As you fire up your grills this Labor Day weekend, we hope you will take the opportunity to put some veggies on the grill in addition to meat! Grilled veggies get a delicious smoky flavor, and if done properly will come off the grill tender and delicious. The following tips will help to make grilling veggies a breeze, and keep you from ending up with a charred, unevenly cooked mess.
1) Slice ‘em up! The first step is to slice your veggies evenly. You want them relatively uniform in size, so that they will cook at the same rate. You want them large enough that they will not fall through the grates on the grill, but thin enough that they will cook quickly. Aim for 1/4 to 1/2 inch slices for zucchini, yellow squash, eggplant, and onions. Tomatoes can be quartered or sliced (1/2 inch slices, they will cook down). Bell peppers should be cut into thick strips. Trim the stems off of mushrooms. Green onions and scallions can be grilled whole.
2) Pre-cook if needed. If grilling potatoes or carrots, pre-cook them in boiling water prior to putting them on the grill. Carrots should be cooked for about 5 minutes and potatoes for about 10. Slice them after pre-cooking, and toss them in oil and seasoning before grilling.
3) Add oil and seasoning. Toss veggie slices in olive oil and season with salt and pepper prior to putting them on the grill. This adds flavor, and the oil protects the veggies from drying out and sticking to the grill. You can also marinate veggies for an hour or so, to add additional flavor, a little teriyaki with the oil and spices makes a nice marinade for grilling.
4) Grilling time! Grill vegetables over medium heat, and try to flip them just once to develop nice grill marks. Softer vegetables like tomatoes, zucchini, yellow squash, and mushrooms, will only take a few minutes per side. Sturdier vegetables like onions, bell peppers, and carrots will take a little longer (4-6 minutes per side). Remove them from the grill when they are tender and nicely marked by the grill, but not charred or mushy.
5) Add flavor to taste. Give your veggies a quick taste before serving. If desired, you can add additional flavor with extra seasoning, a splash of balsamic vinegar or a nice vinaigrette, or sprinkle over some fresh herbs for a nice contrast. Serve and enjoy!