Gentle Readers, few things elevate the ordinary into the extraordinary like grilling. The most loathed vegetable becomes the anticipated one with some char marks and seasoning.
Because, to paraphrase the Simpson’s episode, you can’t make friends with salad, sometimes the easiest way to keep on-hand vegetables from becoming snoozers is to grill them. Whether this will be your whole meal or the side act to your chops, here’s how to up your game.
Grilling Carrots, Cauliflower, Broccoli
- If you use a gas grill (I’m unapologetic about my love for my Weber), soak some wood chips for at least 30 minutes, drain them, and use a smoker box (well worth the investment) or a foil pouch to contain them on your grill. We are very fond of pecan wood, and even grill/smoked our green beans for Thanksgiving this year.
- Use skewers (metal or wooden) or a vegetable grate or basket to keep things from falling into your grill.
- Don’t be afraid of heat. Medium-high to high works well to get the smoke rolling, to put some serious char on the vegetables, and to get you to the table to eat.
- Don’t hold back on the seasoning. I’ve found that smoke and char are awesome for veggies, but this trinity really benefits from a heavy hand. Try commercial mixes (like the McCormic line), Old Bay, Lowry’s, or any of the Trader Joe’s (garlic salt and everyday seasoning are great). This plus olive oil and you’re getting somewhere.
- Turn your carrots into hot dogs! (Yes, I’ve done this, and I think they are better than not dogs you would buy at the store.) Bonus: you can shortcut this in the InstantPot before you grill.
- If you don’t want to go full carrot dog, stab your peeled carrots a few times, make a simple marinade (some oil, a little soy sauce, some ginger, salt and pepper), marinate the carrots while you prep everything else and straight grill them. They don’t fall through the grates and they are so easy. We do the multi-colored ones from Trader Joe’s.
- Cauliflower benefits from a finishing sauce. I’m working on perfecting my Harissa version, but my go-to is Gobi Manchurian. I grill the cauliflower with just salt, pepper, and olive oil, and I mean I blacken it to some extent, then toss with sauce that is basically reduce ketchup.
- Broccoli on the grill is just roasted broccoli with less indoor mess. Spice mix, salt, pepper, oil, high heat, toss into a vegetable basket. I like a little red pepper flake with them for interest. The wood smoke also adds a layer of flavor and interest here, so worth the extra step.
Up next time, Vegetarian Hoppin’ John!