It isn’t just meat that tastes great on the grill. Vegetables can be grilled and make great side dishes and for some vegetable lovers they are a main dish.
There are a few vegetables that are easy enough for beginners. Squash, especially zucchini or yellow squash should be sliced horizontally about a half-inch thick and lightly brushed with olive oil. Eggplant especially the thin-skinned Japanese variety can be prepared in the same way. The long strips are easier to keep from falling through the grate of the grill.
Onions that are thickly sliced or green onions left whole and brushed with olive oil and a sprinkling of salt are the perfect accompaniment to grilled meat.
Smaller vegetables like button mushrooms and cherry tomatoes can be threaded onto skewers. Use vegetable that have similar cooking times if mixing them on one skewer. Asparagus can be threaded onto two parallel skewers before grilling.
Peppers can be placed whole on the grill and their skins left to char. The skins are easily removed once the skin has blackened and they can then be split open and have the membrane, seeds, and stem removed before serving.
Corn on the cob can be kept in the husk once the inside silk is removed or wrapped in foil and place on the grill.
Cut off the top of a whole head of garlic and brush it with some oil. The garlic will soften and you can squeeze it out and use it on other vegetables, on meat, or as the topping on roasted garlic bread.
Stuffed vegetables can be the star of the grill. Take large onions and stuff them with bread cubes, onions diced and Italian sausage. Wrap them in foil and let them cook for a couple of hours on the grill. Stuff a pepper by cutting off the top and putting in cooked rice, mushrooms, onions, and cheese. Then put them on the cooler part of the grill and cook until the cheese melts and the pepper begins to soften. Watch them carefully so that you don’t cook them so long that they fall apart.
Harder vegetables such as carrots and potatoes do best if you give them a long cooking time and protect them from the hot part of the grill. You can cook them in the microwave or parboil them for about 3 minutes before placing them on the grill to speed up the cooking time. Alternatively wrap them in foil and let them slow cook until tender right on the grill.
A grill basket is an easy way to cook cut up vegetables without fear of them falling into the fire. Lightly coat the vegetable and the basket to prevent sticking.
Experiment with your favorite vegetables and see if the grilled flavor isn’t richer and more exciting then baking or steaming.