Although grilling and barbecuing has been always pitched as a sport for meat-lovers, there’s so much in this game for vegetarians too. Vegetables with a hint of spices and smoke taste delicious, and no vegetarian should be deprived of these exotic flavors.
Never tried grilling vegetables before?
That’s sad, but no worries!
We have some grilling secrets for vegetarians that come straight from the experts, that’ll surely get you hooked to grilled vegetarian delights.
1.The right kind of pre-heat
Even though vegetables cook easily as compared to meats; that’s no reason to take the heating-up time lightly. You wouldn’t want to end up with a grilled eggplant or cucumber that’s still firm at the core. A well heated grill will ensure uniform and complete cooking.
If you’re using a charcoal grill, give it at least half an hour to heat up before you put the veggies on. Gas grills are more efficient and will be ready for cooking within 10 minutes or so. You can also speed up a charcoal grill’s heating using a chimney starter. That should give you an edge of 10-15 minutes easily.
Marinating veggies before grilling makes a huge difference to their flavors. You’d just need to leave the veggies in the marinade for 10-15 minutes only. Coating every piece of vegetable with a light marinade will work wonders, even if you’re just using some salt, pepper and olive oil.
A light coating of oil helps the seasoning to stick well to the vegetables. Just be careful not to overdo the oil coating, you’ll just end up with flare-ups from the dripping oil. Try to keep a good balance of flavor and calories.
There is always room to get creative with marinades. You can also add some minced garlic, herbs, spices and a dash of lime juice to the marinade to bring out more exotic flavors.
If you’ve cut some fine pieces of the vegetable, grilling them could prove to be quite challenging. Cooked vegetables shrink considerably in size as they lose all the moisture. Grilling cherries and beans can become excruciatingly unmanageable as they tend to roll around and fall through the grate.
A grill basket and some skewers are indispensable for vegetarian grilling. The skewers and basket can hold all the fine cut pieces and round veggies in place. You should definitely add these to your collection of BBQ supplies if you don’t already have them.
4.Two-zone grilling set-up
Did we mention that vegetables cook quite quickly on the grill? Any vegetarian who has handled the barbecue knows quite well that veggies don’t cook quickly, they also burn too fast. If you don’t take the cooked vegetables away from the flame in time, your dish will end up tasting more burnt than smoky.
Let’s tell you how experts deal with this ordeal. You need to accomplish a two-zone grilling set-up on the grill. There’s one zone which will give direct fire and heat to the veggies, while the zone away from the fire will allow you space to move the food around when you don’t want direct heat.
For a charcoal grill you can make the arrangement by placing the charcoals on just the half side, or arranging them in a pile or in a circle. When it comes to gas grills, you’ll just have to keep a couple of burners off to do the trick.
5.Cooking in packets
If you’ve not tried grilling vegetables in packets yet, you’ve got to give it a shot ASAP. It’s a great hack to give you time away from watching the barbecue, especially when it comes to dense vegetables like sweet potatoes which seem to take an eternity to get done.
So what’s the deal with cooking in packets? Well, it’s a simple hack. All you need to do is lightly coat the vegetable in oil and wrap it in foil. Now place the packet on the grill and let them cook till they get tender. Usually, vegetables will get done in under 15 minutes. It’s a superb trick. Do give it a try!