When most people think about grilling, they immediately turn their minds to burgers, hot dogs, steak, chicken, ribs, or some other type of protein. Oh, how that humble vegetable always seems to get set aside! Whether they become the hero of your meal or a staple side dish, adding some veggies (or even fruits) can be just what you need to craft a delicious family BBQ menu. Sure, most people already know about grilling corn on the cob and others may feel experienced enough to throw some rounds of pineapple over the coals—but did you know that there's a much wider range of fresh food that can be popped onto the grill? Grilling vegetables and fruits is one of my favorite ways to bring out some of the most amazing flavors without the need for crazy rubs or seasonings.
Light up the grill and impress your friends and family with these quick, easy ideas!
- Cut cauliflower into florets, toss with olive oil, a dash of cumin and chili powder, and some minced up garlic. Grill on medium-high for about 15–20 minutes until it’s nice and golden. Place them in some tortillas, top with some mango, shredded cabbage, and freshly sliced avocado.
- Peppers are easy as well! Rub them with a little olive oil, place them on the burner, and let them char. They'll look like they're burnt, but that’s what you want. Once they're charred on all sides, place them in a glass bowl and cover it. Let sit for 10 minutes and then very carefully begin to peel off the skin. You'll have a beautifully sweet and tasty roasted peppers that are great atop salads or burgers. I also recommend mixing them up with tomatoes and mozzarella for a side dish.
- Our recipe for Grilled Zucchini Caprese is sure to be a hit! You can easily replace the zucchini with sliced eggplant, but keep in mind grill times will be a bit shorter.
- Mushrooms are another yummy option, but be aware they can get somewhat dry if you toss them directly on the grill. I recommend letting them sit in a marinade for 30 minutes to one hour beforehand. Slice up the mushrooms and place the pieces on skewers and grill over high heat for 3–6 minutes on each side.
- Cut up some watermelon into triangles or slices (keeping the rind attached), about half-inch thick in size. Leave them plain or sprinkle with a pinch of sugar, red pepper flakes, and a little lime zest. Grill over high heat for up to 3 minutes per side. You can eat the watermelon on its own, slice it up and mix it in Greek yogurt, or top it with fresh feta cheese.
- Peaches will caramelize wonderfully on the grill. Simply slice a few firm peaches in half and remove the pit, then place them cut-side down over medium heat for a couple of minutes until grill marks appear. Move them to a cooler spot let them sit for a couple of minutes until they become tender (but not too soft they fall apart). Top with a sprinkle of cinnamon sugar, a dollop of whipped cream, or even a scoop of vanilla ice cream!
Whether you're a veggie lover like me or you're looking to incorporate more fresh food into your diet, grilling some of your produce can be a great way to get a few extra nutrients!