I love to grill. And I especially enjoy the smokey flavor of grilled vegetable. And, for me, grilled veggies and a good olive oil are a natural match – like the grilled onions in the photo below. They got a finishing drizzle with our oil for some added flavor. I also like to brush veggies with olive oil before tossing them on the grill. Below is a Top 10 list of veggies which are especially suited for cooking over live fire.
The Best Veggies for Grilling
It comes courtesy of the book The Gardener & The Grill (Running Press, 2011), by Karen Adler and Judith Fertig.
“The ideal garden vegetables for grilling have to be able to stand the high heat, taste delicious when their natural sugars caramelize, and be easy for the griller to handle,” they write.
Asparagus: Thicker spears are best for grilling. One option for preventing the spears from falling through the grill grate: Skewer the tops and bottoms of a line of asparagus spears so you can turn them simultaneously.
Broccoli: Yes, you can grill broccoli. “The secret is to cut the fatter head into long, flatter pieces—or try purple sprouting broccoli, a variety with smaller individual florets,” Adler and Fertig write.
Cabbage: Cut large types of cabbage—green, red, Napa or Savoy—into quarters or eighths. Others, like radicchio or Brussels sprouts, should be halved. Brush the cut sides with olive oil and “grill until you get good grill marks. Easy.”
Corn: Grill in the husk. Or shuck the corn and place it directly on the grill grate.
Eggplant: A favorite around here. Large, cylindrical eggplants can be sliced lengthwise or into big coins. Smaller baby eggplant or long Japanese eggplant can be grilled whole or halved lengthwise.
Onions: Large yellow, white, or Bermuda onions can be peeled and sliced thickly. Skewer them “lollipop-style” for easier handling, or just place the slices directly on the grill. Scallions or bulb onions can be left whole. But turn them frequently. Slice leeks lengthwise and rinse out the grit before grilling.
Sweet and Hot Peppers: Grill them whole, and then remove the stem and seeds before chopping. You can also slice peppers and grill the slices on a grill rack or in a grill wok. For some added flavor, smoke the peppers over indirect heating using wood chips, pellets, or chunks on the fire.
Root Vegetables: Beets, carrots, parsnips, potatoes, rutabagas, and turnips should first be cooked in boiling water or the microwave before getting finished on the grill.
Summer Squash: Yellow summer squash and zucchini should be sliced lengthwise for easier handling.
Tomatoes: Big beefsteak tomatoes can be grilled whole or as thick slices. Smaller cherry and currant tomatoes are good on skewers. “Meaty Romas are delicious smoked or wood-grilled,” Adler and Fertig write.