Essential Tips for Grilling Fall Veggies
Don’t put away the grill just yet! Autumn and early winter are actually great seasons for barbecuing: The cooler weather makes the experience of cooking over a live fire cozy and pleasant, and seasonal produce is just as tasty grilled up as their summertime counterparts.
Tie on your apron, warm up a mug of cider, and head outside for a few more meals from the grill. Here are a few tips to make the most of fall grilling:
Root veggies, like sweet potatoes, carrots and turnips, are widely available throughout the autumn and winter. The smokiness from the grill pairs well with these veggies’ earthy sweetness, and, similar to roasting, a nice char and caramelization from the flames ramps up their flavors.
Tips for grilling root veggies:
- Slice thicker veggies, like rutabaga, turnips, and sweet potatoes into long strips to speed up the cooking time. Even when sliced, these starchy vegetables may take awhile to cook all the way through. Allow at least 20 minutes for them to grill over high heat.
- Slender veggies, like carrots and parsnips, can be grilled whole.
- Brush the veggies with olive oil and sprinkle with salt before grilling.
- Serve drizzled with a bright, creamy dip or dressing, like Asiago peppercorn or plant-based garlic and herb and a shower of fresh herbs.
When grilled, Brussels sprouts take on a wonderfully sweet, crunchy, addictive quality, reminiscent of an appetizer at your favorite pub.
Tips for grilling Brussels sprouts:
- Cut the stem off each sprout and then slice each one in half, long ways.
- Before grilling, dress the sprouts in a neutral oil, like safflower oil, and a bit of salt.
- Put down a layer of aluminum foil over the grates of the grill so that none of the sprouts fall through. You can also thread them onto grilling skewers.
- Grill over high heat for about 10 minutes, turning them occasionally.
Brussels sprouts love blue cheese, so, once finished on the grill but still warm, toss them with a chunky blue cheese dressing, a spritz of lemon juice, and some bacon crumbles.
Grilling whole leaves of kale turns them crispy and crunchy — a kid-friendly way to get some greens on the table.
Tips for grilling kale:
- Lacinato, sometimes called dinosaur kale or Tuscan kale, is an ideal choice for grilling. Its broad, flat, sturdy leaves can take the heat.
- Always toss kale in olive oil and salt before grilling.
- Kale only needs medium heat on the grill. Otherwise, it might get too singed.
- Grill the kale for just 2 to 3 minutes per side to avoid burning it.
- Serve the kale chips with spicy avocado ranch dip at your next taco night, in place of tortilla chips and guacamole.
Nothing says “autumn” like a butternut squash or a pumpkin! Grilling brings a whole new dimension to this familiar flavor profile: smoky, sweet, and tender.
Tips for grilling squash:
- Like root veggies, cut squash into long, thin strips for the quickest and most even cooking.
- Dig into the spice rack for allspice, cinnamon, and clove. These classic flavors pair well with squash in sweet and savory applications.
- Toss the squash liberally with olive oil and spices before grilling. The dense flesh needs plenty of oil to keep from sticking to the grill as it cooks.
- Grill the strips of squash for about 5 minutes on each side.
- Serve the grilled squash atop a hearty grain dish, like this wheat berry salad (sub the squash for cauliflower) dressed with a simple apple cider vinaigrette.