5 minutes

      • Serve with aioli or romesco sauce 

      Potatoes/Sweet potatoes

      Cut lengthwise into 8 wedges and sprinkle with paprika

      25-30 minutes

      • Sprinkle with flake salt and fresh herbs 
      • Serve with ketchup

      Portobello Mushrooms

      Trim the stems. Then add balsamic vinegar and minced garlic to olive oil

      6-8 minutes

      • Drizzle lightly with more vinegar
      • Serve on a bun

      Summer Squash

      Cut lengthwise into planks (½ inch thick)

      6-8 minutes 

      • Top with chopped basil, parsley, mint, or tarragon

      Yellow and Red Onions

      Peel and quarter through the root end

      8-10 minutes

      • Add to burgers, tacos, or salads

      This list is simply to guide you when you run to the grocery store to pick up veggies for your grill. As you’ll see, most of the veggies mentioned above require very little perp before adding them to the grill and the cooking time is also shorter than meat. Grilled vegetables also stay well n the fridge, so if you have a big party coming over, you can cook them a couple of days ahead of time as well.

      3. Grilled Vegetables- Cooking Instructions

      Grilled Vegetables 

      Prep Time 

      10 mins

      Cook Time

      15 mins

      Marinating Time

      20 mins

      Total Time

      45 mins

      Servings

      6


      Ingredients

      Veggies

      • 2 pounds assorted Vegetables (trimmed and halved or cut into 2-inch pieces) 
      • Asparagus 
      • Mushrooms 
      • Red Onions
      • Red Bell Peppers
      • Green Bell Peppers 
      • Carrots 
      • Yellow Squash

      Marinade

      • 5 tablespoons Olive Oil 
      • 2 tablespoons Lemon Juice 
      • 1 teaspoon Salt
      • ¼ teaspoon Black Pepper 
      • 1½ teaspoons dried Italian Seasoning
      • 1½ teaspoons Garlic (minced)
      • 1¼ cup Parsley Leaves (chopped) 
      • Lemon wedges for serving  

      Cooking Instructions

      Step 1: Gather all the tools and ingredients 

      Make sure you’ve set up the grill, have the grill kit around, and gather all the other ingredients mentioned right at the beginning of this article. 

      Step 2: Prepare the marinade 

      • Place the olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, and minced garlic in a large bowl. 
      • Whisk to combine.

      Step 3: Cut vegetables and add to the marinade 

      • Add the cut and trimmed veggies to the bowl and toss to coat.
      • Cover and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes or up to 2 hours.

      Step 4: Preheat the grill

      • Preheat a grill or grill pan to medium-high heat

      Step 5: Add the vegetables

      • Add the denser vegetables first (like carrots or potatoes if you choose to add them).
      • Cook for 3-4 minutes.
      • Then, add the rest of the vegetables to the grill.

      Step 6: Cook vegetables until tender 

      • Cook the vegetables for 3-5 minutes per side or until browned and tender. 

      Step 7: Plate the vegetables, garnish, and serve! 

      • Place the vegetables on a serving plate. 
      • Sprinkle with some chopped-up parsley and garnish with lemon wedges. 
      • Serve this as a main or as a side dish with your meal. 

      4. How to make Grilled Vegetable Skewers?

      Vegetables skewers on top of a cooking grill

      I am convinced that enjoying vegetables is possible if cooked the right way and my favorite style is grilling them. This adds a nice, smokey flavor to each bit and caramelizes the vegetable’s sweetness by bringing out their natural sugars. 

      If you or someone in your family is a non-veggie-liker, you can try serving them grilled veggies on a skewer. Trust me, it will blow their mind! While I’ve already provided a list of vegetables that works well on a grill, here’s a list of veggies that are perfect for grilling on skewers: 

      • Zucchini
      • Onions
      • Bell peppers
      • Mushrooms 
      • Corn 
      • Cauliflower
      • Broccoli 
      • Tomatoes 
      • Artichoke

      Grilled Vegetable Skewers 

      Prep Time 

      15 mins

      Cook Time

      15 mins

      Total Time

      30 mins

      Servings

      4


      Ingredients

      Veggies

      • 1 Ear Corn (husk removed)
      • 1 Zucchini
      • 1 Yellow Summer Squash 
      • 1 Red Bell Pepper (seeded and cored) 
      • 1 Green Bell Pepper (seeded and cored) 
      • 1 Red Onion
      • 8-12 brown Mushrooms 

      Seasoning

      • 2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
      • 1 teaspoon Kosher Salt 
      • ½ teaspoon freshly ground Black Pepper

      Cooking Instructions

      Step 1: Cut the Veggies

      • Cut up the veggies into chunks. Make sure they are the same thickness so they cook at the same rate. 

