Many a vegetable has met its sad, sorry, “out of sight, out of mind” fate in my crisper drawer.
My intentions for them were good, but my laziness? It’s strong.
So, I’ve started grilling mass quantities of vegetables every few days and keeping them in the fridge, so they’re always ready to go. Making an omelet? Why not throw in some grilled onions, peppers and mushrooms. Need a quick lunch? How about some grilled vegetables and tzatziki in a pita? Add them to fajitas or pasta. Or, warm up the vegetables, and add some crumbled goat cheese for a big grilled vegetable salad.
It’s borderline luxurious.
Start by cutting the vegetables (whatever’s in the fridge) into 1/2-inch-thick slices and tossing them into a resealable freezer bag. Then, make a quick balsamic vinaigrette with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic and whatever herbs are handy. Fresh herbs are great, but there’s no shame in using a big pinch of dried oregano. Pour half of the vinaigrette into the bag to marinate the vegetables, and save the other half to use as a dressing later.
A lot of people grill vegetables by skewering different ones together into long kebabs, but since bell peppers, squash, onions, etc. have different cooking times, you wind up with mushy mushrooms and squash that’s still crunchy in the center. It’s easier to keep things consistent by grilling the vegetables in batches, starting with the bell peppers, since they take the longest, and ending with the tomatoes.
Grilling changes the flavor of each vegetable – intensifying some, bringing out the sweetness in others – so having the balsamic vinaigrette in the mix helps to marry all of those new flavors and create an herb-infused mountain of vegetables that make sense together.
You’ll be looking for excuses to eat more of them. More vegetables.
When you find a way to make laziness work for you, it’s a rare and wonderful thing.
Grilled Vegetables with Balsamic Vinaigrette
Rebecca Crump (EzraPoundCake.com)
Serves 4 to 6
- 2 bell peppers (any color), seeded and quartered
- 2 medium zucchini, cut lengthwise into 1/2-inch-thick slices
- 2 medium yellow squash, cut lengthwise into 1/2-inch-thick slices
- 2 big handfuls of mushrooms (or 1-2 portobello mushrooms, sliced)
- 1 Vidalia or red onion, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
- 2 Roma tomatoes, sliced crosswise for grill pan or lengthwise for regular grill
- 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh herbs (basil, oregano and/or rosemary) or 1/2 tablespoon dried herbs
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- To Make the Balsamic Vinaigrette: In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar, garlic, herbs, salt and pepper. Set aside.
- Place your vegetables into a large resealable plastic bag. Pour half of the vinaigrette inside the bag, and seal. Turn the bag so that the vinaigrette coats the vegetables. Let it sit for at least 1 hour.
- Place a grill pan over medium heat, or bring your grill to medium-high heat.
- Pour the vegetables out onto a large baking sheet and roughly group like vegetables together. Sprinkle all of the vegetables with salt and pepper.
- Working in batches, grill the vegetables: about 8 minutes for the bell peppers, 5 to 6 minutes for the zucchini and squash, 4 minutes for the mushrooms and onion, and 1 to 2 minutes for the tomatoes. Flip each vegetable halfway through its cooking time.
- Transfer the vegetables to a large platter. Serve with the remaining vinaigrette.