Fruits and vegetables are a lot less expensive compared to meat, so you can save money if you choose to cook fresh produce. Also, fresh produce are a healthier alternative to usual grilled meat dishes so it is ideal to take a break from cooking beef or pork from time to time. The best part of all is that fruits and vegetables cook a lot more quickly than meat and you can usually tell when they’re ready just by looking at them – perfect for grilling beginners!
Add color to your grilled dish recipes with these expert tips and techniques on how to grill fruits and vegetables:
1. Prepare fruits and vegetables for grilling
Whether you’re cooking meat or fresh produce, it is important that you have your food prepared into workable pieces for the grill. For example, you can cut tomatoes in half and bell peppers into quarters for a quicker cooking time and for the food to cook evenly. Some vegetables like asparagus and scallions can be cooked on the grill whole.
2. Pre-cook harder vegetables
Different types of produce require different cooking times. Softer vegetables cook quicker while harder ones require more time. One helpful technique you can follow when grilling firmer vegetables such as carrots, potatoes and yams is to pre-cook them. Bring them to a boil in a pot before proceeding to grill. Carrots take up roughly 5 minutes to be ready while potatoes and yams take about 10 minutes.
3. Oil and Flavor them up
Fruits and vegetables dry out and stick to the grate very quickly once they hit the grill, so it is important that you brush or toss them in oil or marinade before grilling. If you’re going for classic grilled vegetables, brush the produce with olive oil before sprinkling with a little bit of salt and pepper. The oil will not only add moisture to your vegetables, but it will help the seasoning stick better as well. For extra flavor and moisture, you can opt to add a dressing or a sauce of your choice to the vegetables after they’re grilled.
4. Turn the food once
One of the biggest mistakes that first-time grillers make when grilling fruits and vegetables is flipping the food over and over which result to unevenly-cooked food. Depending on the hardness of the vegetable, most fresh produce cook generally between 4 to 10 minutes over medium heat. Flip just once until the food is tender and grill marks appear.
5. Stay close to the grill
As mentioned, fruits and vegetables cook a lot quicker compared to other types of food that’s why it is crucial that stay close to the grill when you’re cooking fresh produce. If you’re a little busy, you can opt to place your vegetables in oil packets and steam them rather than cooking them directly on the grill.
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