How to grill your favorite veggies on any type of grill

John Kopischke
Written by
Last update:

How to grill vegetables

Grilling is one of my favorite summertime foods. I love the smoky flavor and char of grilled foods. Unfortunately, traditional grilling means fat and empty calories. Fortunately for you, grilled veggies are delicious and healthy whether you grill them over hickory, oak, mesquite, or coal.

The temperatures of the grill aren’t as critical as you thought they were. The secret is to not cook the veggies too long. Also, the less done the veggies are, the softer and more tender they are. This allows the veggies to char without getting burned.

Make sure your grill is fully preheated. The problem with veggies is that high heat and flame char the surface while the inside is still raw. You’ll want to use a clean, oiled grill grate to prevent sticking.

Make sure you give your veggies enough room so they don’t touch. If they do touch the sides or top of anything, you’re going to have a problem. Try to keep the veggies into themselves instead of forming rows.

For example, instead of forming rows of onions and peppers, use a V pattern or two rows of vertical onion and pepper.

Basics of grilling veggies

Grilling vegetables can be more time-consuming than grilling meat or fish because of the prep work. When you grill meats, you just grill them, but with veggies you also have to be concerned about how you cut the vegetables, what seasonings to use, when to put them on the grill, and how long to grill them.

There are a few types of veggies you can grill and a few techniques to make sure they cook properly and don’t stick to the grill.

Different types of veggies will have different cooking times. If your grill has a temperature gauge, you’ll want to grill them until they are tender inside and crispy on the outside.

Different veggies will also have different texture when they are cooked. The key is to check them often so they don’t dry out or burn.

Grilling vegetables like eggplant, leeks, mushrooms, onions, and peppers will have a completely different texture than the grilled veggies you’re accustomed to eating.

Grilling vegetables is simple. The trick is to cook on high heat and to keep them moving. It is recommended to place the veggies in a grill basket to keep them in one place. This way, you won’t lose any pieces to the fire.

Here are some ways to grill your favorite veggies.

Zucchini, summer squash, and eggplant are great choices for grilling. Simply cut into slices or sticks and make sure that they are only one layer thick.

Artichokes are best grilled in halves. Stuff with a little butter and garlic, place on the grill cut-side down for 8-10 minutes, or until the leaves begin to pull away from the flesh. Turn over and repeat on the other side.

Brussell sprouts, green beans, and corn make great side dishes on the grill. Add some flavor by drizzling the veggies in olive oil and vinegar before grilling, or adding spices.

Mushrooms, cut into fourths, are great on the grill. Marinate them in balsamic vinegar mixed with balsamic glaze. When grilling, flip often and leave them on the grill until they start to crisp up.

Optimizing cook time

Many times vegetables that have been grilled remain undercooked. To get them directly from the refrigerator to the serving plate, you need to provide an environment that is not much hotter than room temperature and preserve the moisture so that it doesn’t evaporate. You also need to maintain the proper cook time to take advantage of the grill’s temperature. Here are some guidelines to consider when cooking vegetables on the grill:

Cut the vegetables into evenly-sized pieces.

Leave the skin on because it helps to preserve the moisture and acts as an insulator.

Use olive oil to coat the vegetable because butter burns easily.

Bake potatoes at a moderate temperature for a longer time to get a nice crust.

Check the grill frequently, rotating the vegetables to prevent burning.

Use tongs. Never put your hand on the grill.

Grilling vegetables is simple. The trick is to cook on high heat and to keep them moving. It is recommended to place the veggies in a grill basket to keep them in one place. This way, you won’t lose any pieces to the fire.

Here are some ways to grill your favorite veggies.

Zucchini, summer squash, and eggplant are great choices for grilling. Simply cut into slices or sticks and make sure that they are only one layer thick.

Artichokes are best grilled in halves. Stuff with a little butter and garlic, place on the grill cut-side down for 8-10 minutes, or until the leaves begin to pull away from the flesh. Turn over and repeat on the other side.

