I am one of those people who thinks everything tastes better when it’s cooked over open flames.
Keep in mind that I am also one of those people who shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near fire, as I am known for forgetting cookies are in the oven, the flame’s under the kettle, or the handle on the grill is white-hot, hence any outdoor cooking I am involved with absolutely, definitely requires assistance.
In typical long-weekend-for-Americans fashion, my family will have a cookout for Labor Day this year.
The evening before, I like to mix a few marinades – one for the chicken, and one for the veggies. I set up my ingredients in the fridge, and let the chicken soak up the rosemary-infused, garlicky, lemony juices overnight.
In addition to the poultry this year, we’ll have zucchini and summer squash from the garden, garlic naan, a big salad, and whatever else I can use at the last minute. After all, when one’s charcoal-grilling opportunities are limited, she must make the most of the hot flames while she’s got them.
My mom can barbecue like a champ, even in 90-degree weather, so I know the chicken will be delicious. And these vegetables will make the perfect pairing.
This marinade with balsamic vinegar is based on a recipe originally from Emeril Lagasse, with a few tweaks. And trust me when I say it’s delicious on whatever summer produce you want to cook outside.
Whether you’ve got a fresh harvest from the veggie patch, an overflowing CSA box, or an early-morning haul from the farmers market, late summer’s where it’s at in terms of fresh produce.
In addition to the squash, here I’ve used a combination of eggplant, mushrooms, and bell peppers, with fresh basil. If the veggies and fresh herbs on offer in your neck of the woods differ from these, take advantage of what you have available, and make it your own!
At summer’s end, as we look forward to a few months of fall’s crisp afternoons and brisk night air, many of you will be packing up your outdoor appliances for the season. But believe me – sometimes it’s worth braving the cold to fire up those coals, and I’d say this marinade would make a great addition to a barbecue anytime.Print
Whenever you fire up the grill for your entree, be sure to make these grilled balsamic garlic mixed vegetables to go alongside it.
- 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 3 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 large eggplant, ends trimmed, sliced lengthwise into 1/3-inch-thick slices (about 10–12 oz)
- 1 pound yellow squash and zucchini, ends trimmed and sliced lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
- 1 pound white button mushrooms, cleaned with stems removed
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and halved
- Preheat grill.
- Whisk together oil, vinegar, basil, garlic, salt, and pepper in a mixing bowl.
- When the grill is hot, brush the sauce all over your veggies before placing them on the grill. Grill for about 10-15 minutes, until they begin to brown and are fully cooked, turning them occasionally. Each time you turn the vegetables, be sure to brush them with more of the sauce.
- Remove from the grill. Slice the bell pepper into strips. Place all of the vegetables on a platter and serve.
Adapted from Emeril Lagasse
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 15 minutes
- Category: Vegetables
- Method: Grill
- Cuisine: Side Dish
Keywords: balsamic vinegar, grill, garlic, basil, eggplant, pepper, squash
Cooking By the Numbers…
Step 1 – Chop Basil, Slice Vegetables, and Measure Remaining Ingredients
Chop enough fresh basil leaves until you have 3 ½ tablespoons total.
Cut the ends of the eggplant off, and slice lengthwise into 1/3-inch-thick slices.
Cut the ends off the squash and zucchini. Slice the vegetables lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices.
Slicing them the long way instead of into rounds makes it harder for them to slip through the grates. If you want to cook smaller veggies, feel free to use a grill pan or skewers. If using wooden skewers, soak them in water for 15-20 minutes before threading your veggies onto them.
Gently clean the mushrooms, and remove the stems.
Remove the stem and seeds from the bell pepper, and cut it in half.
Preheat your grill.
Step 2 – Make Sauce
Step 3 – Cook
Once the grill is hot, brush the sauce all over the vegetables on all sides.
Place them on the grill. Cook for 10-15 minutes, until they begin to brown and show grill marks. Turn them occasionally, brushing them with more of the sauce each time you do.
Remove vegetables. Place the bell pepper halves onto a cutting board and slice them into strips.
Place on a serving platter and serve immediately, alongside whatever entree you will be serving to your hungry guests.
Forget the Aluminum Foil
When it comes to grilling these vegetables, there’s no need to get any aluminum foil involved. To me, it takes away from the flavor of the grill. But there are a few ways to cook them:
You can place them directly on the grates after greasing them with cooking oil.
If you are worried about losing things through the grate, you can use a grill basket or pan.
A grill mat is another option that I like to use. It’s a thin mat that keeps everything from falling through the grates, but you still get that classic char and flavor through it.
Wood or metal skewers can also help to keep your precious veggies from falling through into the fire.
For more side dish recipes that you can prepare on the grill to make your barbecue complete, here are some tasty ones from Foodal:
- Veggie Salad with Tahini Dressing
- Cilantro Lime Corn
- Zucchini and White Bean Pasta Salad
- Elote Antojitos
What entree will you serve alongside these flavorful grilled vegetables? Tell us in the comments below, and be sure to rate the recipe after you’ve tried it, to let other readers know how much you enjoyed it!
Photos by Meghan Yager, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published on September 2, 2008. Last updated: September 20, 2022 at 11:51 am. With additional writing and editing by Meghan Yager and Allison Sidhu.
Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.
About Shanna Mallon
Shanna Mallon is a freelance writer who holds an MA in writing from DePaul University. Her work has been featured in a variety of media outlets, including The Kitchn, Better Homes & Gardens, Taste of Home, Houzz.com, Foodista, Entrepreneur, and Ragan PR. In 2014, she co-authored The Einkorn Cookbook with her husband, Tim. Today, you can find her digging into food topics and celebrating the everyday grace of eating on her blog, Go Eat Your Bread with Joy. Shanna lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with Tim and their two small kids.