Grilled vegetables.

Grilling vegetables is not difficult. The general rule is to cut the vegetables into pieces that will cook quickly and evenly. All pieces should be of consistent thickness and no more than about 3/4 to 1 inch thick. Brush lightly with oil to prevent sticking. Do not overcook and you’ll have vegetables better than you thought possible. If you like grilling vegetables and want to try smaller things use a grilling basket to keep them out of the fire.

Some Guidelines in Grilling Vegetables

Asparagus: Cut off ends. Soak in water for 30 minutes to an hour. Pat dry and brush with olive oil. Place on grill, turning every minute. Remove when tips start to turn brown. You can add some extra flavor to asparagus by mixing a little sesame oil in the olive oil before you brush them.

Bell Peppers: Cut through the middle of the pepper top to bottom. Remove stems, seeds and whitish ribs. Brush lightly with oil and grill for 2-3 minutes on each side.

Chili Peppers: Brush with oil. Grill whole on each side, 2-3 minutes. To reduce the heat, cut off the stems and pull out the seeds.

Corn on the cob: Gently pull back the husks but don’t remove. Remove the silk and cut off the very end. Soak in cold water for about 30 minutes. Dry and brush with butter. Fold the husks back down and tie or twist the ends. Place on grill for about 5 to 7 minutes. Turn to avoid burning.

Eggplant: Cut lengthwise for smaller eggplants or in disks from top to bottom for larger eggplants. Soak in water for 30 minutes. Pat dry, brush with oil and grill 2-3 minutes.

Garlic: Take whole bulbs and cut off the root end. Brush with olive oil and place cut side down over a hit fire. Grill garlic bulbs for about 10 minutes or until the skin is brown.

Mushrooms: Rinse off dirt and pat dry. Brush with oil and grill. 4-5 minutes for small mushrooms, 6-8 minutes. Use a grill basket or skewers for small mushrooms.

Onions: Remove skin and cut horizontally about 1/2 inch thick. Brush with oil and grill 3-4 minutes.

Potatoes: There are many ways to grill potatoes. You can do them whole for a baked potato or cut into wedges Brush wedges with olive oil, and grill until browned. Rub whole potatoes with oil. Wrap in aluminum foil and grill 35-40 minutes, turning occasionally.

Tomatoes: Cut in half, top to bottom. Brush with a light coating of oil and grill cut side down 2-3 minutes.

Zucchini and Small Squash: Slice 1/2 inch thickness. Brush with oil and grill 2-3 minutes per side. Small squash can be cut down the middle and grilled.

Recipes That Use Your Grilled Vegetables

Grilled Eggplant and Tomatoes with Parmesan-Basil Crumbs

Serve with Grilled Corn on the Cob and a Green Garden Salad.

Servings: 10

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups coarse fresh bread crumbs or Italian flavored panko crumbs
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped basil
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 3 pounds eggplant, sliced lengthwise 1/2 inch thick
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 10 tomatoes, sliced 1 inch thick

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400°. Spread the bread crumbs on a large rimmed baking sheet and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of oil; toss well. Bake for 8 minutes, until the bread crumbs are crisp and golden brown. Transfer the bread crumbs to a medium bowl and toss with the basil and cheese.

Light a grill. Brush the eggplant slices with oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill over moderate heat until charred and tender, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer the eggplant to a platter, fanning them out. Brush the tomatoes with oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill over moderate heat until charred and hot, about 1 minute per side.

Arrange the tomato slices over the eggplant and drizzle with oil. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs over the top.

Grilled Vegetables With Ravioli

Tasty grilled vegetables and pasta – that’s ready in 25 minutes.

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon garlic-pepper blend, such as Mrs. Dash
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 small zucchini, cut lengthwise in half
  • 2 medium bell peppers (any color), cut lengthwise in half and seeded
  • 1 small red onion, quartered
  • 1 package (9 oz) cheese refrigerated ravioli or 1 package (9 oz) refrigerated fettuccine
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh or 1 teaspoon dried basil leaves
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh or 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • 3 tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese

Directions:

Heat gas or charcoal grill and oil grill rack with cooking spray or brush with vegetable oil. In small bowl, mix 1 tablespoon of the oil, the garlic-pepper blend and salt. Brush on cut sides of zucchini, bell peppers and onion.

Place vegetables, cut side down, on grill over medium heat. Cover grill; cook 10 to 12 minutes, turning once and brushing occasionally with oil mixture, or until each kind of vegetable is tender, removing from grill when done.

While vegetables are grilling, cook ravioli as directed on package. Drain and return to saucepan; keep warm.

Cut zucchini crosswise into 1/4-inch slices. Cut bell peppers into slices. Separate onion into pieces. Add vegetables to ravioli in saucepan. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil, the basil and thyme; toss and heat through. Sprinkle with cheese.

