Learn how to make amazing Grilled Vegetables ... it's easy! Almost any veggie can be grilled, and these colorful, delicious vegetables are a wonderful addition to any meal.
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Is there anything better than a colorful platter of summer vegetables?
I can't think of many things, and grilling is one of my favorite ways to cook fresh veggies. It's practically foolproof, and the results are mouthwatering.
The best Grilled Vegetables are smokey, perfectly tender-crisp, and sooo delicious. Yum, right?
Today, I'm going to show you how to grill vegetables step-by-step. You can use this easy Grilled Vegetables recipe with practically any veggie, so start gathering your favorites and let's get cooking!
It is amazing how much flavor vegetables on the grill have. They're also versatile! BBQ vegetables make the perfect summer side dish or antipasto, but they can be used in other recipes like pizza, salads, or tacos, too.
I grilled a variety of colorful veggies for these photos, and it makes a beautiful presentation. You can keep things simple though and use this grilling technique for a single vegetable. It works either way, so need to go all out like I did ... unless you want to!
You can cook your veggies on the grill like I did here, or use a grill pan in bad weather. I'm sharing tips for doing it both ways, and either method produces wonderful results.
Okay, are you getting hungry? Then, keep reading for tons of tips and techniques ... here's what you'll find:
- Best Vegetables for Grilling
- Veggie Preparation Tips
- Step-by-Step Instructions and Recipe
- Vegetable Grilling Times
- Optional Marinade and Dipping Sauce Recipes
- Ideas for What to Serve with Grilled Vegetables
Best Vegetables to Grill
One of my favorite things about cooking vegetables on the grill is that almost any veggie can be used. The options are endless, and the technique I'm sharing below works for them all!
Here are a variety veggies to try at your next cookout, along with helpful preparation tips:
- Zucchini - Grilled zucchini is a thing of beauty when cooked perfectly crisp-tender. Slice zucchini on an angle or lengthwise to create more surface area. Similar veggies, like summer squash or pattypan squash can also be grilled.
- Asparagus - This yummy veggie tastes amazing grilled, and it can be cooked whole. Just remove the tough ends first.
- Peppers - Almost any kind of pepper, from bell peppers to hot peppers, can be grilled. Grill peppers whole or cut them into wedges or thick slices. If you're worried about small peppers (or slices) falling through the grates, skewer them or cook them in a grill basket.
- Tomatoes - This is one veggie that's delicious grilled, but slightly tricky because it's so tender and juicy. Skewer or use a grill basket for cherry tomatoes. Cut whole tomatoes in half, then cook them skin side down first to help them hold together better.
- Onions - Grilling brings out onions natural sweetness. Thickly slice onions or quarter them through the root. Be careful when flipping to make sure they don't fall apart.
- Mushrooms - You can grill portobello mushrooms, as well as white or brown mushrooms. Remove stems from portobellos, then grill whole. Use skewers or a grill basket for smaller mushrooms.
- Artichokes - Grilling adds a wonderful smokey flavor to this favorite veggie. Artichokes need to be parboiled* to ensure they cook through on the grill. Once you've done that, remove the tough leaves and choke, then halve or quarter the artichokes before grilling.
- Eggplant - This veggie is a natural on the grill. Prep by cutting into rounds or slicing from end to end.
- Potatoes - Potatoes can be cooked many ways on the grill: whole, in foil, or sliced. To grill potatoes, parboil* whole potatoes first, then slice them before grilling. You could also skewer parboiled baby potatoes or cut larger parboiled potatoes into cubes and use a grill basket. Prepare other roots vegetables, like sweet potatoes, beets, and parsnips the same way.
- Carrots - Grilling brings out the natural sweetness of this favorite veggie. Since carrots are tough, parboil* them, then slice them into rounds or strips). Cook rounds in a grill basket and strips directly on the grill.
- Green Beans - This classic veggie is delicious grilled. Use a grill basket to keep them from falling through the grates.
- Corn - Grilled corn on the cob is a classic. Corn can be grilled with husks on (remove silk) or off, although I prefer to remove the husks to get that delicious char right on the corn.
