The Best Veggies for Grilling This Summer
Nothing says summer like the smell of your neighbor cooking up something delicious on the barbecue next door! While chicken thighs, burgers, and hot dogs are typical barbecue fare, more and more people are searching for the best grilled veggies or plant-based burger options to serve to their families hot off the grill.
One of the best things about vegetables is that they can be prepared and enjoyed in so many different ways! Whether you sauté them, roast them, or snack on them raw, you always experience unique flavors when preparing vegetables in different ways. Grilled veggies are no exception – there are plenty of nutritious vegetables that can easily be prepared on the barbecue to enhance their flavor and create a special meal.
The same goes for plant-based burger options: a mouthwatering, juicy burger patty can be made from plant-based ingredients! Black bean burgers are an especially popular option for outdoor grilling if you’re looking for ways to add more plant-based protein and fiber-rich foods to your diet while still enjoying the irresistible flavor of barbecued burgers.
What are you waiting for? Grab your tongs, fire up your grill, and get cooking!
Our Top 10 Grilled Veggies for Summer Barbecues
While we are of course partial to the juicy, flavor-packed veggies we grow at our farms, we’ve created a master list featuring the 10 best veggies for grilling. Don’t forget to wash all your veggies before preparing them for the barbecue!
Bell Peppers, Mini Sweet Peppers, Long Sweet Peppers – they are all perfect veggies for grilling! For Bell Peppers, cut into halves or quarters, toss in olive oil and your desired seasoning, and place them on your grill skin side down. Mini Sweet Peppers and Long Sweet Peppers can be placed on the grill whole, but still toss them in olive oil and seasoning beforehand. Your Peppers are done when they are nicely charred and tender! Enjoy as a flavorful side dish, chopped up in a salad, or sliced up to top off a juicy burger.
Everyone loves a juicy Tomato on top of their burger, but a grilledTomato slice brings a whole new flavor to this classic topping. Beefsteak Tomatoes and Tomatoes-on-the-Vine are the best options for grilling as they are meatier and hold up better on the barbecue. To grill Tomato slices, slice your chosen Tomato into ½-inch thick slices, brush lightly with olive oil and desired seasonings, and place on the grill. Flip your Tomato slices once you start to see grill marks – as soon as they show up on both sides, your Tomato slices have been grilled to perfection!
Grilled Zucchini Slices
Grilled zucchini is a classic summer favorite. Slice your fresh zucchini lengthwise into uniform slices (about ¼-inch thick). Then brush the zucchini with olive oil and seasoning, or drizzle with soy sauce, and place the zucchini slices on your grill. Flip your zucchini slices over when grill marks appear on the bottom side. Your zucchini is done when it is tender and grill marks appear on both sides. Grilled zucchini is the perfect side dish to add to your next barbecue spread.
A meaty vegetable, mushrooms are a robust superfood that tenderize beautifully on the barbecue. We would recommend grilling mushrooms whole, and if you are grilling smaller mushrooms, thread a damp kebab stick or skewer through each mushroom so they don’t fall between your barbecue grills. Grilled mushrooms are enjoyed best brushed with melted butter and your desired seasoning. Enjoy once tender chopped and tossed in a salad, as a flavor-rich side dish, or to put the finishing touch on your burger.
Grilled Fennel Bulb
When this bulbous veggie is grilled on the barbecue, it takes on a surprisingly sweet flavor that everyone will enjoy! When preparing to grill your fennel, simply cut off the stalks and the feathery fronds so you are only cutting the bulb. Cut a thin slice off the bottom of the bulb so it stands upright without rolling around, then slice the bulb lengthwise into ½-inch thick slices. Brush each slice with olive oil and desired seasonings and grill each side until lightly charred. Enjoy grilled fennel as a tender, flavor-rich side dish.
Grilled Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are a fiber-filled veggie with a unique flavor that is elevated when tossed on the grill. To prep your sweet potatoes for the barbecue, slice them crosswise into ½-inch thick slices. Toss the sweet potato slices in a bowl with olive oil and desired seasoning, place on the grill, and cook until grill marks appear. Don’t forget to flip your sweet potato slices so both sides can tenderize. Enjoy grilled sweet potatoes as a side dish or sliced up in salads.
Grilled Asparagus Spears
With their thick walls and bushy tips, asparagus spears are one of the best veggies for grilling. Brush the spears with olive oil and seasoning, or drizzle with soy sauce, and place horizontally on your grill to avoid any spears falling through the barbecue grills. When the spears are tender, and the tips are crispy, your asparagus is ready to eat! Grilled asparagus spears are best enjoyed as a side dish or chopped and mixed into a salad.
