Marinated grilled vegetables don’t have to be boring and flavourless. These BBQ grilled vegetables have a delicious marinade that adds tons of flavour. We finish them with a basil dressing that adds the perfect fresh touch. I promise that this way of preparing them will leave you astounded. It’s also a great way to add vegetables to our BBQ table without sacrificing any of the flavour.
Marinated Grilled Vegetables
In this recipe for marinated grilled vegetables, I would love to show you different types of vegetables, how to cut them and what considerations to have while grilling them. Keep in mind that the objective here is to have slightly charred and tasty veggies. You want to see those great grill marks for extra BBQ flavour! If you rather wrap them in foil packets and let them cook through it, that’s valid too but you sacrifice a bit of the flavour that way. You can use a gas grill, charcoal grill or even electric grill. The result will be great in all cases! If you don’t have a grill, you can also make these on a grill pan or a griddle, ideally cast iron.
The perfect marinade for grilled vegetables
Before adding your vegetables to the grill, we will let them marinate in a delicious mix of ingredients. This is key when preparing grilled vegetables. Of course, you could just sprinkle them with salt and pepper but they will dehydrate, burn and won’t be too tasty. Now, with these ingredients, your favorite veggies shine and get a nice char on the grill from those grill grates. To prepare it you will just whisk together all the ingredients in a large bowl and add them to the vegetables. I tend to like to do this on a sheet pan that I can then take to the grill directly. Marinating them is really the best option! Then, the marinated vegetables will go on the hot grill. This is a pretty simple marinade but the mix of ingredients makes for a great vegetable marinade:
- Olive oil: Extra virgin olive oil and fats in general will help us get the vegetables golden on the grill. Veggies differ from BBQ meats such as beef, pork or sausages in that they have their own fat to cook in and veggies don’t. Without fat, they dehydrate, go wrinkly, mushy and won’t get a delicious flavour and look. Also, olive oil is delicious!
- Butter: I add a mix of olive oil and butter for taste, but if you prefer you can use only olive oil.
- Garlic powder: Garlic powder will add a delicious and subtle taste to the vegetables. It’s not invasive and it’s definitely nice to eat.
- Dried oregano: I love oregano in BBQ cooking in general, whether it be on chicken, fish or even meats.
- Red wine vinegar: Vinegar will add a bit of acidity to balance things out. A tangy marinade is generally really nice on all kinds of vegetables. I used red wine vinegar but it could also be balsamic vinegar, white wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar or even sherry vinegar. You could even swap it for lemon juice if you prefer. This ingredient is key in this marinated grilled vegetables recipe.
Considerations depending on vegetable types
This marinated grilled vegetables recipe is really simple to make, but here are a few tips depending on the type of vegetable you have in front of you to get a perfect result every time. I don’t know if I would say some veggies are better than others, but you do have to bear in mind what each needs and how long they take to cook.
- Potatoes, sweet potatoes and other root vegetables: Cook them in salty water and then cut them up into medium pieces. I rather have them cut instead of whole because it adds more surface area that can become golden, and that’s the best part of these potatoes. They need about 20 minutes in the water to be ready. Then, you will drain and mix them with the marinade in a cast iron skillet. They go straight onto the oven in the pan. The result (After 30-40min) is really crispy and tasty, they’re a real addiction.
- Bell Peppers: A red bell pepper, yellow bell pepper or green bell pepper needs more time than other types of vegetables because they have thick skin and tend to be too strong if not cooked for long enough. It’s definitely the first veggie that needs to go on the grill after the potatoes.
- Onions and spring onions: These vegetables have a strong flavour when raw. However, a grill brings out their natural sweetness, they’re so good! Since you slice the red onion (or brown) in medallions, they don’t need that long on the grill. 4 minutes per side should be enough.
- Watery vegetables like zucchini, yellow squash, and eggplant: don’t cut them too thin, go for thick, long slices because they lose a lot of volume on the grill. 1cm or 1/3 inch is a good thickness. Prefer vegetables that are firm when you press them with your fingers (not too ripe).
