As a chef, I often get asked about how to grill vegetables. Well, my reply more frequently is too obvious an advice—It is pretty easy to grill vegetables. You only need to use a grill basket. Moreover, you only need to understand some tricks on doing it so as not to dry out or overcook your veggies. The good thing about a grill basket is that you can cook a hodgepodge of vegetables on your grill using this basket, giving you more time to enjoy chatting with your friends and family when you are outdoors.
The use of the grill basket is like that of the pan on your grill. It has perforated holes. These holes are small enough to let the smoky flavor in without allowing the food to fall out of the basket. You only need to preheat the grill as well as the basket while lightly oiling the food.
Moreover, you only need to add some condiments and stir or toss from time to time to ensure that you evenly distribute the heat. Soon, the food will brown a bit. But you won’t likely char the veggies as when you directly put them in the direct heat.
Why and When Should You Grill Your Veggies Using the Grill Basket?
When engaged in outdoor grilling, you can also grill veggies to add to grilled meat’s delicious taste and aroma. So, after cooking your steaks, chicken, and burgers, for example, you can then set the veggies on your griller using the grilling basket. Of course, you don’t want your veggies to get charred by direct heat. You want them to be evenly heated and cooked.
With occasional tossing, you can get your veggies cooked within 10 minutes. Thus, you don’t need to get stuck to eating grilled meat, but you can likewise enjoy healthy grilled veggies.
Of course, you won’t need the grill basket when grilling eggplant, corn, and zucchini. Nevertheless, you can still use the grill basket for cooking these types of vegetables. Moreover, grilling vegetables using the grilled basket comes with the following succinct advantages:
- You can save space because the veggies are lumped inside the grill basket and don’t take much space in the grill grates.
- You can cook many and various veggies at the same time to produce blended flavors.
- You can prevent the accidental falling of vegetables through the grates.
Simple Steps When Grilling Veggies Using the Grill Basket
As mentioned above, you can spice up your grilled meat with grilled veggies. Such grilled veggies can make your outdoor meal more nutritious likewise. Thus, if you intend to spruce up your meal with healthy grilled veggies, you can follow these simple steps on how to grill veggies using the grill basket:
- Prepare the veggies by chopping or cutting them into smaller pieces.
- Then soak the mixed veggies in a mixture of oil, salt, lime juice, minced garlic, pepper, and other herbs in a bowl for an hour.
- Prepare the grill by preheating it to medium heat.
- Then, place the veggies on the grill basket and set the grill basket on the grate.
- Turn the grill basket after five minutes. You can also toss the veggies every three to four minutes.
- You can remove the grill basket from the heat after ten minutes.
Which Vegetables are Ideal for Grilling?
With the use of the grill basket, you can grill almost all types of vegetables. However, some veggies cook longer, while some cook quicker. So, you need to be wary of these variations in cooking time. But whichever veggies you select to grill, you should choose something fresh. Some of the veggies you can grill using the grill basket include the following:
Corn on the cob is one of the most common veggies that you would see in backyard barbecues. Depending on which recipe you wish to follow, you can grill it without husk or with husk.
Tomatoes can be grilled, either sliced or whole. Grilling it can be a challenge. Yet, with the grill basket, it can be fun and delicious.
Root vegetables like carrots, Brussels sprouts, and romaine lettuce.
Asparagus, cabbage, onions, eggplant, bell peppers, zucchini, portobello mushrooms.
Should You Soak Your Veggies Before You Grill Them?
It is not necessary to soak your vegetables before you grill them. In fact, you don’t want your veggies to be waterlogged soggy. However, you can boil some veggies before you grill them to give them more juiciness. Yet, it all depends on whether the veggies would dry out quickly.
Remember that some veggies need only a little time to be done. These veggies are perfect for grilling. Some vegetables, however, would take a longer time to cook on the grill. So, it will be best to boil them beforehand.
Some veggies, when grilled, get their natural sugars highlighted. They become smoky and sweet like caramels. So, if you serve them to non-veggie aficionados, you may get surprised if they begin to like these grilled veggies.
Additional Tips When Grilling Veggies
After learning the simple steps on how to grill veggies using the grill basket, it will also help to be cognizant of the following additional tips when grilling veggies:
- It will be best to cut your veggies in a similar fashion or density. These similar cuts will help distribute moisture content evenly. Some veggies like onions and peppers will cook quicker. So, if you want them to cook simultaneously with other veggies, cut the other veggies in similar sizes. Ensure that all chunks in the grill basket have the same densities.
- To keep your veggies from drying, you should marinate them with a bit of oil and other condiments. You can season it with garlic powder or salt. You can also use your favorite herbs to add flavor to it.
- Preheat the grill and grill basket for ten minutes. Keep the lid closed when you preheat them. In this way, the veggies will not stick to the grill basket.
- Grill the veggies over the heat while they are inside the grill basket. Toss the veggies every three minutes. You can also alternately flip the grill basket after every five minutes. Moreover, you can brush your seasoned oil over the veggies while grilling.
Additional Tips When Preparing and Serving Your Veggies
When preparing and serving your veggies, you should follow the simple tips on how to do it to ensure that your guests and family will enjoy them better:
- First, you need to clean and wash the veggies, then dry them afterward.
- Slice the veggies to enable them to have almost the same surface area in contact with the grill grate.
- Chop the veggies to the desired sizes when you use the grill basket.
- It will be best to use a basting brush for applying a coat to your vegetables. You can improve the flavor of your veggies by applying oil like virgin olive oil. Moreover, the oil will keep the veggies from sticking to the grates.
- Cut the squash, eggplant, zucchini lengthwise into rectangular sizes like meat.
- Trim the asparagus ends before you grill it.
- Remove the seeds of peppers before cooking.
- Wash portobello mushrooms before placing them on the grill.
- With potatoes, artichokes, and carrots, you need to boil them before you grill them.
- When serving grilled veggies, you can spice them with pepper, a bit of olive oil, and salt. You can also use your favorite dip as a side dip when serving your grilled veggies.
It is wrong to think that grilling and smoking meat are the only things you can do with the grill. Contrariwise, you can also grill fruits and vegetables on the grill. You can use the grill basket if you are worried that you may overcook or char your vegetables and fruits. Besides, you can vary the grilling process with grilled fruits and vegetables, depending on the taste you would like to come out with afterward.
Of course, different types of veggies grill differently. Moreover, they need different duration of grilling time to make them ready for consumption. Nevertheless, if it is your first time grilling veggies, you can follow the abovementioned tips and steps when grilling vegetables if you intend to enjoy the taste of grilled veggies.