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How to Grill

How to Grill Vegetables: Chef’s Trick Makes ‘Em Extra Flavorful + Tender for Summer BBQs

Trust us, your pickiest guests will love these charred and smoky vegetables!

Grilled steak, chicken, ribs and fish take center stage in a typical BBQ spread — but what about vegetables? Lots of yummy produce picks, from zucchini to corn, are currently in-season and taste extra-delicious cooked on the barbecue. Whether you’re serving veggies as a side dish or as a meatless option for vegetarian guests, we’ve got tips that will help you get tender results every time. Here’s how to grill vegetables so they’re the star of your summer meal spread!

The best vegetables to grill

A trip to the farmer’s market is sure to present you with several tasty vegetable options. Below, registered dietitian nutritionist Kerri-Ann Jennings, MS, RD, lists great choices to grace your grill.

  • Zucchini
  • Eggplant
  • Bell Peppers
  • Onions
  • Corn
  • Tomatoes
  • Potatoes
  • Asparagus
  • Mushrooms

Should I marinate veggies before grilling?

Salt, pepper and oil do the trick for seasoning your veggies. However, marinating the veggies beforehand is ideal (if you’ve got time to spare). Marinating allows veggies to absorb more of the seasonings and develop a nice crust on the grill.

Plus, Jesse Szewczyk, food stylist and editor, explains that you can use the ingredients that are already in your pantry. “A simple combination of olive oil, lemon juice and seasoning works just fine, or try a homemade or bottled vinaigrette,” he says. “If you do want to add sweetness to your marinade, a few tablespoons of honey, maple syrup or sugar will be just fine and shouldn’t cause any issues.”

Whatever ingredient combo you use, be sure there’s enough marinade to evenly coat all veggies. Szewczyk suggests marinating veggies in a plastic bag for easy cleanup. “Soft vegetables (such as mushrooms and tomatoes) only need about 10 to 15 minutes, while heartier vegetables (such as cauliflower or potatoes) can go much longer — even overnight [in the fridge],” he says.

Related: Genius Trick Reheats Roasted Veggies So They’re as Crispy as When You Made Them

How long it takes to grill vegetables

Unlike meat or fish, grilling vegetables doesn’t require a thermometer to assess doneness. Instead, use this guide from the experts at CharBroil — it provides approximate cook times for veggies grilled at medium-high heat.

  • Corn on the cob (without husks): 5 to 7 minutes
  • Mushrooms: 3 to 4 minutes per side for portobello and 2 to 4 minutes per side for regular mushroom varieties
  • Onions: 10 to 12 minutes per side if quartered and 4 to 8 minutes if sliced
  • Bell Peppers: 16 to 20 minutes for whole and 8 to 12 minutes total for halves
  • Tomatoes: 8 to 24 minutes for whole and 2 to 5 minutes per side for sliced

Moreover, the grill experts at Weber note that asparagus should be grilled for 6 to 8 minutes, while eggplant needs about 10 to 12 minutes (turning once) — both cooked over direct medium heat.

Your vegetables are done cooking when they’re tender — once a fork can be inserted and they have plenty of grill marks plus a lightly charred crust. Feel free to leave the veggies on the grill for an extra minute or two if needed, but keep a close eye on them so that they don’t burn.

A grilled vegetable recipe worth trying

It’s now time to put your new grill skills to use. Try this Grilled Vegetables recipe from Cambria Style’s summer 2022 issue. It features a colorful assortment of veggies such as onions, golden beets, and red bell peppers. Once grilled, these smoky-sweet veggies are topped with burrata and mozzarella cheeses for a touch of creaminess. Yum! (Read our stories on how to grill burgers and how to grill ribs for additional grilling tips.)

Grilled Assorted Vegetables

Cambria style's grilled vegetables
courtesy of Cambria Style

Ingredients:

  • 1 green zucchini, peeled and cut into 4 pieces lengthwise 
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into strips 
  • 1 pound asparagus, bottoms cut
  • 1 small Japanese eggplant, cut into rounds
  • 1 bunch red beets, trimmed
  • 1 bunch golden beets, trimmed
  • 1 lb. green beans
  • 1 lb. baby potatoes
  • 1 lb. Brussels sprouts
  • 2 onions, peeled and thickly sliced
  • 1 large bunch of carrots, peeled and with their tops and greens
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 ball of burrata cheese, sliced in half (or 4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature)
  • 8 ounces of bite-sized mozzarella balls (or cubed Provolone cheese)
  • Favorite dipping sauces

Directions:

  • Yield: 12 to 24 servings
  1. Wrap beet bunches in foil and place directly on grill. Grill 40 to 45 minutes until tender. Once cooked, remove beets from foil and cool 5 minutes. Peel and quarter beets. 
  2. Coat remaining vegetables in olive oil, salt, and pepper. With about 25 minutes left in the cooking process, add potatoes and Brussels sprouts.
  3. In final 10 minutes of cooking, add remaining vegetables. Cook until tender and grill marks have formed.
  4. Remove vegetables and serve plated with dipping sauces, sliced burrata (or dollops of cream cheese), and mozzarella balls (or Provolone cheese).

Hungry for more vegetable dishes? Try these recipes!

This Creamy Spinach Casserole Recipe Is Perfect for Busy Weeknights — Oven-Ready in 10 Minutes

Stuffed Bell Peppers Cook Up Tender in the Air Fryer in 20 Minutes — 2 Delicious Recipes

Cucumber Salad Is the Ultimate Summer Side — Here’s How To Make It Extra Crunchy and Flavorful

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