Brussell sprouts, green beans, and corn make great side dishes on the grill. Add some flavor by drizzling the veggies in olive oil and vinegar before grilling, or adding spices.

Mushrooms, cut into fourths, are great on the grill. Marinate them in balsamic vinegar mixed with balsamic glaze. When grilling, flip often and leave them on the grill until they start to crisp up.

Cooking vegetables in batches

On a grill is a great way to cook your favorite veggies with that smoky flavor you love. Grilling them is also a super-easy way to cook any night of the week. The trick is to keep them from getting soggy as they cook.

The right way to grill vegetables is to split the grill up into 2 sections. The first section is high (about 2 inches from the heating element) and is used for meat. The other is lower (about 4 inches from the heating element) and is used to cook the vegetables. It also keeps them out of the drippings of the meat.

Vegetables will also cook much faster if you have a lid on your grill, so be sure to close it when cooking the veggies and wait a few minutes before checking them. You want them to be soft, tender, and not burnt.

A grill thermometer is your best friend for this. Don’t try to guess on the temperature. You may eat burnt veggies instead of great grilled veggies.

Be sure to place the veggies where they can get the direct heat, but not the moist dripping of the meat. Keep a safe distance between the two.

Grilling vegetables is simple. The trick is to cook on high heat and to keep them moving. It is recommended to place the veggies in a grill basket to keep them in one place. This way, you won’t lose any pieces to the fire.

Here are some ways to grill your favorite veggies.

Zucchini, summer squash, and eggplant are great choices for grilling. Simply cut into slices or sticks and make sure that they are only one layer thick.

Artichokes are best grilled in halves. Stuff with a little butter and garlic, place on the grill cut-side down for 8-10 minutes, or until the leaves begin to pull away from the flesh. Turn over and repeat on the other side.

Brussell sprouts, green beans, and corn make great side dishes on the grill. Add some flavor by drizzling the veggies in olive oil and vinegar before grilling, or adding spices.

Mushrooms, cut into fourths, are great on the grill. Marinate them in balsamic vinegar mixed with balsamic glaze. When grilling, flip often and leave them on the grill until they start to crisp up.

Techniques and tips by grill type

For the most part, grilling veggies is straightforward. To grill veggies, you will need a grill with lid, extra-virgin olive oil, salt, pepper, a vegetable brush, and plenty of skewers.

You DO NOT need a lot of time, an expensive grill, or unusual techniques to grill vegetables.

Indirect Grilling

Generally, vegetables should be cooked over the indirect heat, meaning that you should not place the veggie directly over the heat. Preheat your grill to the maximum temperature possible and let it heat for 10 minutes before you start. After that, reduce the heat to medium-high. Put the vegetable in the center of the rack and move it around every few minutes so that the veggies cook evenly. This technique is the best option for more delicate veggies such as asparagus, peppers, and bell peppers. If the veggies require short cooking and don’t need this much heat, you should keep a close eye on them to make sure they cook quickly enough.

Grilling directly over Heat

If you like crispy veggies or more robust ones, then you can grill them directly over heat. Do check the grill temperature before you stick the veggies on. Medium-high heat would be preferred for most veggies, but some may taste better when cooked at higher temperatures.

Grilling veggies on a gas grill

Your gas grill may have specific guidelines for grilling veggies, such as rinsing them to remove dirt, using a vegetable basket, or taking steps to ensure that they do not make the burner settings go out of whack. If you are interested in pursuing those steps, you should look at your grill’s instructions and follow them.

However, if you are interested in getting straight to cooking, here are a few tips.

Make sure that you have cleaned your grates.

Your vegetables will stick if they are not properly prepared and you want to avoid that. To clean them, turn the grill on high. When the grates are hot, scrape them with a wire brush. The grates will be hot when the debris starts sizzling. Clean them for about five minutes. To clean the grates of all sticky stuff after cooking veggies, warm them up to make the grates loose then scrape them with a cloth or turn them over and scrub them with a brush or scouring pad. Heat the grill to normal cooking temperatures.

