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6 Tips for Grilling Vegetables6 Tips for Grilling Vegetables


Tips for Grilling Vegetables

Grilling fruits and vegetables creates delicious flavors by caramelizing the natural sugars. The following tips will help you get the most out of your fresh produce while keeping your meal healthy.

Flavor without fat and sodium.

Skip the butter and salt, and use marinades to flavor grilled vegetables. Oil and vinegar can be seasoned with herbs such as rosemary, basil, oregano, or thyme. Wine, salsas, and tangy marinades like pineapple, orange, lemon, or lime juice provide a tasty alternative. Marinate the vegetables for 30 minutes before grilling. To speed things up, you can also brush on the marinade right before putting them on grill, and again just before they are done cooking.

Easy on the oil.

Vegetables need oil to prevent sticking on the grill, but don’t go overboard. Remember there are 120 calories in each tablespoon of olive oil. Brush or spray them lightly just until coated.

Place these veggies right on the grill.

Slice bell peppers in half and remove the ribs. Cut eggplants, summer squash, and onions in slices about a ½ inch thick. Place these vegetables directly on the grill for about 10 - 15 minutes, flipping halfway through. Trim stems from asparagus and place the spears perpendicular to the grate so they don’t fall through. The spears will be ready in about 10 minutes.

Skewers for small vegetables.

Skewers are a good option for vegetables that are too small to place directly on the grill such as cherry tomatoes, small hot peppers, and button mushrooms. Place skewers of vegetables on the grill, perpendicular to the grate, for 10 to 15 minutes. Flip 3 to 4 times during grilling for even cooking.

Packets for easy cleanup.

Chopped summer squash, onion, eggplant, peppers, mushrooms, carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, green beans, and corn cut off the cob can be grilled in packets made from tin foil. Drizzle your packet fillings lightly with olive oil and add your favorite fresh or dried herbs. Fold over the edges to seal and grill over medium heat for about 20 -30 minutes. Keep in mind that raw potatoes and carrots may take longer to cook so cut them into smaller pieces, or put them in their own packet and add them to other vegetables after they are done cooking.

More options for healthy eating.

Vegetables are delicious straight from the grill, but they can also be used in other dishes. Chop grilled vegetables and add to whole wheat pasta or quinoa. Use them as a taco filling, omelet filling, or pizza topping.

Lori Rice, M.S., is a nutritional scientist and author with a passion for healthy cooking, exercise physiology, and food photography.
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