Nothing quite compares to foods cooked on the grill. The smoky, charred flavor of grilling adds pizzazz to just about any food — from basic burgers to gourmet pizzas, veggies and even desserts. When you were a kid, your parents probably told you many times to eat your greens. But have you ever tried grilling vegetables? Take your salads and side dishes up a notch and add some wow factor with this simple idea. Grilled greens are easy and incredibly delicious.
When you think of grilling, meats like steak, hot dogs and hamburgers may be the first thing that comes to mind. But grilling enhances more than meat. Grilling the same old meat products can get tired, and there are so many delicious vegetable dishes to try that become even more flavorful on the grill.
One of the best reasons to grill vegetables is that they often cook much faster than meat items, so you won’t have to spend all day tending to the grill. With veggies, there’s also no risk of getting sick from undercooked foods like there is with meats, and no need to use thermometers to check for doneness. With grilled veggie and greens recipes, your vegan and vegetarian friends will be thrilled to have something interesting to eat, and all your guests will be impressed with your new dishes.
Roasted vegetables, whether as a side dish or a main, are delicious on the grill. There’s no shortage of vegetables for the BBQ that make tasty and creative meals. Try grilling whole ears of corn, potatoes, mushrooms, peppers, eggplant and more. Make kabobs of chunky sliced veggies, or use a grill basket for smaller or thinner vegetables like green beans. You can also use the grill to whip up non-meat main dishes like pizza and quesadillas, as well as delicious meat substitutes like veggie burgers. Get creative with fresh fruits, too, like grilled peaches, plums or pineapple. They make a great dinner topping, or a sweet and smoky dessert.
And for an exciting twist on salads and greens, try grilling wedges of romaine, endive or butter lettuce. Chop it up after grilling, or leave it whole for a more unique presentation. Either way, you can infuse your salads with the flavor of the grill. You can also grill smaller, more delicate leafy greens like spinach and baby kale — just use a grill basket to keep the leaves from falling through the grates.
If you’ve never tried grilling your greens before, the idea may sound a little strange. However, grilling leafy greens imparts a smoky, nutty flavor that will add a unique twist to your salads or side dishes and make them even more delicious.
Follow these steps on how to grill greens like romaine, butter lettuce, endive, radicchio and other head lettuces.
1. Prep the lettuce: Starting with whole heads of greens, cut the head into quarter wedges, leaving the core alone. This method keeps the wedge intact during grilling, making the process easier. Depending on the size of the head of greens, you can also opt to grill in halves or even leave them whole.
2. Brush with oil and season: Use a brush to spread oil on both cut sides of the wedges. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper, or your favorite seasoning blend.
3. Prep the grill: Before you start grilling your greens, get your grill up to medium-high heat. Make sure your grates are clean, and brush them with a little extra oil too. The grill needs to be hot for the greens to cook correctly.
4. Grill those greens: Place the wedges right on the grill, cut side down. When the lettuce looks slightly wilted and brown, flip the wedge over to the other side. The lettuces should cook very quickly, so keep an eye on them. Remove from the grill, sprinkle with additional seasoning if desired, and serve right away.
Wedges of head lettuces make a stunning presentation when served whole on the plate. Toss a few fresh cherry tomatoes or other toppings on the side and drizzle a balsamic glaze or favorite dressing right on top. You’ll want to make this salad again and again! Alternately, after grilling the lettuce wedges, you can chop them as usual and add them to a tossed salad. You’ll still have the delicious grilled flavor in a quick and easy serving style — best for buffets or larger parties.
Sturdy, large leafy greens like kale or chard can go directly on the grill as-is. Brush oil on both sides and grill the same as for the wedges. These will cook quickly — you’ll only need about one to two minutes on each side. Grilling kale gives it a unique crispy texture, much like when making kale chips.
To grill smaller, tender leaves, like spinach and baby kale, use a grill basket, or cover the grates with a piece of foil. Spray or brush the foil with some cooking oil, then add your spinach leaves. Spray a little more oil on top and add salt or favorite seasonings. Toss to coat, and cook the spinach on top of the foil, or fold over the foil to make a pouch for moist spinach. Grill until wilted — about 10 minutes — then top with seasonings and sesame seeds for a delicious and healthy side dish.
If you’re ready to try grilling up some leafy greens and other vegetables, you and your guests will soon be enjoying delicious and healthy meals. Grilling vegetables isn’t a challenge if you know a few straightforward do’s and don’ts. Be sure you follow these tips for the best grilled veggies.
Follow these easy tips, and you’ll soon be feasting on delicious grilled veggies and greens.
With all of these great grilling tips under your belt, you’re ready to try your hand at grilling veggies and greens. While many vegetables are delicious on their own, with oil, salt and pepper, there are a lot of ways to take your veggies to the next level with delicious recipes. A quick search online yields hundreds of exciting ideas. Here are just a few great ideas to try.
These ideas are only a taste of the many, many grilled veggie recipes to try. We hope these recipes inspire you to try grilled vegetables and greens, and get creative with your favorites. Which one will you try first?
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