How to Grill Vegetables for a Healthy Side Dish

When they're grilled, fresh veggies become caramelized and delicious. Grilled vegetables are not only delicious, but they're easy, too. We'll show you different ways to grill vegetables, including foil packets, grill baskets, and kabobs. Plus, get our must-have recipes for creative grilled veggies.

It's so easy to grill veggies, and they're so delicious! Smoky heat does incredible things to vegetables, and we're always more excited to add asparagus, corn, zucchini, and more to our plates when we see those gorgeous grill marks. We've included tips below for how to grill vegetables like peppers, mushrooms, eggplants, and onions so you can serve them on the side of your summer cookouts or add smoky flavor to veggie sides. We included specific prepping and grilling instructions for each veggie, but to cook each one evenly without charring, keep the grill heat to medium. You should be able to hold your hand above the coals for 4 seconds before pulling it away.

Grilled Baby Veggies with Arugula-Mint Pesto Sauce
Kritsada Panichgul

How to Grill Vegetables

Before you start grilling vegetables, make sure to wash and dry them thoroughly. Prep and follow the chart below to know how long to grill vegetables so they turn out perfectly tender every time.

Vegetable Prep Precook Time
Asparagus Prep asparagus spears No 7 to 10 minutes
Bell Peppers Prep bell peppers No 6 to 8 minutes
Carrots Prep carrots Simmer for 3 to 5 minutes in a saucepan in a small amount of boiling water. 3 to 5 minutes
Corn Prep corn on the cob No 25 to 30 minutes
Eggplant Prep eggplant No 8 to 12 minutes
Fennel Prep fennel Simmer for 5 minutes in a saucepan in a small amount of boiling water. 8 minutes
Onion Prep red, white, or yellow onion No 10 minutes
Mushrooms Prep mushrooms No 10 to 12 minutes for large varieties, 6 to 8 minutes for smaller varieties
Potatoes (Baking) Prep potatoes No 1 to 1 ½ hours, turning every 15 minutes
Potatoes (New) Prep potatoes Bring water to boiling in a saucepan. Simmer, covered, for 10 minutes or until nearly tender. Drain well. 10 to 12 minutes
Tomatoes Prep tomatoes No 5 minutes for large tomatoes, 5 to 7 for grape or cherry tomatoes
Zucchini and Summer Squash Prep zucchini No 5 to 6 minutes

Test Kitchen Tip: Some veggies need a jump start so they grill evenly. If the chart recommends precooking the veggies for grilling, bring a small amount of water to boiling in a saucepan. Add desired vegetables and simmer, covered, for the time specified. Drain well. Generously brush vegetables with olive oil or melted butter before grilling to prevent sticking.

Lemon-Veggie Foil Pack
Andy Lyons

Grilling Vegetables in Foil

Grilling in foil packets is one of our favorite ways to grill fresh veggies. Because a foil pack cooks with steam, it's essential to craft a tightly sealed pouch. Otherwise, the tasty juices will bubble away, leaving food to dry out or burn. Try adding a spoonful of our favorite flavor boosters for a unique taste: Beer, soy sauce, white wine, apple juice, red pepper sauce, or chicken broth.

  1. Place a 36x18-inch piece of foil on your work surface and fold in half to make an 18-inch square. Arrange veggies in the center of the square, leaving enough room around the edges to fold over the foil.
  2. Fold opposite sides to meet in the middle snugly against the vegetables. Fold the edges together several times to make a tight seam.
  3. Then fold the packet ends, rolling the foil tightly. Toss the packet onto the grill immediately or refrigerate until ready to use.
Vegetables being grilled in a basket
Jason Donnelly

Using Grill Baskets

Using a grilling vegetable basket is one of our favorite ways to cook veggies on the grill. They come in handy when you want to grill a combination of vegetables or if you simply don't want to risk losing veggies through the grates of your grill.

The Test Kitchen prefers perforated grill baskets. Perforated baskets with low sides are available in various shapes and sizes, making it easy to flip and turn ingredients.

Grill any vegetable combination you can imagine, which is easier if the vegetables have similar cooking times. If timing varies great, start the longer-cooking veggies first. Before cooking, toss veggies with oil. Grill veggies, covered, checking for doneness every 5 minutes.

Meatball & Vegetable Kabobs
Andy Lyons

Grilling Vegetable Kabobs

Skewer up some veggie kabobs to cook a variety of vegetables. To make grilled vegetable skewers, slide cut veggies or whole smaller vegetables (like cherry tomatoes and small mushrooms) onto soaked bamboo skewers, or metal skewers. Grill directly over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes or until veggies are browned and tender.

Grilling vegetables is a great way to ensure you've got a serving of veggies on your plate at summer barbecues and cookouts. During the rest of the year, you can get your veggies crisp-tender in a similar way (minus the smoky flavor) by learning how to roast vegetables. Between grilling and roasting, you'll easily be able to keep veggie side dishes that everyone in your family will eat included on the table year-round.

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