You can easily make 20 different grilled vegetables using the same cooking technique and just three extra ingredients – and I promise, they all taste as great as they look.
I know. I know. We’re supposed to eat our vegetables. In fact, USDA recommends adults eat 2-3 cups of vegetables a day. So why is it so darn hard to make vegetables taste good?
We all know the benefits…
Veggies are really good for us.
They’re packed with vitamins and nutrients like potassium, fiber and folic acid.
They can help reduce the risk for heart disease and type 2 diabetes and can prevent certain types of cancers.
They’re also super-low in calories, so it makes sense that we should eat more veggies when we’re trying to lose weight.
The problem is a plate of flavorless vegetables isn’t as enticing as a bag of potato chips or a bowl of macaroni and cheese.
We walk down the produce aisle and look at the stunning rainbow of possibilities, but most of the time, we only grab a few things we’re familiar with.
If more than 25 percent of our plate is supposed to include vegetables, shouldn’t 25 percent of our grocery cart include them, as well?
Why don’t we eat our veggies?
As with any food, we cook what we know and what tastes good.
If you grew up with steamed veggies, you probably have memories of flavorless, off-colored hospital-like food. That’s because if vegetables are cooked too long in steam or boiling water, they lose their flavor, color and texture.
Microwaved frozen vegetables have better color and texture, but where’s the flavor?
Sautéing veggies is a good alternative, but it requires using more oil and/or butter, and it doesn’t work for every vegetable. You can’t exactly sauté an artichoke half.
So, we stick to familiar veggies like baked potatoes, boiled corn and steamed carrots. And we feel good about ourselves when we throw together a quick salad.
But dinner can be so much better. You can make vegetables taste good.
Remember that rainbow I was talking about? Just look at it.
It’s time to fire up the grill!
I can’t think of a vegetable that can’t be grilled. From corn to carrots to peppers and potatoes – the grill has you covered.
When you grill a vegetable, magic happens. Unlike diluting their natural flavors in a pot of boiling water, the grill releases the vegetables’ natural sugars and juices and forms a caramelized yummy char.
Step one is to clean and cut the vegetables. Potatoes and zucchini do well as wedges. Carrots, corn and beets can be grilled whole. For eggplant and squashes, we like to cut them in half.
Then, drizzle them with a little healthy olive oil, so they won’t stick to the grill, and season with kosher salt and course ground black pepper.
If you’re not using kosher salt yet, you should really give it a try. It adds so much more flavor than table salt.
Heat your grill to about 400 degrees. You can use a gas grill, charcoal grill, ceramic cooker even a small tailgate grill.
If you don’t have a grill yet – we need to talk – but you can use a grill pan on the stovetop set to medium-high.
Then, just follow the suggested grilling times on the infographic or our grilled vegetable recipes. Most veggies can be grilled in up in 15 minutes or less.
For thin vegetables, you might want to use a veggie basket so they don’t slip through the grate.
You’re going to end up with tender veggies adorned with impressive grill marks. They’ll be too pretty to resist.
I think veggies are awesome with just salt and pepper, but if you have some skeptical eaters at the table, drizzle them with lemon juice, fresh herbs or a little dressing or flavored vinegar for even more pizazz.
3 more bonuses to grilling veggies
They’re great hot or cold.
I like to grill up a garden full of veggies on the weekend, and then use them in salads for lunches all week long.
A salad topped with grilled eggplant or grilled beets and carrots is so much tastier than the standard raw alternative.
Feed one or feed an Army.
With this easy grilling technique, you can grill up three carrots or 20, and it takes the same amount of time. So now, you can grill up a simple, gorgeous side for a yourself or for a nice date night.
Feeding the family? Grill up 5 ears of corn, or better yet, let your kids pick out their own personal vegetables next time you go shopping. Then, you can grill up their “special” veggie just for them.
Clean up is a breeze.
All you need is a bowl or sheet pan to season the vegetables with olive oil, salt and pepper. Once the veggies are done grilling, you can add them back to the same bowl or pan and serve them straight from there.
Hit the veggie aisle.
Grab one or two vegetables you haven’t tried.
Follow our easy grilling steps.
Pat yourself on the back. You’ve now created a healthy side dish that tastes good and is really good for you.
Check out all of my grilled vegetable recipes below.