The most delicious char-grilled vegetables that are seared over high heat until crisp-tender then tossed with a homemade zesty balsamic vinaigrette that absorbs into the hot, fresh grilled vegetables. Incredibly flavorful, healthy and super easy to prepare!
When it comes to summer grilling, I feel like vegetables often times get overlooked. It seems like the popular sides for grilling are potatoes and carrots and the occasional bunch of asparagus. But, once you taste how delicious all these grilled marinated vegetables are, you'll be grilling vegetables all summer long! They are the perfect side dish to all that delicious grilled meat.
What vegetables are good for grilling?
When it comes to marinated grilled vegetables, there are so many great vegetables you can use! Here are my favorites:
- Yellow squash
- Red onion
- Bell pepper
Another popular vegetable for grilling is eggplant! If eggplant is your thing, then grill it up!
How to Cut Vegetables for Grilling.
When grilling these types of vegetables, you want to cut them big and thick for a couple reasons. First, to prevent them from falling through the grill grate, and second, larger pieces means fewer pieces to flip.
If desired, you can always use a vegetable grill basket.
Here's how to cut the vegetables:
Zucchini and yellow squash. Cut off the ends, then cut in half crosswise. Thickly slice lengthwise.
Red onion. You want to keep the root (hairy end) in tact to hold the onion slices together while grilling. To do so, cut the onion in half lengthwise through the root, then peel and place each half face down. Cut lengthwise into thick slices through the root, so that there is a piece of root holding each slice together.
Baby bella mushrooms. I like to leave baby bella mushrooms whole. If you cut them in half, you risk the stem falling out.
Bell pepper. Stand the pepper up with the stem at the top, then cut off the 4 sides. Slice each side in half lengthwise, so you're left with 8 pieces.
Asparagus. Trim off the ends.
Grilled Vegetable Marinade.
To marinate the vegetables, I use a homemade zesty balsamic dressing that closely resembles a vinaigrette. It's tangy, zesty, a touch of sweet and adds incredible flavor to the grilled vegetables. It's addicting.
The marinade is super simple to make using ingredients that you likely already have in your pantry and fridge. Here's what you need:
- Olive oil
- Balsamic vinegar
- Lemon juice
- Dijon mustard
- Pure maple syrup or honey
- Basil and thyme. I like to use fresh herbs, but you can substitute dried basil leaves and dried thyme leaves, if needed.
Why do you marinate the vegetables after grilling?
Marinating the vegetables while they are still hot and fresh off the grill is the best and easiest way for the vegetables to absorb the marinade! Raw vegetables don't really absorb much flavor, and exposing raw vegetables to a marinade with salt will cause the vegetables to sweat and release liquid, resulting in soggy vegetables that aren't great for grilling.
Should you grill meat or vegetables first?
The vegetables used in this recipe only take about 6-10 minutes to grill, but you want to give the vegetables about 5-10 minutes to absorb the marinade after grilling. That said, I recommend that you start grilling the vegetables when you have about 20 minutes left on the meat. That gives you 10 minutes to grill the vegetables and 10 minutes for the vegetables to marinate.
Tips & Substitutions.
Can I substitute balsamic vinegar for more lemon juice and vice versa? I recommend using both as the recipe calls for, but feel free to use them interchangeably if in a pinch.
Thoughts on a vegetable grill basket. I personally don't use a grill basket - maybe I'll buy one in the future. But, I feel like you get a nice char when you place the vegetables directly on the grill grate. I just cut my vegetables into big, thick slices so that they don't fall through the grill grate. But, feel free to use a grill basket, if you prefer!
Can I cook the vegetables in the oven? Yes! Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Toss the vegetables with olive oil, salt and pepper then spread into a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake for about 20-25 minutes, or until crisp-tender.
What to Serve with Grilled Vegetables
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Grilled Vegetables with Zesty Balsamic Marinade
- 1 zucchini
- 1 yellow squash
- 1 red onion
- 8 ounces baby bella mushrooms
- 1 bell pepper
- ½ - 1 pound asparagus
- 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
- salt and pepper
- Fresh basil and thyme for garnish, if desired
Zesty Balsamic Marinade
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons maple syrup or honey
- ½ teaspoon dijon mustard
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh basil (or ½ teaspoon dried)
- ½ teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme (or ¼ teaspoon dried)
- How to cut the vegetables:*alternatively, you can use a vegetable grilling basketZucchini and yellow squash. Cut off the ends, then cut in half crosswise. Thickly slice lengthwise.Red onion. You want to keep the root (hairy end) intact to hold the onion slices together while grilling. To do so, cut the onion in half through the root, peel, then place each half face down. Cut into thick slices through the root, so that there is a piece of root holding each slice together.Baby bella mushrooms. Leave whole.Bell pepper. Stand the pepper up with the stem at the top, then cut off the 4 sides. Slice each in half lengthwise, so you're left with 8 pieces.Asparagus. Trim off the ends.
- Preheat the grill. Preheat the grill to medium-high heat, about 350-400 degrees F.
- Make the Zesty Balsamic Marinade. Add all ingredients to a small jar or bowl, and shake or whisk until combined.
- Grill the vegetables. Toss the vegetables with olive oil, salt and pepper. Place the vegetables on the grill over direct heat (use a grill basket if desired) and grill about 3-5 minutes each side, or until crisp-tender and nicely charred.
- Marinate and serve. Transfer the vegetables to a plate and drizzle with the marinade. Let sit for about 5-10 minutes. If desired, garnish with fresh basil and thyme before serving.