Grilled vegetables make a perfect side dish when vegetables are all in season. We've picked favorite summer easy grilled vegetables to share step-by-step how to prepare and grill!
Fresh vegetables are great to grill. The high heat caramelized the natural sugars in the vegetables bringing out loads of flavor. Only a light brushing of olive oil and maybe some salt and pepper is needed to transform raw vegetables into delicious grilled vegetables.
These best grilled vegetables all cook at the same temperature (medium high heat) on top of the grill grates. The cooking time will vary depending on the type of vegetable and the size. With little effort you can enjoy a simple side dish that tastes like summer! Great in vegetable salads or on a bed of pasta too.
Choosing the best vegetables
Corn on the cob. Choose corn with a tight husk. Take a peek at the top to ensure it has plump, healthy kernels. Remove the husk and silk. Using a vegetable brush can remove silk stuck between rows of corn kernels. Bread off any long stem on the bottom
Red Onion. You'll need a medium or large red onion. Choose one with unblemished skin that's firm to the touch (no soft spots).
Cherry tomatoes. Choose large cherry tomatoes that are all similar in size. Make sure they are firm but ripe.
Bell Peppers. Choose large bell peppers of any color. The skin should be taut and without blemishes.
Zucchini. Choose larger zucchini with unblemished skin and a semi firm texture. Smaller zucchini can also be grilled but won't take as much time.
How to prepare vegetables for grilling
Corn on the Cob: Remove the husk and silk. Using a vegetable brush can remove silk stuck between rows of corn kernels. Break off any long stem on the bottom.
Onion. Peel the onion and slice into ½-inch thick slices. This can be done with a large sharp kitchen knife or a mandoline slicer.
Cherry tomatoes. Rinse and pat dry. Thread the tomatoes onto a bamboo or metal skewer through the stem end or the middle. Flat skewers (metal or bamboo) are our favorite because they prevent items on the skewer from rotating during grilling when the skewers is moved.
Bamboo skewers do not need to be soaked but a homemade grill guard (a folded piece of foil) should be placed underneath any exposed bamboo to prevent burning.
Zucchini. Rinse and pat dry. Cut off the ends of the zucchini then cut it in half lengthwise.
Bell peppers. Rinse and pat dry. Cut peppers in half. Remove the stem, seeds and inner white membrane.
How to Grill Vegetables
STEP 1. Preheat grill
Preheat grill to 400 degrees F (medium-high heat). Scrape the grill with a grill brush and lightly oil the grates (for all vegetables).
How to Grill Corn on the Cob
There are a few way to grill corn on the cob. In the husk or shucked (the husk removed). When cooked in the husk the corn steams to cook. We are grilling it on the grates to caramelize the sugars and get a nice char on the corn directly.
- Brush the corn lightly with olive oil, and lightly salt and pepper.
- Place the corn on the prepared grill grates and close the lid.
- Rotate the corn cobs every 4-5 minutes once the kernels become slightly charred for a total of 15-20 minutes.
To speed the grilling up, the corn can be parboiled first and then just grilled for 2-3 minutes.
Don't like eating it off the cob? Use a corn zipper to easily remove the cooked kernels from the cob after grilling.
How to Grill Cherry Tomatoes
- Thread the cherry tomatoes onto skewers (bamboo or metal). NOTE: bamboo skewers do not need to be soaked.
- Brush lightly with olive oil.
- Place skewers onto prepared heated grill grates. If using bamboo skewers place a folded piece of foil underneath the exposed bamboo as a grill guard to prevent burning.
- Total cooking time will be about 5-6 minutes (depending on the size of the tomatoes). Rotate the skewers during the cooking time to evenly char the tomatoes on all sides.
TIP: if possible use flat skewers which helps prevent the tomatoes rotating on the skewer and assists with even cooking.
How to Grill Red Onion
- Brush the red onion slices with olive oil.
- Place on the prepared grill grates.
- Allow to cook 4-5 minutes to develop grill marks. Flip and cook another 4-5 minutes.
TIP: to prevent the onion rings from separating you can insert a skewer through the middle of the onion slice; to make a lollipop of sorts. If using bamboo place foil under the exposed bamboo on the grill grate.
How to Grill Zucchini
- Brush the zucchini halves with olive oil. Reserve salt and pepper for post grilling so the salt does not extract moisture from the zucchini.
- Place on the heated prepared grill grate. Cook 3-4 minutes, flip and cook an additional 3-4 minutes. For thicker zucchini more time per side may be necessary.
The zucchini can also be cut into thick slices lengthwise instead of being halved. Using a mandoline slicer makes this easy and controls the slices to be the same size. Zucchini slices will cook more quickly than halved zucchini.
How to Grill Bell Peppers
- Brush the bell peppers inside and out with olive oil.
- Place on the hot grill. Grill for 4-5 minutes (grill marks should be showing).
- Flip over and grill the opposite side for 4-5 minutes. They should be cooked through but still have some firmness to their texture.
Add some fresh herbs to the olive oil. Allow the herbs to infuse in the olive oil for an hour before using to brush the vegetables.
Use a grill basket. If cooking smaller vegetables (halved brussels sprouts, sliced yellow squash, green beans, green onions, etc) using a grilling basket is a perfect solution. Toss the vegetables in olive oil spray or a bit of olive oil to coat. Add spices if desired and cook in the grill basket placed on the grill grates. Stir the vegetables periodically so they cook evenly.
Try a marinade. Just like chicken breasts and other meats have enhanced flavors from marinating first, vegetables do too! Try your favorite marinade or even Italian dressing to marinate the cut vegetables before adding to the grill.
Size matters. Any size vegetable can be grilled but the size will determine the length of grilling time. Larger vegetables take longer than smaller vegetables or vegetables cut into smaller pieces. A smaller zucchini will cool faster. A small red onion sliced into ½-inch slices will cook faster than a large red onion sliced into ½-inch thick slices.
Choose similar size vegetables. To the point above, you can grill any size but choosing similar size vegetables allows them all to grill in the same amount of time.
Start with room temperature vegetables.
Grill lid closed. This keeps the temperature steady and reduced flare ups.
Frequently Asked Questions
The vegetables will cook on either. The important thing is the temperature.
How to store
The grilled vegetables have the best texture straight off the grill. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container or plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. They will soften when stored but are still delicious chopped in scrambled eggs, a frittata, on a salad or in soup.