Grilled Cauliflower Steaks
First riced cauliflower, then cauliflower pizza crust, now grilled cauliflower steaks! Grilling a cauliflower steak tenderizes this versatile veggie to the point of caramelization and enhancing its natural sweetness.
To prepare your steaks, remove the outer leaves from the cauliflower head. Cut off the bottom stem so that you create a flat base and can stand the cauliflower up on a cutting board. While resting the cauliflower on the stem, use a large knife to trim the sides, then cut the remaining head into 2-3 steaks. Once you have your steaks, brush each side with your mix of olive oil and desired seasonings and place on the grill. Flip your steaks to ensure each side gets tender and caramelized! Enjoy cauliflower steaks as a light meal or a hearty side dish.
Grilled Corn on the Cob
Hands down, corn on the cob prepared on the barbecue epitomizes summer grilling fare. When grilling corn on the cob, you need to decide whether to shuck your cobs partially or fully. If shucking partially, get rid of as many silks as you can, pull the corn husks back to lather on your butter and seasoning, and fold the husks back up. The corn husks act as a protection for the kernels, but also helps to steam them while grilling to make your corn on the cob even more tender. Corn on the cob is the perfect addition to any summer meal.
Grilled Bok Choy Stalks
This meaty cabbage has a slightly sweet flavor that is elevated when cooked on the grill. To prepare, slice off the bottom inch of the bok choy, remove and clean the stalks, and brush with melted butter and your desired seasoning. Grill your bok choy stalks on both sides until the stalks are tender and the leaves have turned crispy! This tasty veggie is best served as a side dish at your next family barbecue.
Sweet Surprises: Grilled Fruits
While grilled veggies are mouthwatering and easy to prepare, have you ever thought about grilling your favorite fruits? You will be pleasantly surprised by how these three grilled fruit options take on an entirely new flavor profile when cooked on the barbecue!
Yes, strawberries can get even more sweet and delicious. To grill strawberries, simply take a damp wooden skewer and pierce your strawberries from stem to tip until the skewer is full, then brush with melted butter and honey or maple syrup. Grill your strawberries until they are slightly charred, let cool, and serve! Grilled strawberries are a tasty addition when diced and tossed in a light salad or as a topping for ice cream.
Grilled Pineapple Rings
A sweet, fleshy fruit that was made for the grill! When barbecuing pineapple rings, cut your whole peeled pineapple into slices and use a small knife or small round cookie cutter to cut the core out of the center of each slice. Brush both sides of the pineapple rings with olive oil, honey, or brown sugar and grill to charred perfection! Grilled pineapple is incredibly versatile – it can be enjoyed chopped up in a salsa, eaten as a sweet dessert with ice cream, or nestled on top of a juicy burger patty!
This beloved superfood gets even creamier when grilled on the barbecue. To prepare an avocado for the grill, begin by slicing the fruit in half lengthwise and removing the pit. Then brush on a light layer of lemon or lime juice and olive oil to the inside of the fruit. Place on the barbecue cut side down and let your avocado cook until grill marks appear. Grilled avocado tastes delicious on its own, cut up in a salad, mashed into a smoky guacamole, or eaten as an appetizer topped with salsa or corn salad.
Plant-based Burger Options: Black Bean Burgers
Don’t stop at grilled veggies – go entirely meatless at your next backyard barbecue and grill up some delicious and nutritious Black Bean Burgers.
Black beans are a nutrient-dense food that are perfect for creating homemade burger patties. High in protein and fiber, black beans have a lower fat content than traditional burger meats like beef or turkey, but they are just as filling and have a delicious flavor the whole family will enjoy.
This Southwest Black Bean Burger recipe, courtesy of our friends at Produce for Kids, also contains a helping of Bell Peppers, adding even more nutrition and fresh flavor to this meatless dish!
Here are the ingredients to add to your shopping list to make these health-conscious burgers:
- 1 Nature Fresh Farms Red Bell Pepper
- 1 Nature Fresh Farms Tomato-on-the-Vine
- 1 small sweet onion
- 1 can (15 oz.) low-sodium black beans, drained, rinsed
- 1 large egg
- Whole wheat breadcrumbs
- Chili powder
- Garlic powder
- Salt and pepper
- Olive oil
- 4 whole wheat hamburger buns
- 1 avocado
Plan the Ultimate Backyard Barbecue
There is more to a barbecue than just cooking up some grilled veggies and burgers – you also need to consider condiments, drink options, and what you will need for food prep. To plan a memorable backyard barbecue this summer, check out our ultimate guide for planning and hosting the best summer barbecue complete with a free downloadable barbecue checklist, meal planner, and recipe inspiration.
Grilling season has arrived! To get the most out of your backyard barbecues, make sure you add grilled veggies and meatless burger options to your menu!