Vegetables benefit almost more than meats from
cooking over charcoal. The
caramelizing of natural sugars gives old reliables
new flavor and style. In this article,
you'll find the best vegetables for grilling, how to
prep and cut, grilling times for various
vegetables, and flavor tricks with fresh herbs.
Fleshy vegetables work best on the grill. Try corn
on the cob, eggplant, potatoes, summer squashes, and
portobello or other large mushroom caps.
Prepping for the Grill
Wash vegetables and trim off any blemishes. Don't
peel the vegetables unless specified in a recipe. Skin
helps them hold their shape and stay moist. Wipe
dirt off mushrooms with damp paper toweling.
Cut vegetables in thick slices. Slabs of eggplant,
large summer and zucchini squash, and giant sweet
Bermuda, Spanish, or Vidalia onions can be turned
and basted individually or grouped in a grilling basket
and turned all together.
Grill small squash, bell peppers, and unpeeled
onions whole. Cut large tomatoes into wedges, small ones in
half. Tomato wedges or cherry tomatoes can be cooked
on skewers to prevent them from falling through the
When grilling vegetables on skewers, be sure to pair
up soft vegetables, such as tomatoes and mushrooms,
with other soft vegetables. Cook hard vegetables, such as peppers
and onions, together. Alternatively,parboil firm vegetables and then
cook them along with softer ones.
To the Grill
Arrange the vegetables on a rack set crosswise on the grill to
prevent the vegetables from falling onto the
Brush the vegetables with sauce -- if you are grilling meat, you can
use the same sauce here, if you wish --
or with a simple mixture of 2/3 oil to 1/3 vinegar or lemon juice.
Cook vegetables over moderate heat at the edge of the grill. Turn
them with a wide spatula or tongs.
Approximate times are:
15 to 20 minutes: Thick slices of zucchini or yellow squash,
eggplant, whole tomatoes, mixed vegetables on
20 to 25 minutes: Whole zucchini, summer squash, large mushroom
35 to 45 minutes: Corn in the husk or husked and wrapped in foil
45 to 50 minutes: Corn without husk brushed with sauce; whole
eggplant for purée; thick onion or potato
1 1/4 to 1 3/4 hours: Whole large unpeeled onions, whole baking
potatoes or sweet potatoes (turn every 10
minutes to cook evenly)
Not so Hot
When grilling vegetables alone, make the fire small.
When grilling them along with meat, make a large fire
and place meat in the center and the vegetables at
Dip a sprig of fresh herb in the sauce or oil and vinegar or lemon
juice mixture and brush it over the
vegetables when you turn them. Just before the vegetables are done,
drop the herb onto the coals to flavor
the vegetables even more. Use basil for the tomatoes or bell
peppers, sage for the onions, thyme or dill for
squashes, and rosemary for almost any vegetable.