Which vegetable is master of the vegetable

Grilling vegetables - the best tips, tricks and great recipes

Grilling has long been considered the domain of men: grilling vegetables? Nothing! Experience has shown that grilling large pieces of meat over an open fire gives the grill master the greatest pleasure. But grilling has become versatile, it doesn't always have to be meat. Vegetables on the grill are much more than just a “healthy side dish”! We break a lance for grilled vegetables, the ultimate enjoyment from the grill and the epitome of versatile grilling.

Why should you put vegetables on the grill as a main course? Well, grilled vegetables look good, develop wonderful taste nuances and can be very varied. From the vegetable pan, which has meat, fish or fruit as a side dish, to vegetable skewers to caramelized vegetables that stand on their own, everything is possible. And of course everything that happens to meat or fish on the grill can also be done with vegetables: fast, spicy cooking is just as possible as smoking.

Table of Contents

Which vegetables are actually suitable for grilling?

What exactly are vegetables? How do you distinguish vegetables from other plant-based foods, and why do you do it the same way and not differently? It's not that simple: there is no scientific definition. Some say: vegetables are what are not eaten raw but cooked. This classification would make cucumber, tomato and peppers fruit or something in between, so it doesn't make sense. Other people define vegetables as annual plants or parts of plants, while fruits are perennial. However, this is also not effective, because asparagus, for example, would then be a fruit.

And it gets really difficult with the melon, which is botanically a pumpkin vegetable and annual, but is usually served raw. So fruit after all? We also don't know exactly how to distinguish vegetables from other edible plants and parts of plants. But we know what tastes good on the grill. You will find your own definition of vegetables or not already.

From potatoes and tubers to corn and various types of cabbage, tomatoes, fennel, zucchini and aubergines, asparagus, peppers and even mushrooms, everything is allowed on the grill. The grill basically replaces the kitchen with all of its various preparation options. The vegetables can be marinated and cooked slowly, smoked, fried quickly or gently cooked in the steam bath on the grill. What you like is allowed.

Fresh vegetables are a pleasure - but not always available

In terms of taste alone, we would of course always advise bringing vegetables freshly harvested and with a maximum storage time of two days on the grill. But that can really only be achieved by those who cultivate themselves or buy from their neighbors, who are self-sufficient. For everyone else, vegetables only end up in the supermarket with a delay of a few days or weeks. Vegetable grilling works best with really fresh vegetables.

It is harvested, pre-sorted, cleaned, transported, resold via wholesale markets, sorted again, stored and only then brought to the supermarket for sale. So this is anything but freshly harvested when it comes to sale. Since many vegetables are not grown in Germany or even Europe, but in Australia, New Zealand, Asia or South America, the trip takes a correspondingly long time.

It goes without saying that vegetables do not always taste aromatic, intense and fresh, even when bought fresh. Frozen vegetables are a real alternative if you want to grill vegetables spontaneously. It is harvested when ripe and snap frozen within hours. How long the transport to the supermarket then takes is not that important. Because the vegetables not only contain more vitamins and minerals (which decompose much more slowly in the freezer than in the air), but also the full aroma of freshly harvested vegetables.

The same applies to grilled vegetables as to the kitchen: vegetables should be aromatic and freshly harvested when they are processed. If frozen vegetables are used, you should be allowed to slowly thaw them overnight in the refrigerator before they are processed on the grill. But how do you go about grilling vegetables?

Firm, tender or sensitive? Which vegetables go well with what on the grill?

You can find tons of recipes for grilling vegetables on the Internet. But why are which vegetables prepared how, what tastes really good, and how do you combine the green fodder? Asparagus ends up on the grill freshly harvested in spring, whereas tomatoes are a typical summer vegetable. If you grill in autumn, you will be more likely to prepare the pumpkin and corn on the cob. What do you use in the kitchen in winter? Right - cabbage and cabbage, as well as carrots. It's the same on the grill. Grilling is a pleasure at any time of the year, and grilling vegetables is a must. Whether directly on the grill grate, in a cast iron pan or in a vegetable grill basket. However, the different types of vegetables are prepared very differently.

If it can be firm when grilling vegetables

Some vegetables are on the hard side and take more time on the grill. Potatoes are a case in point: They are simply cooked faster on the grill if you pre-cook them. An alternative: You wrap the potatoes in aluminum foil and prepare them as baked potatoes. However, since the media are increasingly warning about aluminum in food, pre-cooking is probably the better choice. Also possible: You cut the potatoes into small pieces and put them on colorfully mixed vegetable skewers with other vegetables. Other possibilities:

  • Fan potatoes with sage or rosemary
  • Chopped potatoes from the grill pan
  • Potatoes cut into French fries from the grill pan

Corn on the cob is a similar case to potatoes. The thick cobs will cook on the grill within 20 to 30 minutes if you boil them for 20 minutes beforehand or soak them in water for 30 minutes. This is at least true for fresh, raw corn on the cob. If you buy corn first, this step is logically omitted.

Carrots and kohlrabi are also rather massive and take quite a long time as whole vegetables on the grill. You can cut the carrots in half and pre-cook them, cut the kohlrabi into thick slices and grease them. Both vegetables will then take less than ten minutes to heat up on the edge of the grill.

Preparing crisp vegetables on the stainless steel plancha is a great way to prepare complete vegetable pans. Above all, the vegetables stay crispy and can be seasoned directly on the plate or flavored with liquids.

