Barbecues are as much a part of summertime festivities as running through the sprinkler in your backyard. Although meat and poultry are the usual featured classics on the menu, vegetables can be a tasty addition to any outdoor or indoor event. Healthy eaters and vegetarians will appreciate a variety of deliciously grilled vegetables. Grilling vegetables is an easy practice with very few utensils needed. The first step is choosing the vegetables you want to grill. Common grilling vegetables have a high water content to prevent drying out, including zucchini, peppers, onions, celery, endive, summer squash, eggplant, baking potatoes, sweet potatoes, mushrooms, and tomatoes. Wash vegetables using either a vegetable cleaner, lemon juice mixed with water, or baking soda. Make sure all pesticides and dirt are removed before grilling vegetables.
Vegetables can be grilled a few different ways: metal or wood skewers, metal basket, or pocket. For kabobs, use metal or wood skewers and cut vegetables in equal portions similar in size to a golf ball. Metal skewers should be cleaned and then lightly oiled before threading vegetables. Wood skewers need to be soaked in water for at least 30 minutes prior to threading to prevent catching fire on the grill. A metal basket has air holes which can be used for grilling smaller vegetables. Grill baskets keep vegetables from falling down into charcoal or open flame. To simmer vegetables in a flavorful seasoning, heavy aluminum foil can be used to form a “pocket.” Pocket grilling will keep the smoky flavor out of the vegetables but does allow for a little more relaxation with grilling. Of course, larger cut vegetables like potatoes and peppers, can be placed directly on the grill for a nice charred flavor.
Pocket grilling allows vegetables to simmer in any marinade or seasoning of your choice. However, it would be best to apply the marinade with a brush when grilling vegetables in a basket or on a skewer. There a few vegetable marinades that can be picked up at the local grocery store. Lawry’s® produces a wonderful line of marinades that can be used for vegetables. Marinate vegetables for 30 minutes before grilling in flavors such as Herb & Garlic, Buffalo BBQ, or Hawaiian for a truly unique dining experience. For more vegetable marinade recipes, check the links below. Tomato and sugar based sauces should be basted at the end since they tend to burn easily. Don’t forget that vegetables have their own individual taste and a marinade as simple as olive oil, kosher or sea salt, and pepper is just as good. Kosher or sea salt draws out the extra moisture of the vegetables, allowing them to be extra sweet and flavorful.
The grill should be heated to a medium low temperature. Remember that if you are using charcoal, your vegetables will absorb the essence, whether it is mesquite or hickory. Vegetables cook a lot quicker so you will have to keep a close eye on the grill. If you’re using a skewer or placing vegetables directly on the grill, use a small towel to coat grates with olive oil to prevent sticking. Use two skewers to keep kabobs from rolling around the grill. A knife or fork will puncture vegetables causing them to dry out prematurely. Use tongs to turn vegetables occasionally until lightly brown, usually about 2 – 6 minutes of grill time. Vegetables are ready when they a tender. Don’t be confined to your grill. Using a pan on a stove can be just as effective.
How To Do Things.com, How To Grill Vegetables, www.howtodothings.com
Perfect Sear, How To Grill Vegetables, www.perfectsear.com
Grilled Vegetable Recipe, An Introduction to Grilling Vegetables, www.grilledvegetablerecipe.com
Care2, 5 Marinades for Grilled Vegetables, www.care2.com
Lawry’s®, Marinades, www.lawrys.com