Vegetables provide an abundance of nutrients and vitamins to every meal while adding distinct textures and tastes, balancing out hearty and indulgent dishes. However, given the many different vegetables on the market, it can be difficult to know how to cook them properly to ensure they attain the texture, softness, and color you want. If you’re in need of tips for grilling vegetables, we’ve got you covered.
The great thing about vegetables is that you can often tell when they’re ready just by visually inspecting them. You also don’t have to worry about their doneness in the middle like you would with meat like steak or chicken, as they tend to cook evenly. Here are five tips for grilling vegetables like a pro:
Toss Vegetables in Oil
Vegetables are high in water content, which means they can dry out once they are exposed to heat. To prevent this, toss vegetables in a light coating of oil. Be sure not to use too much oil since it will add calories and infuse it with a greasy flavor. Once they’re evenly coated with a light covering of oil, put them on the grill, and they’re ready to cook.
Use the Right Cooking Time
Some vegetables cook in as fast as one to two minutes, while others take longer, especially if they’re dense. For instance, potatoes take the longest to cook, while garlic browns in just a few minutes. Avoid putting these vegetables on too-high heat for too long, as it will burn the outside to a crisp while keeping the inside raw.
You can also prevent burning by searing vegetables over high heat, then moving them to a cooler part of the grill to finish cooking. You can also precook vegetables on a pan and transfer them to the grill, allowing them to achieve a richer color on the outside.
Use a Grill Basket or a Skewer for Small Vegetables
Zucchini rounds, mushrooms, and cherry tomatoes offer more delicious flavors when cooked on the grill, but they can be challenging to move around due to their small size. To prevent them from rolling around or falling through, skewer them or gather them in a grill basket. You can also fold a 24-inch-long piece of heavy-duty foil in half and fold the edges to create a makeshift basket. It will prevent the food from falling while infusing them with smokey flavor.
Cut Vegetables Into Smaller Pieces
On the other hand, grilling large vegetables can also be complicated. To circumvent this, cut them into smaller pieces, which will allow them to grill faster. For example, slice round vegetables like eggplants and onions into thin rounds, as they will cook more evenly and crisp on the outside. Be sure to cut long vegetables into planks or long, thin pieces to cook more quickly and evenly. You can also cut them in half to slow cook them over medium heat.
Cook in Packets
If you’d like a more convenient way to grill your vegetables, consider cooking them in packets, which works well for dense vegetables like sweet potatoes. All you have to do is to put a 24-inch-long piece of foil on the counter and apply a light coating of non-stick cooking spray. Then, organize your thinly sliced vegetables on the layer, overlapping just a bit, on the foil. Maintain a two-inch border on all sides, then fold the foil and pinch the edges together until you make a packet. Put the packet on the grill and cover it until the vegetables are tender, usually taking twelve to fifteen minutes for potatoes. Take caution when opening the packet to check doneness, as it will release a cloud of steam.
Cooking vegetables can be difficult, especially when on a grill. However, by following these easy tips for grilling vegetables, you’ll become a master in no time and up your culinary game!
If you’re hoping to learn more cooking techniques from private chefs in Pensacola, Colorado Springs, or even Charleston, be sure to check us out at Food Fire + Knives! We help everyone enjoy the perfect private chef experience by connecting clients with a wide network of chefs eager to provide a world-class dining experience. We also provide private chef catering and cooking classes. Sign up for our newsletter today to stay updated!