Come grigliare le verdure su un barbecue

How to grill vegetables on an OF outdoorkitchens barbecue

The arrival of the warm season, with days getting longer and the sky turning blue, awakens the desire to live outdoors and enjoy meals and dinners with friends. Cooking outdoors has become a widespread practice that goes well beyond simple food preparation, embracing the concept of sharing. For this reason, today we want to move away with you from the entrenched association between BBQ and meat grilling, suggesting you use your outdoor kitchen to prepare tasty grilled vegetables, a simple and versatile seasonal recipe that everyone agrees on. Let’s see, therefore, together how to grill vegetables on a barbecue and how to serve them best when having guests in the garden.

How to grill vegetables on a barbecue: choosing and preparing

Grilled vegetables are an excellent alternative to the classic raw salads, often considered boring and tasteless. Grilling, in fact, enhances the natural flavors of the vegetables, making them more appetizing, and allows to preserve their nutritional properties, such as vitamins, minerals, and fibers intact. In this article, we will give you some tips on how to grill vegetables like true professionals!

First, you will need to choose the vegetables: the most suitable for grilling are the firmer ones, such as zucchini, eggplants, peppers, onions, tomatoes, and potatoes, but you can also grill leafy vegetables like chard and spinach, being careful not to cook them too much.

After choosing the vegetables, you will need to wash them thoroughly and proceed to cut them, making sure the pieces are all the same thickness so they cook evenly. Once cut, you will need to oil the vegetables with olive oil to prevent them from sticking to the grill and season them with salt, pepper, herbs, or spices to taste. Moreover, whatever vegetables you choose, to achieve an even more intense flavor, you will need to marinate them before grilling. You will then prepare a simple marinade with olive oil, lemon juice, herbs, and spices, and let the vegetables marinate for at least 30 minutes.

Vegetables most suitable for grilling: how to cook them

As mentioned, the vegetables most suitable for grilling are the firmer ones. Here are some suggestions to prepare them at their best:

  • Zucchini: cut them into slices or rounds and season them with herbs such as basil, mint, or thyme;
  • Eggplants: grill them whole or cut them into slices, salt them and let them rest for 30 minutes to eliminate excess water. Season them with tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil for a classic grilled parmigiana, or with ricotta and sage for a more rustic taste;
  • Peppers: grill them whole and stuff them with cheese or vegetables, or peel them and cut them into strips;
  • Onions: cut them into slices or wedges, and let them caramelize, becoming irresistibly sweet;
  • Tomatoes: grill them whole or cut in half and season them with basil, oregano, or garlic;
  • Potatoes: cut them into slices or wedges and season them with herbs, olive oil, or spices.

How to cook vegetables: the type of grill

Once the preparations are done, it’s time to grill! You can use any type of grill to cook your vegetables, but the most suitable ones are charcoal or gas grills. If you use a charcoal grill, remember to soak the vegetables in water for a few minutes before grilling to prevent them from burning. Not only that, you must ensure that the coals are well lit and covered with a light layer of ash. Unlike meat, when grilling vegetables, the coals should be veiled with ash and the grill should be kept at a distance, moving it closer as the coals reduce their heat.

Once your grill is hot, you can proceed with cooking the vegetables for 2-4 minutes per side, or until they are tender and slightly golden. You will need to turn them frequently with tongs to ensure even cooking, but the exact cooking time will depend on the type of vegetable and its thickness: the more tender vegetables, like zucchini and peppers, will cook faster compared to the denser vegetables, like eggplants and potatoes.

For a more flavorful and moist side dish, you can cook the vegetables in foil: wrap the cut vegetables in aluminum foil, season them with oil, herbs, and spices, and seal the foil well. Then proceed to cook on the grill for 10-15 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.

Serving grilled vegetables: how and when

A versatile and nutritious dish, grilled vegetables can be served as an appetizer accompanied by a yogurt sauce or hummus, as a side dish to meat, fish, and tofu, or as a main dish along with pasta, whole rice, green salad, or bread. A rich source of vitamins, minerals, and fibers, indeed, grilled vegetables are perfect to enjoy both hot and cold: a simple and tasty dish that will benefit your health and make your spring outdoor meals even more inviting!