Meat gets a lot of play on the grill, but for the healthiest and most delicious meals, remember to throw some vegetables on the barbie. Grilling imparts smoky flavor and brings out the natural sweetness of summer vegetables. For most grillable vegetables, all you need to do is cut them into shapes and sizes that are easy to maneuver on the grates and then brush with oil and season with salt and pepper (grilled corn is one exception). Here are some of the best vegetables to grill, plus advice on how to prep them:
Zucchini: Shave planks of zucchini. Top the whole thing with fresh herbs, lemon juice and red chili flakes, as in this grilled ribbon salad.
Peppers: Grill peppers whole, turning them until the entire surface is blackened. Remove from the grill and transfer to a paper bag, folding several times to seal. The steam will loosen the skin from the peppers and make it easy to take off. Remove the core and seeds. They are excellent in salads or as a bruschetta topping.
Onions: Peel and thickly slice onions before grilling. Try these red onions.
Corn: Husk the corn, but leave the stems attached. No need to baste the corn, just grill it directly. This Mexican treatment is a superlative way to finish grilled corn: creamy mayo dressing, cotija cheese and lime juice as the perfect salty and tangy complement to sweet, smoky grilled corn. Grilled corn salsa is another great use .
Tomatoes: Halve and core tomatoes, sprinkle with salt and oil. Try this complexly flavored grilled ketchup.
Potatoes: Parboil potatoes first, then slice them into rounds, brush with oil and lightly season with salt and pepper. A spicy tomato aioli finishes them for patatas bravas.
Asparagus: Just trim the woody stems from the asparagus before basting with oil and seasoning. Try them in Giada’s medley of grilled vegetables recipe.
Mushrooms: Thoroughly clean, then dry them mushrooms, brush them with oil, season and grill. Portobellos are a meaty-tasting alternative to a beef burger (try them in this balsamic recipe), while button mushrooms make great addition to kebabs.