      Note: Slicing veggies too thin will make them too tender and fall off the skewers. 

      Step 2: Preheat the Grill

      • Prepare the grill with clean grates and preheat to medium heat (350-450 degrees F).
      • If you are using wooden skewers, soak them in water for 10 minutes. If using metal skewers, no prep is required. 

      Step 3: Oil your Veggies

      • Give your veggies an oil down. I follow the golden rule of grilling: Oil what you grill, not the grill itself. 
      • Thread the vegetables on the skewers alternating the veggies. Do this until you get to the end of the skewer. 
      • Drizzle the skewered vegetables with olive oil, salt, and pepper.

      Step 4: Season Simply

      • Sprinkle the vegetables generously with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. The veggies will absorb the salt as they cook and will enhance their inherent sweetness. 
      • Feel free to add dried herbs such as oregano, mint, tarragon, or basil if you like. This will give the veggies a nice flavor.

      Step 5: Grill ‘em Hot

      • Place the veggies over medium heat (about 350-450 degrees F).
      • Close the grill lid and cook the vegetables, rotating them every 3-5 minutes until cooked through. 

      Step 6: Close the Lid

      • Cook the vegetables for 3-5 minutes per side or until browned and tender. 

      Note: Closing the lid of the grill will create the same environment as an oven, baking the veggies as they char up a little. 


      5. Seasoning Options for Vegetables

      While our easy grilled vegetables recipe tastes great with just some simple seasoning of olive oil, kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, you can also turn up the flavor by coating the vegetables in some delicious marinades and seasonings. Let’s take a look at some of these options that pair very well with veggies: 

      Marinades:


      Mustard and Balsamic Vinegar Marinade 

      Ingredients:

      • ⅓ cup Olive Oil 
      • ¼ cup Balsamic Vinegar 
      • 3 tablespoons Dijon Mustard 
      • 3 tablespoons Honey
      • 1½ teaspoon Dried Thyme
      • 1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
      • 1 teaspoon Salt 
      • ½ teaspoon ground Black Pepper

      Instructions:

      • Measure all ingredients and add to a large bowl.
      • Whisk all ingredients until smooth.
      • Place the veggies in a bowl or baking tray and pour the marinade all over it. 
      • Allow the veggies to marinate for 30 minutes or up to a few hours. 
      • Follow the other grilling steps as mentioned in the recipes above.

        Note: You can use the marinade immediately or cover and refrigerate it for later use. 

      Lemon and Herb Marinade 

      Ingredients:

      • ⅓ cup Lemon Juice
      • ⅓ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
      • 2 teaspoons White Sugar
      • 2 Garlic Cloves (minced) 
      • ½ teaspoon Salt 
      • ½ teaspoon Pepper 
      • ½ teaspoon Dried Basil 
      • ½ teaspoon Parsley
      • ½ teaspoon Oregano 
      • ½ teaspoon Thyme 
      • 1 teaspoon Chilli Flakes (adjust the spice to taste)

      Instructions:

      • Grill your favorite vegetables with olive oil, salt, and pepper. 
      • Once grilled, drizzle the dressing all over the hot veggies and toss. 
      • Set aside for 10 minutes before serving.
      • Sprinkle with fresh parsley and serve.

