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Veggies on the Grill

Posted by Chef Perry P. Perkins on

Veggies on the Grill

~Chef Perry Perkins~

Caramelizing your vegetables on the grill top, and adding a kiss of smoke, are the key to taking them to the next level. Some of the best produce for grilling, include whole corn, peppers, asparagus, onions, tomatoes, and eggplant.

You can scarf these lovelies straight up, toss them with a splash of balsamic vinegar, or, one of my favorites, slices and added to a wrap or sandwich.

Tips for Grilling Great Veggies

  • Thin-skinned ingredients have a tendency to stick to the grill, especially if they’re marinated, so be sure to brush the exteriors with a high-heat oil before putting them on the fire. (I like Grapeseed).
  • Big veggies, like eggplants, squash, and onions, will grill more evenly (and develop more flavor) when cubed or quartered before cooking. Remember, the more surface area you can get on the grill, the more flavor you’re going to get.
  • Little stuff like cherry or grape tomatoes, and skinny stuff like green onions and asparagus, have a tendency to try to go sideways, and slip through the grill. Putting them on skewers first can help wrangle them, as well as making them easier to turn and grill evenly.
  • Veggies require a more babysitting than a hunk of meat, as they cook (and burn) much more quickly. Keep a close eye on them, and check the undersides often. Also, be careful not to overcook them (I like mine to still have a little snap to them, so figure in hold-over cooking, and resting time. I’ll typically grill my vegetables last, and serve them right off the grill. Some folks grill their veggies in foil, but I try to avoid that, as they tend to steam, and don’t get the smoke and char…which is kind of the whole point.
  • Corn comes in it’s own wrapper…cook it that way! Before grilling, carefully pull back the leaves, remove the silk, and then pull the leaves back up. Soak for a couple of hours in salted water, pat the outsides dry, and grill until the outside is well charred. I like to strip off the leaves at this point, and give the corn a couple of minutes directly over the fire, to get some nice grill marks. Roll them in some garlic butter, and serve with fresh lime wedges.
  • Dense veggies like potatoes, carrots, or beets, take longer to grill, so it’s best to start them over indirect heat, and then finish right over the heat, to keep the outsides from burning, before they cook through.

There’s no shortage of veggie-grilling recipes to be found online, here are twelve of my favorites that can be found with a quick search:

  • Asparagus Boats with Parmesan & Garlic
  • Thai Chili Charred Eggplant
  • Charred Sweet Onions
  • Padrón peppers with Olive Oil & Sea Salt
  • Grilled Ratatouille
  • Beets in Rosemary and Vinegar
  • Radishes with Salt
  • Cajun Grilled Corn
  • Tomatoes and Red Onions
  • Tequila Portobello
  • Eggplant, Tomato, and Goat Cheese
  • Portobello and Mozzarella

Now, go eat your veggies!

~Chef Perry

As a third-generation chef, Perry P. Perkins focuses his love of cooking on barbeque, traditional southern fare, and fresh Northwest cuisine.

Perry runs the non-profit organization, MY KITCHEN Outreach Program, which teaches nutrition, shopping, and hands on cooking classes for at risk youth.

His cookbooks include La Caja China Cooking, La Caja China World, La Caja China Party, and the NEW “La Caja China Grill.”

You can follow the rest of Chef Perry’s cooking adventures at

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