Grilling vegetables is simple. The trick is to cook on high heat and to keep them moving. It is recommended to place the veggies in a grill basket to keep them in one place. This way, you won’t lose any pieces to the fire.

Here are some ways to grill your favorite veggies.

Zucchini, summer squash, and eggplant are great choices for grilling. Simply cut into slices or sticks and make sure that they are only one layer thick.

Artichokes are best grilled in halves. Stuff with a little butter and garlic, place on the grill cut-side down for 8-10 minutes, or until the leaves begin to pull away from the flesh. Turn over and repeat on the other side.

Brussell sprouts, green beans, and corn make great side dishes on the grill. Add some flavor by drizzling the veggies in olive oil and vinegar before grilling, or adding spices.

Mushrooms, cut into fourths, are great on the grill. Marinate them in balsamic vinegar mixed with balsamic glaze. When grilling, flip often and leave them on the grill until they start to crisp up.

Grilling veggies on a charcoal grill

Chances are, you already know how to grill meat on your charcoal grill. However, did you know that you can also grill your favorite veggies?

Natural charcoal is a far better fuel source for the flavor it imparts than gas or propane. The flavor of charcoal also has the potential to enhance the flavor of veggies during the grilling process.

Here’s what you need to do to grill your veggies on a charcoal grill:

Set up a charcoal grill for indirect grilling* (see notes). While waiting for the coals to reach 425 to 450 degrees, wash, peel, and cut your veggies into 1‾ to 2-inch pieces. While waiting for the coals to reach 425 to 450 degrees, wash, peel, and cut your veggies into 1‾ to 2-inch pieces.

Indirect grilling: Set the charcoal grate on one side of the grill, allowing enough space to get your saucepan. Pour the vegetable slices into the saucepan and set the pan near the fire. Cover the grill, and close the vents on the top and bottom to trap the smoke under the cover to make the fire smoky.

Grill veggies at an angle on the indirect side of the grill near the flames.

Grilling vegetables is simple. The trick is to cook on high heat and to keep them moving. It is recommended to place the veggies in a grill basket to keep them in one place. This way, you won’t lose any pieces to the fire.

Here are some ways to grill your favorite veggies.

Zucchini, summer squash, and eggplant are great choices for grilling. Simply cut into slices or sticks and make sure that they are only one layer thick.

Artichokes are best grilled in halves. Stuff with a little butter and garlic, place on the grill cut-side down for 8-10 minutes, or until the leaves begin to pull away from the flesh. Turn over and repeat on the other side.

Brussell sprouts, green beans, and corn make great side dishes on the grill. Add some flavor by drizzling the veggies in olive oil and vinegar before grilling, or adding spices.

Mushrooms, cut into fourths, are great on the grill. Marinate them in balsamic vinegar mixed with balsamic glaze. When grilling, flip often and leave them on the grill until they start to crisp up.

Roasting veggies in a Big Green Egg or smoker

My favorite cookbooks are by Steven Raichlen, Editor of Barbecue America Magazine. He is the author of The Barbecue Bible series, which has over 25 titles. He is a master at grilling veggies and his books contain some of the best recipes and food techniques in the industry.

You can choose any recipe from anywhere. You can even combine the ingredients to come up with a signature way to prepare them. There is just one rule, you must include veggies!

Grill the vegetable of your choice until they are 75% done.

Remove from heat. Cover with tinfoil and put it back on the grill for 5-10 minutes.

Remove the tinfoil.

Add the vegetable back to the grill and finish with a glaze of your own creation or a commercial glaze of your choice. Example:

Pour a small amount of teriyaki sauce over the veggies. Follow with a coating of toasted sesame seeds.