       

      Eight Spice Seasoning

      Ingredients:

      • 3 tablespoons Salt
      • 3 tablespoons packed Brown Sugar
      • 2 tablespoons Paprika
      • 1½ tablespoons Chili Powder
      • 1 tablespoon ground Black Pepper 
      • 2 teaspoons Garlic Powder
      • 1½ teaspoons Cayenne Pepper
      • 1½ teaspoons Dried Basil   

      Instructions:

      • Combine the 8 ingredients in a processor and blend for 15 seconds.
      • Transfer to a small jar and cover tightly. 
      • Brush the veggies with oil. 
      • Sprinkle generously with the spice mixture and grill until cooked through. 


      Note: Spice mixture can be prepared 2 weeks ahead. Store it in the refrigerator. 


      Additionally, here’s a list of some Herbs and Spices that go well with Grilled Veggies: 
      • Tarragon
      • Oregano
      • Marjoram
      • Mint
      • Basil
      • Garlic
      • Cumin
      • Chile powder
      • Allspice
      • Italian seasoning blend
      • Ginger

        6. Grilling in a Foil VS Direct to Grill

        One of the most popular methods used to grill vegetables is in a foil pack. Vegetables cooked in a foil pack will be steamed and not as charred. However, they will still have a wonderful smokey taste of the grill.

        When vegetables are placed directly over the flame, they cook relatively faster than when placed in a foil pack. Foil packs also don’t demand as much attention, as they’re less prone to burning than vegetables grilled directly over the grates.

        7. Storing Grilled Vegetables

        1. You must allow the grilled vegetables to cool completely before storing or they are bound to get soggy. Also, try and store the vegetables in thin layers as they will not stay as well if stacked on top of each other.
        2. Wrap the veggies tightly in plastic wrap or store them in an air-tight container and place it in the refrigerator. They will stay fresh for up to 3 days.
        3. Grilled vegetables will keep for up to 8-12 months if stored in a freezer. There is no need to thaw the veggies when reheating.
        4. To preserve the perfectly charred outsides and tender insides of the vegetables, reheat them in an oven for 10 minutes at 425 degrees F. You can also reheat the vegetables in a skillet or an air fryer at 370 degrees F.
        5. You can store the grilled veggies to be enjoyed as a snack or to add to other dishes.

          8. Are Grilled Vegetables Healthy?

          A wooden cutting board with egg plant and other vegetables

          Teak Cutting Board | Dalstrong ©

          YES! There is no doubt that grilled vegetables are healthy for people of all ages. This is because veggies are rich in antioxidants. Now some of you might think that grilling them can be bad but that is not true.

          Grilling vegetables is one of the healthiest ways to consume them. Here are some health benefits of grilling vegetables:

          Enhanced Flavors: Not only are grilled vegetables super nutritious, but they also take a whole new flavor once grilled. As I mentioned earlier, the heat adds a smokey flavor while the caramelization helps enhance the natural sweetness of the veggies.

          Helps Retain Nutrients: Veggies tend to lose their nutritional value as they are cooked. However, grilling them will actually hold on to their vitamins and minerals the best during the cooking process.

          Increased Nutritional Value: It may come to you as a surprise but certain vegetables have a greater nutritional value AFTER being grilled. Research has found that certain vitamins and minerals work harder to break down in the body. Grilling them up actually allows the nutrient to be better absorbed, making this the healthiest way to eat your greens.

          Vegetables are also safe to grill because they don’t have fat to render and drip onto the grilling element to cause flare-ups. 

          Grilled Vegetables- Nutritional Value

          Calories

          138kcal

          Fat

          8g

          Saturated Fat

          1g

          Fiber

          3g

          Sodium

          392mg

          Potassium

          325mg

          Carbohydrates

          7g

          Protein

          3g

          Sugar

          3g

          Vitamin A

          1360IU

          Vitamin C

          13.9mg

          Calcium

          48mg

          Iron

          Iron 3.6mg


          Grilled Vegetable Skewers- Nutritional Value

          Calories

          119kcal

          Fat

          8g

          Saturated Fat

          1g

          Fiber

          2g

          Sodium

          590mg

          Potassium

          535mg

          Carbohydrates

          12g

          Protein

          3g

          Sugar

          5g

          Vitamin A

          720IU

          Vitamin C

          38mg

          Calcium

          26mg

          Iron

          1mg

          9. Serving Suggestions

          Six skinny carrots on a black cutting board next to two plates of grilled vegetables