Stuffed vegetables from the grill - the most common variant when grilling vegetables

Firmer vegetables are ideal for filling them with all kinds of delicious ingredients. Cream cheese, quark, herbs and pesto are used here, but also delicious minced meat fillings. A real treat with hearty cheese gratin. So that the filled vegetables do not slip through the grillage, you can simply place them on a vegetable basket.

Pumpkin is wonderfully suitable for various types of preparation on the grill. You can simply demonstrate it on the baking sheet in the oven, then it is ready to grill in no time. However, we recommend that you open the pumpkin and remove the seeds. Then you fill the pumpkin with a filling of your choice. That tastes delicious:

  • a mixture of sheep cheese and Mediterranean herbs
  • a minced meat filling with a little chili
  • a filling made from rice, pine nuts, nuts and raisins
  • a cheese filling of your choice

Of course, there are other options for what you can put in the pumpkin. Put the lid back on, and then you put a minion ring in the grill. Then the pumpkin is allowed to slowly infuse for several hours at a constant temperature. Side dishes can then be salads, but in principle the pumpkin with its filling already represents a complete meal - the filling is the side dish.

This preparation is particularly delicious with butternut squash, spaghetti squash (insider tip: salmon with cream sauce as a filling!) And the very spicy bishop's hat. If you're shy about new types of pumpkin, the Hokkaido pumpkin will too. And what works with the pumpkin, you can also do with the 3 kilogram zucchini from the garden. The mini zucchini from the supermarket cook faster, so they are treated a little differently.

Grilling vegetables - to melt away ...

Tip from kitchen experts: Blanch vegetables before cooking them on the grill. This shortens the preparation time on the grill enormously. Blanching means that you clean and wash the vegetables and cut bite-sized bites. Then it is blanched in salted water for three to five minutes and briefly marinated in herbs or a hot oil mixture. Only then do the vegetables come on the grill and are allowed to slowly infuse until firm to the bite and absorb the delicious roasted aromas. These vegetables will be especially tender if you prepare them like this:

  • broccoli
  • cauliflower
  • Brussels sprouts
  • fennel
  • zucchini
  • Sweet potatoes
  • finely chopped pumpkin
  • Potatoes
  • leek

Cook vegetables quickly and directly on the grillage

Some vegetables cook very quickly because they naturally contain a lot of water and are soft. These include zucchini and peppers, eggplant and tomatoes, asparagus and avocado, onion, chicory and radicchio. Celery, cabbage leaves, artichokes and even kale (leafy vegetables) also fall into this category. Mushrooms also cook quickly, but in fact mushrooms are not vegetables at all. They are not a plant, but a very special way of life. Nevertheless: You can of course prepare mushrooms, shiitake, oyster mushrooms, birch mushrooms and other delicacies directly on the grill.

Tips for the preparation:

  • Zucchini and peppers can be cut into thin slices and cooked directly on the wire rack.
  • Alternatively: cut in half, clean and quickly cook with a delicious filling in the grill pan.
  • Marinate the aubergines and cook them in the pan on the grill.
  • Wrap the asparagus in the smoked ham, smoked tofu or sides and cook on the wire rack.
  • Cook tomatoes either whole on the wire rack, with other vegetables on the skewer or large tomatoes with a filling in the grill pan.
  • Avocado is simply cut in half, brushed with oil and cooked with the cut side down.
  • Onions, leeks, spring onions and the like are usually grilled on a skewer. Why? Try something new: just cut in half, grill with oil, pepper and a few herbs.
  • Radicchio and chicory can be cooked directly on the wire rack - and then made into a grilled vegetable salad with a fine marinade.

You should pay attention to that!

A few things are important when grilling vegetables. For example, you should never put wet vegetables on the grill. Of course, you wash the vegetables before preparing them. But then you should dry it off carefully and thoroughly. Always use oils that you can really heat up. These are rapeseed oil, soybean oil and peanut oil. The oils should be able to withstand 200 ° C and more and have a very high smoke point. So that your vegetables are always cooked at the same time, the pieces must be roughly the same size.

In a nutshell: Work is carried out as you know it from the kitchen. In addition, vegetables are never cooked directly over the embers, but always on the edge. So it is grilled indirectly. In this way, the carcinogenic substances that arise during direct cooking remain away. And the nutrients and flavors of the vegetables are retained. Make sure your vegetables don't drip into the embers. Marinades as well as water and vegetable juice have no place in the embers.

Vegetables from the grill get their special aroma if you add a little lemon juice or lime juice to the marinade. The acidity in it emphasizes the individual note of the vegetables and sets a great contrast to the sweetness that the various vegetables develop on the grill. This is particularly tasty with Brussels sprouts: pack the small, cleaned and halved florets together with almonds or pine nuts in a marinade made from olive oil, orange juice, salt, pepper and rosemary. You let it go slowly in a pan in the smoker - you've never seen Brussels sprouts like this!

Another tip for more intense flavors and the right consistency: vegetables should always, without exception, be served firm to the bite. Most people have a mild to moderate aversion to vegetables. When we think of the slimy boiled peppers, mushy cauliflower florets in white sauce, and greasy eggplants of our childhood, it's no wonder. Do you love to sink your teeth into a tender but firm piece of meat? Vegetables can be just as satisfying! Just take it off the grill before it gets too soft. For this reason, fresh herbs may only be added to the food shortly before the end of the cooking time. This also applies to the salt (with the exception of some marinades): It removes water from the vegetables and gives them a strange consistency. Only add salt afterwards, then the vegetables will stay crunchy.