- Asparagus: Technically, asparagus is one of the vegetables that don’t need cooking before placing on the grill. However, I like to blanch them briefly in hot salty water to bring out an intense green colour that otherwise doesn’t come through on the grill. To stop the cooking process quickly, they go into cold icy water. Then they’re mixed with the marinade and go on the grill over medium-high heat for 1 minute per side and they’re ready. We want them to be al dente, if you pick them up and they bend, that means they cooked for too long.
Adequate cooking degree of vegetables
Another common error that I see when grilling vegetables is that they’re usually overcooked. To avoid this, it helps to cut them into thick, larger pieces. When we cut them too thin, the heat goes quickly through the marinated grilled vegetables and they soften a lot. This happens plenty with asparagus, for example. For the perfect side dish, cook them until they’re al dente and they still need teeth to eat. In general, I don’t like to use a grilling basket to grill vegetables. They tend to sweat too much in a grill basket and don’t get evenly golden. As you constantly mix and have many layers of veggies, they go a bit mushy by the time you’re done. I rather place them in a single layer over the heat to get an even cooking all around.
The dressing for serving
I make a basil dressing to serve these marinated grilled vegetables for extra flavour. Fresh herbs are the best! And basil is definitely one of my favourite herbs. It adds a different flavour profile to grilled veggies and a bit of freshness, too. With this dressing, they go from being a lovely side dish to being the main event at the table. I swear this will be a new family favorite when you make it, for meat-eaters and vegetarians alike, and this dressing is really important to achieve it. If you need more dressings, check out my post for 10 dressings to liven up your salads. Also, as a last garnish, I sprinkled toasted sliced almonds for a crispy element. Next time you have a BBQ at home, make these amazing vegetables and I promise that you won’t go back.
Marinated Grilled Vegetables Recipe
For the vegetables
- 700 g new/cocktail potatoes
- 340 g asparagus
- 1 red pepper, sliced thick without the core or seeds
- 1 zucchini firm to touch, cut lengthwise in 1cm/⅓in slices
- 3 spring onions / green onions
- 1 red onion cut into 1cm/⅓in round slices
For the marinade
- 100 ml olive oil
- 100 g unsalted butter melted, or the same amount in more olive oil
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tbsp dried oregano
- 2 tbsp red wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar
- Salt and pepper to taste
For the basil dressing
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 handful basil leaves
- 6 tbsp olive oil
- Toasted sliced almonds
For the vegetables
- Cook the potatoes with their skin on in plenty of salty water over medium heat until you can easily pierce them with a knife. Remove them from the water and cut them into quarters. Reserve.
- For the asparagus, bring salty water to a rolling boil. Once it's boiling, add the asparagus and cook them for 30 seconds. After this time, remove them and place them in a bowl with water and ice to stop the cooking. Once cold, remove them from the ice and reserve.
- The rest of the vegetables don't need previous cooking, just cut them according to the list of ingredients.
For the marinade
- Mix all the ingredients using a whisk.
- Cover the vegetables thoroughly with the marinade (except the potatoes), making sure they're evenly coated and place them on a baking sheet that you can then use to take them to the grill. Marinade for 30 minutes.
- Place the potatoes in a large cast iron skillet along with the remaining marinade, there should be quite a bit left. Mix well.
- The potatoes take the longest: 30-40 minutes over medium heat and you have to stir every 10 minutes to get an even golden colour.
- After the potatoes, the peppers take the longest, about 6-8 minutes per side. Then comes the zucchini, onion and spring onion which need 4 minutes per side. You want to see that they're charred but are still al dente.
- Finish by adding the asparagus which only need 1-2 minutes per side. It's just a quick char and they're out.
- Don't forget to season the veggies with more salt while they're on the grill!
For the basil dressing
- Blend or process all the ingredients together and serve it over the hot or warm vegetables.
- Garnish with the toasted almonds and serve immediately.