          3.5'' Paring Knife | Gladiator Series | Dalstrong ©

          My favorite part about grilled vegetables is the sheer versatility of the dish. Here are some ways you can elevate this dish and pair it with other items:

          • Part of a platter or on a cheeseboard, cut into smaller pieces. 
          • You can serve this with traditional Italian-style focaccia bread.
          • Serve it with a side of garlic bread and soup.
          • It can be enjoyed as a main with toasted bread that is smeared with fresh avocado or ricotta.
          • You can pile it over a simple piece of grilled chicken.
          • Throw in some pasta and make a grilled vegetable pasta salad. I recommend you use the natural juices and excess dressing that gets collected at the bottom of the bowl as the dressing for this salad.
          • Stuff the grilled veggies in a fluffy omelet.
          • Sprinkle veggies with some shredded parmesan cheese of crumbled feta or goat cheese.
          • You can also drizzle some garlicky chimichurri sauce, creamy avocado salsa verde, or a simple balsamic glaze. 
          • Add a dollop of homemade basil pesto.

          Now, let’s talk about how many veggies you would need per person. The most common rule for preparing food for a large number of people is to follow the one pound rule. This is a simple rule that states that for every one adult guest attending, there should be one pound of food and for every child, there should be half a pound of food.

          When serving roasted vegetables as a meal, each guest should get 11 to 16 ounces. If the roasted veggies are one of several side dishes, each guest needs 11 ounces of 2/3rds of a pound, max. If roasted veggies are the only side dish on the table, serve at least one pound per guest.

          10. Best Knives to Cut Vegetables 

          Grilled vegetables are not a difficult dish but it is very important to get nice, big cuts of the veggies with minimal flesh damage so that they can cook well on the grill. Here is a list of some of my favorite knives that I would recommend you to use when cutting veggies:

          1. Nakiri Vegetable Knife 6" Shogun Series X | Dalstrong

          Nakiri Vegetable Knife 6" Shogun Series X | Dalstrong

          A good Nakiri knife can be a brutally effective vegetable assassin. Nakiri knives also known as Japanese vegetable knives chop, slice, and dice veggies with great ease and minimum flesh damage.

          If you find yourself cutting lots of left greens, vegetables of fruits very often, this knife is a great addition to your kitchen. The straight edge, spine, and node of this knife make it a true push-cut hero, while the wide blade assists in scooping up food for transfer.

          Pros:

          • The blade of this knife is highly impervious to heat and moisture, giving the knife life-long durability.
          • The ergonomic handle provides superior hand control and comfort that is a must when chopping large amounts of vegetables.
          • The scalpel-like sharpness of the blade is designed to reduce drag and minimize stuck-on food.

          Cons:

          • While this knife works well on vegetables and fruits, it might not be the best option when you have to cut meat or fish.
          • This knife is priced on the higher side which might not be ideal for everyone.

          2. Nakiri Knife 6.5" Frost Fire Series | Dalstrong

           

          Nakiri Knife 6.5" Frost Fire Series | Dalstrong

          This is a light-wight, razor-sharp knife with an icy cold look and fiery performance. The non-stick properties of this knife provide it with a unique “frosted” look, making this knife a head-turner. The design of this knife is perfect for someone who has to tackle big chopping tasks as this knife comes with a great grip, making it easy on the wrist.

          Pros:

          • Sail through culinary challenges with the razor-sharp blade of this knife.
          • This knife provides incredible edge retention, making it last for a long time.
          • The non-stick properties of the knife help reduce drag on the food and result in easy food release.
          • It has a lightweight construction for agility and comfort.
          • The knife cleans easily and is simple to maintain.

          Cons:

          • The metal handle of this knife might not the preferred by everyone as it can have an impact on the grip of the knife.
          • While fruits and veggies slice up very well with this blade, it might not work that well on meat.

          3. Vegetable Knife 7" Nakiri | Quantum 1 Series | Dalstrong

          Vegetable Knife 7" Nakiri | Quantum 1 Series | Dalstrong

          This knife is meticulously crafted for exceptional performance and is painstakingly hand sharpened by expert bladesmiths. This ultra-sharp knife is designed to slice through big and small vegetables and fruits with great ease and provide the user with total control and comfort.

