How to Grill Vegetables

Contrary to popular belief, grilling is not intended just for meat, and today as we continue our grilling series, I’m gonna show you just how awesome it is to grill vegetables too.

  • By Jess Dang
  • July 30, 2013

One of the reasons we grill is to draw out an ingredient’s natural sugars, to caramelize these sugars with the high heat of a grill, and to form a flavorful exterior while maintaining a juicy interior. While this works well for meats, it also works just as well for vegetables, which are also full of natural sugars.

The key to grilling vegetables is really to not do too much with them.

I typically like to make a simple vinaigrette to serve as a marinade and a baste throughout the grilling process. And of course, just a sprinkle of salt and pepper.

Just like you might make a sauce for grilled meats, you might want to do the same for your grilled vegetables. I suggest a hand-chopped pesto for dipping or chop up your grilled veggies and spoon them into a warm tortilla with a generous dollop of guacamole for easy summer veggie tacos.

Yes, we all love burgers and hot dogs at a BBQ, but they’re expected. Eggplant, peppers, and zucchini grilled to sweet perfection? Now that’s something your guests will remember.

See how easy it is to include some grilled veggies at your next cookout in this video:


How to Grill Vegetables

Give vegetables a different flavor profile when you learn how to grill them with this video.

Tips to Grilling Vegetables

And just to make sure you have it down, here are our simple steps on how to grill vegetables:

1. Make a vinaigrette

You can learn more about making vinaigrettes with our infographic below, or check out one of our favorites with grilled vegetables – a sweet balsamic vinaigrette that I’ll teach you how to make in this video:


Our 3 Favorite Vinaigrettes

This video shows our 3 favorite vinaigrettes that we make almost every week to boost flavor in any dish.


Cooking Formula for a Simple Vinaigrette

Learn this simple cooking formula to make homemade vinaigrette, and you'll never resort to that bottled stuff again.

2. Chop veggies the same size

Chop vegetables so they are about the same size and large enough so that they don’t fall through your grill grates. Also keep in mind, the smaller you chop, the more vegetable pieces you’ll have to flip back and forth.

3. Score veggies that take longer to cook

Scoring vegetables that take longer to cook will help them cook faster. And more flavor will seep in through the slits! (Watch the grilling video above for a demo.)

4. Heat your grill properly

When heating your grill, keep at last one burner off or at a lower heat. Longer cooking vegetables will finish grilling there.

5. Season and grill!

Glaze veggies on one side with your vinaigrette. Then salt and pepper. Place veggies seasoned side down on the grill. (Remember to have cleaned and oiled your grates. If you need help with this, check out the video below).

Glaze and salt and pepper other side before flipping. Veggies need about 3 minutes on each side at higher heat. If they cook fast, like peppers, you can take them off after grilling on high heat. If they need a bit longer to get tender, move them to indirect heat, and close the lid to finish cooking.


How to Use a Gas Grill

Learn how to use a gas grill in this grilling guide.

6. Enjoy!

There are so many ways to enjoy grilled veggies. They’re so good to eat hot off the grill, but you can also top your burgers with them, toss them into salads, or transform them into tasty sandwiches, like our Grilled Veggie Paninis!

For more grilling smarts, see all the posts in our grilling series.

To get the recipe for our delicious grill plate, check out our meal plan service. This grill plate dinner was featured on the menu for the week of July 22, 2013.

As always, we aim to provide the best cooking tips and resources to help you live your healthiest life in the kitchen and to cook with confidence. To get all this great cooking info, sign up for our newsletter, and we’ll deliver them right to your inbox, so that you can start cooking smarter and happier.


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