Grilling fresh produce can be so much more than those obligatory skewers of soggy zucchini you’ve run into at barbecues in the past. A surprising amount of produce takes on a new life on the grill. It’s well-worth experimenting with a few new ones while you perfect your technique on the classics. Below are five of our favorite fruits and veggies to grill.
Have you ever wondered what on earth to do with leeks? Just halve them lengthwise, oil them, and throw them on the grill with your favorite herbs and spices and you’re in for a delightful barbecue side dish or sandwich topping. They’re also great when served with Spanish romesco sauce. If you don’t have leeks, green onions are just as delicious and cook even faster!
Tip: To make fully cooking them easier, once they’ve got a good char, transfer them to an aluminum foil packet along with a tablespoon of butter and park them in a lower temperature part of the grill to tenderize.
This one might sound like a curveball, but trust us, nothing is as unexpectedly sweet and delicious as grilled romaine! The best part is that since it’s lettuce, it doesn’t even need to stay on the grill long, just enough to get that savory and smoky flame-kissed taste. Try using your grilled romaine in a fun new take on the Caesar salad.
Tip: We also recommend grilling bitter greens like radicchio, since the fire will tame the bitterness and bring out its true depth of flavor.
They’re a barbecue cliche for a reason. Grilling takes bell peppers from obligatory dip vehicle to star of the show in just a few minutes. While they’re great as-is, we also love using grilled peppers to flavor other things like hummus or soup.
Tip: Grilling is also an excellent way to cook hot chili peppers since the fire will calm their spiciness and add new smoky flavors for your next batch of salsa.
Grilling is not just for vegetables! Grilling fruit is truly magical since the heat of the fire caramelizes the natural sugars, making it much sweeter without adding any sugar. Peaches are one of our favorite vegetables to grill, especially served with ice cream! They make for the ultimate quick and easy warm-weather dessert.
Tip: Other fruits that are amazing grilled are pineapple, watermelon, cantaloupe, and grapefruit!
Don’t give up on the idea of enjoying eggplant until you’ve tried grilling it. The very intense texture and flavor that make eggplant so hard to cook other ways make it amazing on the grill. With a little eggplant know-how and a hot fire, you’ll turn this stubborn nightshade into your new favorite spring and summer veggie!
Tip: If you can, salt your eggplant liberally before grilling it, since this will both pre-season it and draw out some of the water that you’ll have to cook out later.