I’m starting a series called Tips Tuesday. For many in the United States, Memorial Day is the kickoff to summer. Summer to me is hot, sunshine-filled days lounging by the pool, long evenings, and lots of grilled food. 

I don’t just grill meat, although don’t get me wrong, I love a good burger, chicken or steak on the grill, I also love to grill vegetables. Grilling vegetables is a fantastic way to enhance their flavors and create delicious, charred bites. Done right, vegetables are a delicious addition to any meal. Almost any vegetable (except leafy greens) can be grilled. Some of my favorites are grilled asparagus, zucchini, green beans, red or sweet onions, mushrooms, egg plant, bell peppers, and beets, drizzled with a little olive oil, and salt and grilled in a grill basket. This one is the one I use: Cuisinart grill basket because I love that it’s non-stick. 

Here are some tips for grilling veggies to perfection:

When grilling vegetables, be sure to cut them as uniformly thick as possible. This ensures they cook evenly and makes for a better presentation when serving. Another tip when grilling fresh vegetables is to cut them so that the maximum amount of surface area is exposed. The more surface area exposed to the grill grates, the better the taste will be. This applies to zucchini, eggplant, and any vegetable that is large and needs to be sliced.

When grilling vegetables, consider the density of the vegetable. 

 Tender vegetables like asparagus, broccolini, mushrooms, leeks and scallions, cook very quickly over high, direct heat. (Like in about 5 minutes).

Hard vegetables, like carrots, butternut squash, and potatoes should be par-cooked for about 5 to 10 minutes before grilling.

In-Between vegetables, like zucchini, peppers, Brussels sprouts, onions, and corn, grill best over medium-high heat for 10 to 20 minutes, with the lid closed.

Preheat the grill. Clean the grill grates and lightly coat them with oil. For gas grills, turn the burners to high. For charcoal grills, spread the hot coals evenly and preheat for 15 minutes or coals turn an ash-colored gray. About 500° F. 

Prepare the vegetables: To prepare the veggies, toss tender veggies like asparagus with olive oil, salt and pepper. Use a grill basket for small or thin veggies, like cherry tomatoes, green beans, onions, etc. And like I said before, cut larger veggies into similar-sized pieces for even cooking.

Grill the vegetables: When grilling, if not using a grill basket, you want to place the veggies perpendicular to the grates, so that they won’t fall through. Turn them occasionally with a metal spatula or tongs so that they brown on all sides. Be sure to adjust the cooking times based on the veggie type and desired tenderness.

Enjoy! Serve your grilled veggies as a side, in salads, or with your favorite protein.

Experiment with different vegetables, and seasonings to create your perfectly grilled vegetable medley.