Grilling veggies with cast iron pans

Before using your cast iron pans for the first time, use a bit of oil and heat it up in the oven until it turns brown. This will give your cast iron pans a natural non-stick coating.

Use the grill to sear the veggies (recommended for eggplants). That way you can lock in the flavor and add a bit of color to your veggies.

Use a bit of oil and lightly brush it onto the surface of the veggies. You can use flavored oils too.

If you are roasting veggies, then let the veggies sit in the oil for a few minutes before adding them onto the grill. This will ensure that the veggies don’t lose their water on the grill.

You should also place a paper towel under the veggies in case the oil spills over. The oil can make the fire flare up.

Grilling vegetables is simple. The trick is to cook on high heat and to keep them moving. It is recommended to place the veggies in a grill basket to keep them in one place. This way, you won’t lose any pieces to the fire.

Here are some ways to grill your favorite veggies.

Zucchini, summer squash, and eggplant are great choices for grilling. Simply cut into slices or sticks and make sure that they are only one layer thick.

Artichokes are best grilled in halves. Stuff with a little butter and garlic, place on the grill cut-side down for 8-10 minutes, or until the leaves begin to pull away from the flesh. Turn over and repeat on the other side.

Brussell sprouts, green beans, and corn make great side dishes on the grill. Add some flavor by drizzling the veggies in olive oil and vinegar before grilling, or adding spices.

Mushrooms, cut into fourths, are great on the grill. Marinate them in balsamic vinegar mixed with balsamic glaze. When grilling, flip often and leave them on the grill until they start to crisp up.

Grilling veggies on an electric grill

An electric grill is perfect for cooking vegetables. It’s not only the easiest to use, but it’s also the safest to use. You can cook food without introducing combustibles or open flames into your home. If you’ve got kids, this is ideal, considering the fact that most homes have fire extinguishers in case of emergencies.

Fact: Electric grills are hotter. This means you can also grill thicker cuts of meat and get similar results as with a gas grill.

Grilling vegetables is simple. The trick is to cook on high heat and to keep them moving. It is recommended to place the veggies in a grill basket to keep them in one place. This way, you won’t lose any pieces to the fire.

Here are some ways to grill your favorite veggies.

Zucchini, summer squash, and eggplant are great choices for grilling. Simply cut into slices or sticks and make sure that they are only one layer thick.

Artichokes are best grilled in halves. Stuff with a little butter and garlic, place on the grill cut-side down for 8-10 minutes, or until the leaves begin to pull away from the flesh. Turn over and repeat on the other side.

Brussell sprouts, green beans, and corn make great side dishes on the grill. Add some flavor by drizzling the veggies in olive oil and vinegar before grilling, or adding spices.

Mushrooms, cut into fourths, are great on the grill. Marinate them in balsamic vinegar mixed with balsamic glaze. When grilling, flip often and leave them on the grill until they start to crisp up.

Our favorite grilled veggie recipes

Ingredients:

1 Tbsp. freshly-squeezed orange juice

2 Tbsp. Japanese soy sauce (teriyaki-style preferred)

1/4 tsp. sugar

1/2 tsp. sesame oil

2 Tbsp. peanut oil

1 pound asparagus, trimmed.

Instructions:

In a large bowl, whisk together orange juice, soy sauce, sugar, and sesame oil. Set aside.

Heat grill to high heat. Toss asparagus with peanut oil and place on grill. Grill for 1 to 2 minutes or until light brown. Remove from grill and set aside.

Add orange juice mixture to skillet. Reduce heat and simmer until slightly thickened. Pour over asparagus and toss to coat evenly. Serve warm.

Vegetable Kabobs with Chimichurri Peanut Butter Sauce

Ingredients:

2 tsp. pure honey

¼ c. chunky peanut butter

4 Tbsp Chopped Fresh Cilantro

¼ c. lime juice

Zest from One Lime

½ tsp. ground cumin

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. pepper

1 c. diced carrots

1 c. diced sweet potatoes

1 c. diced zucchini