Updated: Aug 15
When there's a grill there's a way.
Are you fired up for outdoor cooking? Since the beginning of time, cooking with fire has meant the gathering of the clan outside. Cooking outdoors is great fun and it's widely accepted that food cooked outside always tastes better! Nothing says "party" like assembling to hang around the sweet smell of smoke and meat and onions in the air, a beer in hand and loved ones at our table. Is summer even summer without a barbecue?
Plan to break out those BBQ vegetables this summer to enjoy a healthier meal. When the BBQ is already fired up for chicken, fish or kebabs, tossing vegetables on the grill for a few minutes is simple. Grilling with Qspice coaxes out every bit of roasted sweetness and flavour from any plain veg and imparts a modest smoky char. Just give them a light olive oil spritz and a Qspice sprinkle and bam, they're ready for their natural sugars to become sweetly caramelized into addictive morsels!
Are grilled vegetables healthy? Yes as long as you’re mindful that burnt vegetables have carcinogens. Having said that, you still want grill marks. The key to getting great grill marks is to not shift the vegetables around much once they’ve been placed on the preheated hot grill.
Best Vegetables for Grilling:
Zucchini - 5-7 minutes, cut into to 1/2″ slices
Bell peppers - 8-10 minutes , slice bell peppers in half and remove seeds
Mushrooms - 8-10 minutes, start whole mushrooms gill side down then finish cap side down to retain moisture
Eggplant - 5-7 minutes, grilled is my favorite way to eat eggplant, where it becomes creamy and smoky
Fennel - 4-5 minutes per side, cut into 1/2" thick steaks, these are my favourite grilled vegetable for mezze platters
Onions - 8-10 minutes, any variety sliced or green onions (3-4 minutes) become oh so sweet when grilled
Asparagus - 6-8 minutes, crossways on the cooking grate, fatter asparagus cook more evenly than skinny
Corn - parboil ears of corn 2 minutes then grill 4-5 minutes turning 3 times (or give our All Dressed Corn on the Cob recipe a try)
Artichokes - steam first for 10 minutes then halve and grill 5 minutes
Cauliflower - 8-10 minutes per side, slice as steaks so they hold together (use side pieces for something else or cook them on a grilling mat)
Broccoli - 8-10 minutes, large florets work best directly on grill or thread smaller, blanched broccoli florets onto skewers
Romaine lettuce - 10 seconds per side, unique and delicious
Tomatoes - 6-8 minutes, best grilled halved with cut side down first
5 Vegetable Grilling Tips
Slice vegetables uniform thickness so they cook at the same rate. I use a mandoline to achieve this end. I'm careful not to slice things like zucchini too thin as they cook quickly and disintegrate on the BBQ.
Coat vegetables lightly with oil.
Season any vegetables with Qspice or Qspice Bouillon.
Grill 'em up hot, 400F should do.
Close the lid so vegetables can roast just like they would in a hot oven. Make sure to keep an eye on them every few minutes. Veggies may look a bit dry as you take them off but will sweat and deflate as they rest.
You might have thrown vegetables in a marinade before barbecuing them, but have you ever tossed grilled vegetables in a marinade after grilling them? They suck up so much more flavour when they’re hot. Qspice balsamic vinaigrette and a kiss of the sweet bright juice of grilled lemon is a fantastic way to finish just about anything.
Cut your vegetables big and make lots cause they’re even better the next day… and the next. Nothing delights the taste buds like sitting down to a grilled vegetable antipasto platter with cheese, olives, and a fresh-baked baguette on the patio. Or chop them up for healthy pasta salad with avocado, or add them to grain bowls, or turn them into veggie sandwiches slathered with hummus.
Summer grilling may well be at its best when a meal is served on a stick. But trying to thread many different foods with different cook times onto one skewer is not a great plan for those dabbling in shishkebabs. Cut size, spacing and how powerful your grill is all need to be factored in when determining cook time. A surer bet to grilling perfect shishkebabs is to keep each skewer the same type of ingredient. I get it, the multi-ingredient shishkebab flavours are delicious together and the grill-marked meat and colourful veggies are cookout eye candy. Perfectly cooked tasty kebabs are as just as impressive and no one is stuck with stuff they don’t like!
There you have it, all that's left to do is round up your people, fire up the barbie, strap on an apron and get grilling!