Summer officially started yesterday, so grilling season is in full swing. Grilled vegetables are one of my favorite summertime foods. I will make them when the weather is nice enough the rest of the year, but summer is really the time to enjoy fresh produce with an extra blast of flavor from the grill. If you love vegetables already, you will surely love them even more when they are grilled. If you are not a big fan of vegetables, you might give these a try because the grilling adds a different dimension of flavor. Onions, for example, become sweet and almost caramelized. They are so so good.
This isn’t so much a recipe as it is a method. You can vary the vegetable choices and the quantity to your needs and tastes. Here’s what I do:
- Fresh vegetables–we especially love bell peppers, onions, mushrooms, zucchini, and summer squash
- olive oil
- black pepper
- salt or kosher salt
- Italian seasoning
- balsamic vinegar
- Preheat your gas grill. I always start on high and then lower the temperature to low or medium when I put the food on the grill.
- Cut vegetables into fairly large pieces and put them in a large bowl. I cut peppers into about 1 inch strips, mushrooms in half, whole onions into about 8 pieces, zucchini and squash in about 1/2 inch round slices.
- Drizzle olive oil over the cut vegetables and toss to lightly coat. I use around 1-2 tablespoons for a large bowlful. You just want a light coating on the vegetables; they should not be swimming in oil.
- Sprinkle vegetables with salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning to taste and toss with the vegetables. You can always add more seasoning at the end, so if you are not sure, start with a small amount and go from there.
- Add a splash of balsamic vinegar to the bowl of vegetables and toss. I don’t measure this; I literally open the bottle and splash some in there. It is probably a tablespoon or two for a large bowl. Again, the vegetables should not be swimming in vinegar.
- Once the grill is heated, place a grill pan or two onto the grill and spread your tossed vegetables over them. Turn the grill to low. If you don’t have a grill pan, you can grill the meat directly over the fire on your grill grate, but you need to be aware that you may lose pieces in the spaces. (You may want to cut your pieces even larger for direct grilling.) Another option is to skewer the vegetables. I used to skewer them, but it became tedious when I wanted to make a larger quantity of vegetables. Also, if you use wooden skewers, you have to plan ahead to soak them to protect them from burning.
- Grill the vegetables for about five minutes and then use a metal spatula or heat-proof utensil to toss and turn the vegetables on the pan.
- Grill for another five minutes or so and then toss and turn the vegetables.
- Keep grilling and tossing and turning until the vegetables are to the level of doneness you prefer. I HATE the taste of raw onion, so I usually use the onion as my guide. I will taste a piece, and if it still tastes raw, I cook more. Once the onion is done, I know everything else is too. One of the beautiful things about grilled vegetables is that they retain a little bit of their crunch. If you cook them until they are limp, I don’t think they taste nearly as good. You want more of a stir-fry crunch.
- Remove vegetables from heat. I usually toss them back into my bowl and add another pinch of salt and another splash of balsamic vinegar and toss to coat.
- Serve vegetables with your favorite grilled meat or other main dish. As long as you don’t overdo it in the microwave, any leftover vegetables will still taste great.