4 Tips for Grilling Vegetables from a Local Chef

Chef and Author Amanda Cushman of Chapel Hill Cooking Classes shared her favorite techniques for grilling vegetables. Check out four of her suggestions below to find a new use for your fresh produce. 

  1. To prep my vegetables for the grill, I cut them up and spread them on a rimmed baking sheet; brush lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. You can also put them in a sealed plastic bag and toss them with the oil and seasonings.
  2. I place vegetables on the grill, oil side down, and cook fairly quickly once that fat hits the grill. I sometimes brush the second side with oil, depending on the vegetable. Asparagus, for instance, doesn’t need to be brushed on more than one surface. The key is to see enough oil to insure even cooking and to produce the grill marks.
  3. I love to skewer vegetables that are cut into rounds or chunks. Zucchini, whole small mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, wedges of onion, sliced eggplant are all wonderful on a skewer (use metal, unless you don’t mind soaking bamboo skewers). I like to use freshly-chopped oregano, rosemary and thyme to season my skewers and serve them on their own or as a side dish with grilled or roasted meat, chicken or fish. A simple yogurt sauce such as Tzatziki is a delicious accompaniment to grilled dishes (I make mine with plain Greek yogurt, finely grated cucumber, minced garlic, dill, lemon juice, salt and pepper).
  4. Outdoor grilling is everyone’s first choice, but I suggest an indoor grilling pan when summer storms send you inside or you’re only making enough for two people and don’t want to light the whole outdoor grill (asparagus, sliced eggplant and zucchini are indoor favorites). The prep is the same, I use a cast iron grill pan on the stove because it gets nice and hot. It will get smoky, so remember to turn your vent on and open the window to allow the smoke to escape.