          Pros:

          • The edge of this blade is hand sharpened to 8-12 degrees per side, maintaining the perfect balance between blade sharpness and maximum resilience.
          • The tall blase height gives knuckle clearance to assist with food preparation and other chopping activities.
          • The blade is precisely tempered to provide durability and the tapered design provides hardness and flexibility.
          • The knife comes with a full tang that provides incredible robustness and quality.

          Cons:

          • While this knife is known for its performance, its price might not be something that would sit well with everyone.
          • The 7-inch blade can get slightly intimidating for someone who has never handled a Nakiri knife before.

          4. Paring Knife 3.5" | Gladiator Series | Dalstrong

          Paring Knife 3.5" Gladiator Series | Dalstrong

          The master of precision comes with a small narrow blade that tapers to a point. This paring knife is great for coring, mincing, and peeling fruits and vegetables, slicing shallots, herbs, or a clove of garlic. This knife provides detailed, controlled cutting and helps create patterns on food surfaces. Not only is this knife pleasing to hold but is also beautiful to look at.

          Pros:

          • The knife is made of wear-resistant, single-piece high carbon German steel, making it super strong.
          • The edge is hand sharpened and is designed to provide the curs with maximum resilience.
          • The full tang of the knife is designed to provide maximum robustness and quality.

          Cons:

          • While cutting fruits and vegetables comes easily to this blade, large cuts of meat and other tougher items can be slightly challenging.
          • The 3.5-inch blade can be too small and narrow for those who prefer to scoop food for transfer with the blade of the knife.

          5. Paring Knife 4" | Omega Series | Dalstrong

          Paring Knife 4" | Omega Series | Dalstrong

          The 4-inch paring knife is a masterfully forged precision instrument. The knife features a slightly longer than average blade length for more effectiveness. It is specifically designed to keep a variety of tasks in mind like coring, slicing, peeling fruits and vegetables, mincing herbs, and scoring detailed patterns. The versatility this knife provides is what makes it a favorite amongst serious chefs.

          Pros:

          • The added length of the knife allows the blade to double as a nimble utility knife.
          • The ‘Liquid Metal’ pattern on the blade minimizes drag while maximizing slicing efficiency.
          • The knife comes with a screamingly sharp edge that can help you glide through your meal prep.

          Cons:

          • As compared to other paring knives, this one is slightly pricey and might not be everyone’s first choice.
          • While the blade of this knife is designed for maximum maneuverability, it might not work that well when it comes to big meats like mutton and poultry.

          11. Frequently Asked Questions About Grilling Vegetables

          A pair of tongs lifting a vegetable from a bbq grill

          4 Piece BBQ Set | Grill Kit | Dalstrong ©

          When grilling vegetables what is best to use?

          Bring amazing flavors to vegetables by grilling them. Some vegetables that you can use are grill corn, bell peppers, onions, squash, artichokes, eggplant, mushrooms tomatoes, or asparagus.

          Is it better to roast or grill vegetables?

          It really depends on what you want to cook and how quickly you need it to be ready. Grilling is a fast cooking method and gives a nice brown charred color to the meat. It is best suited to cook steak, lamb chops and other thin cuts since the intensity of the fire is high. On the other hand, roasting is a slow cooking process and hence it is best suited to cook the bigger pieces over a period of time.

          Should you soak vegetables before grilling?

          Yes, you can soak your veggies before grilling them. To prevent vegetables from drying out on the grill, soak them in water before cooking.

          Do you put oil on vegetables before grilling?

          Vegetables dry out when they hit the heat without a little oil. Before putting the veggies on the grill, toss them with a light coating of oil. Don't use too much-it not only adds unnecessary calories, but dripping oil causes flare-ups and greasy flavors.

          Check Out Dalstrong Cookware Today


          Written by Himani Vaid

          Toronto-based food nerd turned food storyteller, Himani is a connoisseur of all things delish. Currently, busy thinking about what to eat next.


          Grilled Vegetables : The Underrated Hero Of Any Meal

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