Following up on her first article “Grilling Vegetables: Tools, Tips and Techniques pt 1“ Beverly Jo Noble of www.aLifetimeofRecipes.com shows us how to grill vegetables in foil and use skewers. The food looks amazing!
Grilling Vegetables: Tools, Techniques & Tips (part 2)
Last time, we talked about using an accessory grill to keep your vegetables on the grill, as well as cooking times and seasoning ideas. Here are two other techniques to cook vegetables outdoors successfully.
Aluminum foil packages: This is a cross between grilling and steaming. You will get some browning (see the picture of the potato-onion mixture) but the texture will be softer than true grilling. I do like mixed vegetables with herbs, lemon juice or white wine, and olive oil cooked this way. Yes, it is steamed, and you could accomplish the same thing in the microwave or in a bamboo steamer. But this gives you a way to prepare the vegetables ahead of time, let them marinate in the seasonings, and then cook everything outside rather than running back and forth from the grill to the kitchen. Make sure you use double strength foil so that it holds up to the tongs as you turn the packages over. Several small packages (1 or 2 servings per package) will cook better and turn more easily than one large package.
Lay the foil out on a flat surface. Make sure the foil is long enough to wrap around the food 2-1/2 to 3 times. Brush with a little olive oil. Add the vegetables in the center, along with the herbs. Fold up all the sides, then carefully add the liquids: citrus juice, soy sauce, or wine. Now bring the shorter sides together, and fold them over 3 or 4 times. Press the creases firmly. Next grab the remaining sides, bring them together, and crease until the foil is close to the food. Leave a little room for the steam, which will develop during cooking. That’s it… just let them sit while you prepare the meat. If you used citrus juice, start cooking within 15 minutes; with other liquids you can wait longer. Cooking time depends on which vegetables you have chosen, 10 – 20 minutes. Turn packages over midway.
For the potato-onion mixture shown, I used 3 red potatoes and ½ of a large red onion. I added 3 sprigs fresh cilantro, ½ tsp. dried dill, one smashed garlic clove, and 1 tsp. olive oil. They were delicious! We cooked them for 20 minutes. No pre-cooking was needed, as both onions and potatoes need about the same amount of cooking time.
Skewers can combine a variety of vegetables, vegetables with meat, chicken, scallops, or shrimp. The biggest drawback is the variation in cooking times.
To minimize those differences: Cut onions or potatoes in quarters; place in a small bowl with about 2 Tbsp. water. Microwave 2 minutes; drain thoroughly. Add to the marinade with the other vegetables. If using tomatoes, place them in the refrigerator for 15 – 20 minutes before grilling so they will cook a little slower.
I find that beginning and ending my skewers with either onion or bell pepper helps to keep the softer vegetables on the skewer.
Marinades: this is the basic marinade I use for most vegetables. You have several options for seasoning. Please don’t use them all together… Marinate vegetables for 15 – 20 minutes, then grill; about 5 minutes per side.
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. lemon or lime juice
1 tsp. salt
1 clove garlic, mashed
seasoning: pick from the following list
1 tsp. dried Italian herbs
1 tsp. Greek seasoning mix
1 Tbsp. fresh basil, minced
1 tsp. dried dill, or 1 Tbsp. fresh dill
1 Tbsp. fresh cilantro, minced + 1 tsp. cumin
1 Tbsp. soy sauce & 1 Tbsp. white wine
Asparagus, cut in 2” lengths
Bell peppers: discards seeds & pith, cut in quarters lengthwise, then cut each
wedge in half crosswise
Onions: cut in quarters; separate into 2-3 ring sections
Mushrooms: rinse and cut off stems
Grape or cherry tomatoes: refrigerate to slow cooking time
Summer squash & zucchini: trim ends; slice about 1 inch thick
Potatoes: cut in chunks; parboil first if you use them in a combination
My choice of seasoning usually depends on the main dish selection. Use the same or related flavors for both the meat and the vegetables; it will work better on the plate that way.
I used a Lime-Cerveza marinade for the steaks and vegetables shown in the picture:
Using jalapenos makes this HOT! Poblano peppers work better for the veggies, in my opinion. But I’m a bit of a wimp in the chili arena.
1 red onion, minced
¼ cup chopped cilantro
2 Tbsp. minced jalapeno or poblano peppers
1 garlic clove
¼ cup olive oil
2 limes, juice & zest
¼ cup Mexican beer, or blonde ale
1 Tbsp. tequila
½ Tbsp. freshly ground pepper
1 tsp. cumin
Combine all ingredients in blender. Process until smooth. Place meat or vegetables in zipper plastic bag; add marinade. This will make enough marinade for 2-3 lbs. of meat or vegetables, or split in separate bags to marinate both. It will tenderize the meat if you leave it in the marinade at least 2 hours; overnight is best. But only marinate vegetables for 15 minutes.
This entire meal cooked on the grill in 30 minutes, including the time to clean and heat the grill. It’s nice to do everything outside, and to be able to relax and enjoy the process without running back and forth to the kitchen.
Next: my adventures with the Island Grill Stone! Will test my existing recipes for any changes needed, and try some new items that haven’t worked well with other techniques. Happy grilling!
Beverly received her first cookbook as a birthday present at age 8, and has been cooking for family and friends ever since. Growing up in the small town of Spenard, Alaska, long winters and long distances combined to make fresh produce a luxury. The family moved to Pomona, California when Beverly was 12. Suddenly, fruits and vegetables were FRESH, and oh, what a difference that made.
As a single young adult, Beverly continued to cook for her own pleasure. Collecting and trying new recipes became a hobby. She soon started to play with recipes… modifying ingredients, and trying duplicate restaurant dishes at home. Fruit trees and berries in the back yard produced seasonal abundance that led to new uses in the kitchen.
Heart disease, diabetes, and weight control concerns in the family led her to modify old favorites and search for new items to replace high-‐fat, high-‐sodium foods while balancing proteins and carbohydrates. Then a dark time: first Mom, then a son, then her husband died, all within an 18 month period. Hiding out in the kitchen helpedto disguise the loneliness…. Enough already! She left the sorrow behind and moved to a new town and a new life.
The Series: The first book in the series, Fabulous Fresh Fruit, is focused on seasonal, locally grown food and how to use it for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Go beyond pies and cakes to Lemon Raspberry Chicken, Pork with Pears, Nectarine-‐Red Onion Salsa, and 400 more…. Future books include Veggie Love; Recipes from the Farmers Market, and Long and Slow: Soups and Stews.
You can reach the author at email@example.com on LinkedIn, as Beverly (Wilson) Noble, at
www.Facebook.com/Beverly.Jo.Noble or at www.ALifetimeofRecipes.com