- Broccoli / Broccolini - Add some smoke to your broccoli! Cut broccoli into pieces, then cook in a grill basket. Broccolini, on the other hand, can be cooked right on the grates.
- Cauliflower - This versatile veggie can be sliced into steaks or cut into florets. Cook the steaks on the grill, and use a grill basket for the florets.
- Cabbage - Add a little pizazz to plain old cabbage. To prepare, cut cabbage into steaks (slices) or wedges.
- Okra - The grill adds a wonderful smokey flavor to okra and eliminates some of the slime factor. Large okra can be cooked on the grates. Skewer smaller okra or cook in a grill basket.
- Greens /Lettuce - Have you ever had a grilled salad? It's delish! Try grilling romaine halves or whole kale leaves, then topping them with your favorite dressing for a unique salad.
*Learn how to parboil here.
Are Grilled Vegetables healthy?
There's been a lot of talk lately about how grilled foods can actually be quite unhealthy, especially meats and other fatty foods. The good news is that the harmful compounds which form on meats do NOT form on vegetables, so you can eat these delicious Grilled Veggies without any worries. Learn more at WebMD, plus get more tips for healthy grilling.
BBQ Tools for Grilling Vegetables
You don't need a lot of fancy accessories to barbecue vegetables, but the ones you do need are important:
- Gas or Charcoal Grill - You can grill vegetables on either kind of grill, although it's easier to control the heat on a gas grill.
- Grill Pan - Don't have a grill? Want to grill in bad weather? Then, do it inside instead. I have this cast iron grill pan, and I love it. It delivers that same great flavor you crave without a grill.
- Tongs - A pair of tongs is essential for flipping grilled vegetables securely. If you do a lot of grilling, consider getting a utensil set. I like this grilling tools set ... it's heavy duty and comes with everything you'll need, including a brush for coating veggies with olive oil.
- Basting Brush - Use a basting brush for lightly coating veggies with oil (and for many other kitchen tasks). This silicone brush is my favorite, and it won't melt under high heat.
- Vegetable Grill Basket - Veggie are notorious for falling through grill grates, which is why a grill basket is a must for smaller and more delicate veggies. See my tips for using one below.
- Grill Mitts - If you're using a grill basket, then you'll need grill mitts to protect your hands from burning.
- Skewers - Metal or bamboo skewers are another options for cooking smaller veggies. I prefer to use stainless steel skewers, which won't burn, but bamboo skewers work, too. Just make sure to soak them first.
- Oil - I love the flavor of olive oil, so I use that for outdoor grilling. For indoor grilling, use an oil with a lower smoke point like canola. That way, your kitchen won't get too smokey.
- Seasonings - There are many ways to season Grilled Vegetables, from basic salt and pepper to your favorite herbs and spices. I'm sharing a yummy marinade and a dipping sauce here, but the veggies taste amazing simply seasoned with salt and pepper, too.
How to Grill Vegetables
I don't know about you, but I'm getting hungry. So let's start grilling!
Once you get going, the grilling process moves fast. Being organized is the best way to ensure a low stress grilling experience ... you don't want be distracted by trying to do a million things at once, right?
So before you head outside, spend a little time gathering everything you'll need (pans, cooking utensils, seasoning, paper towels, etc.), prepping your vegetables, and preparing the marinade (if using).
Preparing the Veggies
Prepping your veggies properly will ensure they cook evenly.
You want to slice most veggies—such as the zucchini and onions I used here—somewhere between ⅓ to ½-inch thick. Slice veggies like cabbage and cauliflower into steaks about 1-inch thick to make sure they hold together. Cut peppers into wide strips (or grill whole). Other vegetables—like asparagus and cherry tomatoes—can be kept whole. You just need to remove tough ends.
Look under the Best Vegetables to Grill section (above) for specific vegetable preparation tips.
Once you've prepped the veggies, brush them with olive oil and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.
Cooking the Veggies
Preheat your grill to medium, about 350 to 450 degrees. When the grill is hot, place the vegetables on the grill. Lay long vegetables, like asparagus, perpendicular to the grill grates. Close the lid.
