These easy grilled vegetables seasoned with balsamic vinegar, garlic, Italian seasoning, and olive oil are the perfect side dish.
Grilled Vegetables can be found on our plates pretty much all year long, but especially during warmer months when we spend all our time outside. This simple recipe can be made with any combination of veggies and comes together in about 15 minutes. Serve it with some Grilled Salmon or Grilled Pesto Chicken.
I am always shocked when I meet someone who hasn't tried cooking veggies on the grill since in my opinion, it is hands down one of the best ways to make any vegetable. It is also my favorite way to change someone's mind about a veggie they don't think they like.
This happened to me last summer when my Dad shrugged in disapproval at the bundles of asparagus I brought home to go with dinner. He adamantly claimed that asparagus just wasn’t his thing. That was until I threw them on the grill with some olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper. He went back for a second helping and requested them again a few nights later. I am telling you. Grilled veggies are where it’s at.
Now when it comes to this recipe, think about it more as a guide than a specific recipe. You can change out the vegetables for whatever you have on hand or looks great at the market. You can also add in whatever spices or herbs you have to mix up the flavor combination and you can always finish with citrus, fresh herbs, a drizzle of vinegar, or a sprinkling of your favorite cheese.
You can also cook it as the recipe in a grill basket or opt to cook them directly on the grill. The benefit of a grill basket is that you don't lose any veggies, if you want to cut the vegetables smaller, but both methods work great.
How to grill vegetables in a basket
When you’re ready to give grilled vegetables a shot follow these simple directions to make them in a grill basket.
- Prep your veggies. First wash them to remove any dirt, dry them well, and then chop. If you are using more than one vegetable, try to chop them uniformly so they cook in the same amount of time.
- Toss the vegetables with the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper. You can use any spices you like.
- Place your prepped veggies in a grill basket.
- Grill them for about 5 minutes and shake the grill basket. Grill for about 4-5 minutes longer until tender crisp. This can vary slightly depending on the specific vegetables.
- Season the grilled veggies with additional salt and pepper if needed. Garnish with a drizzle of olive oil, fresh herbs, or cheese.
How to cook vegetables directly on the grill?
If you want to cook your veggies right on the grill, the steps are slightly different.
- Wash and dry your vegetables. Then chop your vegetables into larger pieces that won't fall through the grill grates. For example, slice zucchini and summer squash in large horizontal slices as opposed half moons or small circles. For smaller vegetables like smaller mushrooms, broccoli, or cauliflower - a grill basket will be better.
- Toss the vegetables with an oil of your choice and seasonings.
- Place the vegetables directly on the grill. Most vegetables will need 3-5 minutes per side. They are ready to flip once they easily release from the grill. If they are stuck, they probably aren't ready to flip.
- Taste and season as needed.
- Note: If you don't have a grill basket, you can use a piece of foil right on the grill to prevent smaller vegetables from falling through the grates. You can also use a skewer. Just make sure to choose vegetables with similar cooking times.
What are the best vegetables for grilling?
You can pretty much grill any vegetable, you just need to know how long to cook them for. Here are some of the most popular vegetables to grill and their cooking time.
- Asparagus: Cook for 6-8 minutes, flipping the asparagus 1-2 times while cooking.
- Broccoli and Cauliflower: Cook in a grill basket for 7-10 minutes, shaking a few times while cooking.
- Carrots: Baby carrots or carrot spears are great in a grill basket and will take 10-12 minutes total, shaking the basket a few times.
- Corn on the cob: Wrap the corn in foil and grill for 15–20 minutes, turning 3-4 times while it cooks.
- Eggplant: Make sure to brush with oil since eggplant tends to stick. Cook for 4-5 minutes per side.
- Mushrooms: Larger mushrooms like portobello mushrooms will take 5-7 minutes per side. Smaller mushrooms on a skewer or in a basket take about 8 minutes total, shaking the basket or turning the skewer a couple of times while cooking.
- Onions: Slice the onion into circles about 1/2 inch thick. Cook for 6-8 minutes per side. Onions are great to include in a grill basket as well since they often fall through the grates when they are flipped.
