If you’ve relegated grilled vegetables to side dishes instead of the stars of your plate, it’s time to reconsider. Not only are grilled vegetables exceptionally delicious, they’re usually the easiest and least fussy things you can make on the grill. Take zucchini for example — all you have to do is cut it lengthwise into planks, toss it with olive oil and salt, and cook it on the grill for six to eight minutes and you have one of the best ways to eat summer squash. This type of cooking is especially appealing on a busy weeknight when you need to get dinner on the table in less than 20 minutes before your family gets hangry.
One can not subsist on grilled vegetables alone, however. To make your meal more complete we recommend mix-and-matching your veggies with a make-ahead side dish and sauce. The side dish will make the meal more substantial and the sauce will help tie the meal together. It’s simple math: Grilled Veggies + Side + Sauce. Got it? Here, we’ll walk you through some suggestions and recipe ideas.
Choose Your Grilled Vegetable
Summer is the absolute best time to eat more vegetables because so many things are in season. A quick trip to the grocery store or farmers market can provide a wealth of veggies in peak condition. In order to make vegetables the star of your menu, all you have to do is decide what looks best or is most appealing.
Above, you can see a list of common vegetables for grilling alongside how to prepare them, cook them, and even smart serving suggestions. As you’ll notice, most of the vegetables require minimal prep before adding them to the grill, and the cook time is relatively short. Grilled vegetables also keep pretty well in the fridge, so you could cook them a couple days ahead of time for an even faster weeknight dinner.
Choose Your Side
Once you’ve figured out your grilled vegetable, it’s time to pick your side dish. Choose a simple, but flavorful rice dish like toasted coconut-green onion jasmine rice or spiced basmati rice pilaf. Or go with a heartier make-ahead option like polenta with Parmesan or mashed potatoes. Or you could go all in on vegetables and make a summer salad with tomatoes and peaches or keep the grill on and make this fire-roasted corn salad. The key here is to not make anything too complicated, or at the very least choose something you can make ahead of time. Remember: the point is that this is supposed to be easy.
Choose Your Sauce
A great sauce is the difference between a bunch of random ingredients on your plate and a meal. Most sauces are also so weeknight-friendly because they can be made ahead of time. You could pair grilled asparagus with a quick blender Hollandaise, or zucchini with a cool tzatziki. For more ideas check out this sauce-y roundup.