Check on the veggies after a few minutes. When they have noticeable brown grill marks, flip them. Continue cooking the veggies until the other side has grill marks, too. Keep the grill closed to maintain heat (and enhance that smokey flavor) when you are not checking the vegetables.
If your veggies begin to char before they're tender, move them to a cooler part of the grill to finish cooking. You can also move any veggies that have finished grilling to the side while the others finish cooking.
Transfer the veggies to a platter and adjust their seasoning with extra salt, if needed. A squeeze of lemon is also delicious, or you can drizzle them with my Grilled Vegetable marinade. This yummy marinade is a simple mixture of olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and rosemary, and it adds an extra pop of flavor.
How to Use a Grill Basket
For smaller or chopped veggies, you'll need to use a grill basket. Put the oiled / seasoned vegetables in the basket, taking care not to overcrowd it (your vegetables won't cook evenly if you do).
Place the basket on the grill, then close the lid. Give the basket a shake every once in a while to stir the veggies ... use grill mitts to protect your hands. When the vegetables are tender, remove the basket from the grill. It will be very hot, so place it on a baking sheet for easy transferring.
How to Use a Grill Pan (Indoors)
It's totally possible to grill vegetables inside if you don't have a grill or if the weather is bad. Start by preheating your grill pan over medium heat. You'll also want to brush your veggies with canola oil (or another low smoke point oil) before seasoning them with salt and pepper.
Turn on your stove fan, then add the vegetables to pan in a single layer (you may need to do this in batches). Cook the veggies on one side until grill marks appear. Flip and cook on other side.
Grilled Vegetable Cooking Times
For the most part, your veggies will be done when they have grill marks on both sides.
Some veggies take longer to cook than others though. If you want to ensure everything is finished cooking at the same time, then use these guidelines for the most common vegetables:
- Corn: 10 to 13 minutes
- Broccoli and cauliflower: 8 to 10 minutes (less for broccolini)
- Zucchini, squash, eggplant, onions, and peppers: 7 to 10 minutes (whole peppers will take longer)
- Mushrooms: 5 to 10 minutes, depending on size
- Parboiled vegetables, such as artichokes, potatoes, and carrots: 4 to 8 minutes, or until cooked through
- Asparagus and tomatoes: 4 to 6 minutes
Tip: if some of your veggies cook faster than others, move them to the side of the grill. The indirect heat will keep them warm while the others finish cooking.
What to Serve with Grilled Veggies
These BBQ vegetables are seriously delicious seasoned only with salt and pepper. My tasty lemon-rosemary marinade brings out their flavors even more though, and you can get creative and drizzle them with another sauce, like Pesto, too.
I served my veggies with the marinade and with my favorite Romesco Sauce for dipping. The rich flavors of Romesco Sauce pair perfectly with these smokey vegetables!
You can also use these veggies in other recipes, such as on Grilled Pizza or in Grilled Halloumi Salad. Try them in recipes that call for roasted veggies too, like this Roasted Veggie Bowl, Wheat Berry Salad, Cilantro Pesto Pasta, or these Roasted Veggie Quesadillas.
- 1 bunch asparagus, tough ends removed
- 1 large bell pepper, cut into wide strips
- 1 large red onion, sliced
- 1 large zucchini, sliced on an angle
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon chopped rosemary
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 2 large cloves garlic, minced
- Preheat grill to medium heat, about 350 to 450 degrees.
- If using marinade, whisk ingredients together (olive oil, lemon juice and zest, rosemary, and garlic). Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.
- Brush both sides of vegetables with olive oil, then sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Skewer tomatoes or place in a grill basket. Place veggies on grill and close lid.
- Cook vegetables until brown grill marks appear, then flip. (If using a grill basket, shake occasionally, cooking until tomatoes are tender.)
- Continue cooking vegetables until there are grill marks on their other side and they are tender. (If veggies char before becoming tender, move them to a cooler part of the grill to finish cooking through.)
- Remove veggies from grill. Season to taste with additional salt, if needed. Drizzle with marinade, if using.
- Serve vegetables immediately or at room temperature. Enjoy!