Caesar Vegetable Salad

This grilled vegetable salad is ready in 25 minutes – perfect for dinner. Serve with a light soup and a really good loaf of bread.

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup reduced-fat Caesar dressing, see recipe below
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 4 large portabella mushrooms, cut into fourths
  • 4 medium yellow summer squash, cut into 1/2-inch slices
  • 2 medium bell peppers (any color), cut into 1/2-inch strips
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut into fourths
  • 2 tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese

Directions:

Heat coals or gas grill for direct heat.

In small bowl, mix dressing and parsley; set aside. Brush mushrooms, summer squash and bell peppers with oil.

Place mushrooms, summer squash and bell peppers in grill basket (grill “wok”) or directly on grill rack. Cover and grill over MEDIUM heat 5 to 7 minutes, shaking basket or stirring or turning vegetables occasionally, until vegetables are crisp-tender.

To serve, arrange mushrooms around edge of serving platter and remaining grilled vegetables in center; sprinkle with tomatoes. Drizzle dressing over vegetables. Sprinkle with cheese. Serve at room temperature.

Caesar Salad Dressing

Adapted from Eating Well Magazine

Makes about 1/2 cup. Can be doubled

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 small clove garlic
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon reduced-fat mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 3/4 teaspoon anchovy paste
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Directions:

Place garlic and salt in a medium bowl and mash with the back of a spoon to form a paste. Add lemon juice, mayonnaise, mustard, anchovy paste (if using), and pepper; whisk to combine. Slowly drizzle in oil, whisking constantly. Add cheese and whisk to combine.

MAKE AHEAD TIP: The dressing will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Quick Grilled Herbed Vegetables and Polenta

4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 of a small eggplant (about 6 oz.)
  • 1 small zucchini (about 4 oz.)
  • 1 small fennel bulb (about 6 oz.)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons snipped fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 16 ounce tube plain refrigerated cooked polenta, cut into 12 slices
  • 1 – 14 1/2 ounce can Muir Glen diced tomatoes with garlic and onion

Directions:

Peel the eggplant, if desired. Slice the eggplant, zucchini, and fennel crosswise into 1/4-inch slices. In a small bowl combine the oil, rosemary, salt, and pepper. Brush the vegetables with about half of the oil mixture, reserving remaining oil mixture for the polenta.

Preheat an outdoor grill on high setting.. Arrange half the vegetables on a greased grill rack. Grill 6 to 8 minutes until vegetables are crisp-tender and grill marks appear, turning once. Remove vegetables from grill rack or pan; set aside. Repeat with remaining vegetables.

Brush the polenta slices with reserved oil mixture. Place the polenta slices on the grill rack. Grill 5 to 10 minutes or until heated through and lightly browned, turning once.

Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan heat the undrained tomatoes until boiling. Add the grilled vegetables. Simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes or to desired consistency, stirring occasionally.

To serve, place 3 polenta slices in each shallow bowl or on each dinner plate; spoon the vegetable mixture over the polenta.

Indoor Method

Prepare vegetables and oil mixture as above in Step 1. Preheat a grill pan on the range top over medium-high heat. Grill half of the vegetables as in Step 2; repeat with remaining vegetables. Use the grill pan to grill brushed polenta slices as above in Step 2. Continue with Step 3 and serve as directed above.

Grilled Pizzas with Asparagus and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch asparagus (about 1 pound), thick ends removed
  • 1 bunch scallions, trimmed
  • 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes (oil-packed), thinly sliced, plus 3 tablespoons oil from jar
  • 1 pound homemade or store-bought pizza dough, thawed if frozen
  • 1 cup ricotta

Directions

Heat grill to medium. In a large bowl, combine asparagus, scallions, and 1 tablespoon sun-dried tomato oil; season with salt and pepper. Grill, turning occasionally, until vegetables are tender, 6 to 9 minutes. When cool enough to handle, cut asparagus and scallions into thirds.

Brush a large baking sheet with 1 tablespoon of the sun-dried tomato oil. On a lightly floured work surface, divide dough in half. Roll or stretch to form two 9-inch ovals. Transfer to prepared sheet, and brush with remaining tablespoon sun-dried tomato oil.

Transfer dough pieces to grill. Cook until undersides are firm and beginning to char, 2 to 3 minutes. Using tongs or a large spatula, transfer crusts, grilled side up, back to baking sheet.

Dividing evenly, top crusts with ricotta, then asparagus, scallions, and sun-dried tomatoes; season with salt and pepper. Slide back onto grill and cook, rotating occasionally, until crusts are cooked through and cheese is melted, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer pizzas to a cutting board, cut in half, and serve.

 

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