How to Grill Vegetables

It comes down to a kettle, a chimney, a little patience—and a smoky payoff. How to make the heat. By Julianna Grimes

Three Steps to Grilled Vegetables

Photo: John Autry

Three Steps to Grilled Vegetables

Throwing a few vegetables onto the barbie to complement a burger or a chop gives short shrift to the true power of char and flame. The natural sugars in vegetables are caramelized by the high heat and suffused by the smoke. Yes, they’re good right off the fire. But go even further: Make a gazpacho, or grill stuffed jalapeños, or make a grilled Caesar salad. Fear not the fire: Techniques are revealed here.

View Recipe: Grilled Romaine with Creamy Herb Dressing

Grilling Vegetables: Light the paper

Photo: John Autry

Light the paper.

A chimney starter is indispensable for charcoal grilling. Stuff newspaper in the bottom. Place charcoal in the top, and light the paper. Now wait until the coals catch fire. If you don’t see smoke pouring out of the top and, eventually, flames, you need to relight.

Grilling Vegetables: Wait. Wait a bit more.

Photo: John Autry

Wait. Wait a bit more.

Yes, it can take its own sweet time. But don’t rush: Allow the flames to die down and the coals to take on a bright-red glow with a gray, ashy look. These cues signal that it’s time to put down your beverage and dump the coals into the bottom of your grill.

Grilling Vegetables: Spread the bed of coals.

Photo: John Autry

Spread the bed of coals.

Arrange coals in a pattern suited to what you’re cooking. For veggies that take longer than 20 minutes to cook (like dense potatoes), pile coals to one side of the grill for indirect heat. For quicker-cooking ingredients, pile coals in the center of the grill.

Grilled Vegetable Gazpacho Recipe

Photo: John Autry

Grilled Vegetable Gazpacho

Make this soup up to two days ahead, cover, and chill until you’re ready to serve. If you prepare it ahead, you may need to stir in a bit of water before serving, as it may thicken slightly as it sits. For more heat, leave the seeds in the jalapeño, or remove them to tame the flames.

View Recipe: Grilled Vegetable Gazpacho

Grilled Stuffed Jalapeños Recipe

Photo: John Autry

Grilled Stuffed Jalapeños

The rich and creamy combination of bacon, cream cheese, and cheddar is a nice foil for the muted spice of grilled jalapeño peppers. This recipe is a healthy, fresh alternative to the popular breaded and fried version. If making these poppers for a party, you can stuff the peppers, cover, and chill. Then grill just before your guests arrive.

View Recipe: Grilled Stuffed Jalapeños

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