- Bell Peppers: Cut into large pieces. Cook with the skin down for 6-8 minutes. Then flip and cook for 3-5 minutes on the other side. If you want smaller slices, use a grill basket.
- Summer squash: Cook for 3-5 minutes per side. Larger pieces can be cooked directly on the grill or smaller pieces in a grill basket.
- Zucchini: Cook for 3-5 minutes per side. Larger pieces can be cooked directly on the grill or smaller pieces in a grill basket.
Can you make these without oil?
Grilled vegetables come out the best when they are tossed with some oil to prevent sticking. However, if you want a lower calorie option, you can use cooking spray or grill spray instead. Placing foil directly on the grill can also help prevent sticking.
Recipe Tips and Ideas
You will want to keep these things in mind when making any kind of veggies on the grill.
- Remember that this recipe is more of a how to grill vegetables than a straight up recipe. Mix it up with all your favorite veggies, spices, and herbs to create delicious grilled veggies for all your summer meals.
- In my opinion, grilled veggies make great leftovers for salads, wraps, and quesadillas. I also make a double batch, so I can munch on them during the week.
- You can grill your vegetables either in a grill basket or directly on the grill. I prefer a basket since it means you won't lose any veggies through the grates of the grill, but they come out delicious directly on the grill as well. Just make sure slice them into larger pieces for easier flipping.
- It is important to remember that grilling vegetables does not take long. So, if you’re grilling other meats or foods you should not start these vegetables until you are about 15 minutes away from being ready to eat. You can cook them earlier if you want, you will just want to find a way to keep them warm like placing them in the oven. But who wants to turn on the oven when you’re grilling?
When it comes to grilling, and most cooking, the tools of the trade are important. Here are some of the tools I used to cook this recipe.
- Grill basket: As I mentioned, I love using a grill basket for cooking vegetables and smaller items on the grill since it means you don't lose anything through the grates of the grill. This is one I have at home and it works great. It's nonstick and has held up after tons of use.
- Grill-grade tongs. This may seem like a bit much, but if you have burned your hands on a grill before from not having long enough tools, you will only make that mistake once! Long handled tongs are great for using on vegetables and even meat products when you’re grilling.
- High quality balsamic vinegar: Since the balsamic vinegar is one of the main flavors in this recipe, it's really important to choose a high quality one that will pack in the flavor and bring the right amount of sweetness and tartness. This doesn't mean you have to spend a fortune though. Personally I usually buy the Whole Foods 365 Aged Balsamic Vinegar and also enjoy this one and this one.
Can I make grilled vegetables without a grill?
You don't need an outside grill to make these veggies. A grill pan is a great indoor option that will give you equally delicious results. Just make sure to grill the vegetables in a well-ventilated space with the oven fan on since some grill pans produce quite a bit of smoke.
These vegetables are super versatile and can be used for any number of dishes, salads, pizzas, wraps, and more. Here are some favorites:
- Serve these with a pile of freshly chopped herbs and some crumbled goat cheese or fresh Parmesan.
- Toss with canned chickpeas and feta cheese for a quick, healthy side dish or vegetarian main course.
- Add some homemade pesto right on top before serving and toss them with some cooked pasta for an easy main course.
- Use leftovers to make delicious salads, wraps with hummus, cold pasta or rice salads, and the best scrambled eggs.
Want to learn even more about grilling vegetables? Check out our ultimate guide.
Easy Grilled Vegetables
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Wash, dry, and prepare the vegetables. If you are cooking the vegetables on the grill, you will want to keep chop them into larger pieces (or leave whole for items like mini bell peppers or mushrooms) so they don't fall through the grill grates. If you are using a grill basket, you can slice smaller.
Place in a grill basket or directly on the grill. If grilling directly, slice the veggies into larger pieces to make for easier flipping. Grill for about 5 minutes and either shake the grill basket or flip the veggies. Grill 4-5 minutes longer until tender. Season with additional salt and pepper if needed. Garnish with a drizzle of olive oil, fresh herbs, or cheese.
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.
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