Meat tends to hog the spotlight during Easter holidays, but don’t forget about the veggies. Not only do they complement grilled meats perfectly, but many stand as satisfying main courses of their own.
Grilling intensifies the natural sweetness and flavor of most veggies and fruits. To achieve good results:
- Use a light brushing of oil on vegetables and fruits to prevent sticking. A non-stick grate, grilling basket or foil packets lightly coated with oil can also be helpful.
- Don’t peel vegetables before grilling — you’ll get more nutrients and enjoy a smokier flavor. Leave the husk on corn to act as a natural insulator, keeping the steam in and preventing the corn from drying out.
- Some vegetables (including artichokes, beets, broccoli, carrots, parsnips, potatoes and winter squash) can be pre-cooked to shorten grilling time and ensure that the inside and outside cook evenly. To pre-cook: Steam or blanch until just barely tender. Pat dry, brush lightly with oil, then grill until completely tender and lightly browned.
- Vegetables like eggplant, fennel, onions, peppers, sweet potatoes, mushrooms, summer squash and tomatoes should be raw when placed on the grill.
- Ideal grilling fruits are firm and barely ripe. Watermelon, pineapple, plums and peaches can all take the heat. Drizzle with honey or balsamic vinegar before grilling for an added burst of flavor.
- While mushrooms technically aren’t vegetables, they are often a go-to grilling item! Meaty portabellas are a great burger substitute, while button mushrooms make for tasty kabobs.
- Cook all fruits and vegetables directly over moderately hot coals or use the indirect heat method. Rotate or move them to a cooler part of the grill during cooking as necessary to ensure that the outside isn’t cooking too quickly.