June 17th is “National Eat Your Vegetables” Day

Roast them, caramelize them, or munch them raw, vegetables are colorful, flavorful, and full of health-boosting vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. At this time of year, grilling veggies is most popular. So, here’s a quick tip: If you marinate vegetables, do so AFTER they are roasted to absorb more flavor. Thread raw zucchini, bell peppers, and sweet onion chunks onto warm water-soaked bamboo skewers… with or without meat, fish, seafood, or poultry.

Yummmm… add fresh mushrooms to the mix. Roast fresh corn and get a good char.

Some veggies can be boiled before roasting or grilling. For example, boil whole artichokes for 12-15 minutes. Drain and quarter them before placing cut-sides down on the grill for 5 minutes. For carrots and Brussels sprouts, boil 4 minutes before grilling for 4 minutes.

More tips: Most vegetables can go straight onto the grill or into the roasting pan. Use a mandolin to easily get an even slice thickness (about 1/3 – ½ “). Place crosswise on the grill to prevent slices from falling through the grates. Simply grill or roast at 350-450°F. A closed grill cover creates the roasting experience.

Before grilling, think Super Simple. Drizzle some olive oil over the veggies. Toss and season with kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper. Some cook more quickly than others. You do not want mushy veggies; they are best with a little body or crunch to go with those delectable char markings. Here’s a quick grill guide. (Corn I usually turn a few times; for everything else, just turn once halfway through the cooking time.)

15 minutes     Corn (in its husks)

8 minutes       Bell pepper halves, portobello mushroom caps, onion slices, broccoli, cauliflower

6 minutes       Thick asparagus spears, eggplant slices, tomato halves, zucchini & yellow summer squash slices, vertically halved baby bok choy

5 minutes       Artichoke quarters (after boiling them whole for 12-15 minutes)

4 minutes       Carrots & Brussels sprouts (after boiling them for 4 minutes)

3 minutes       green onions

Serve them up… on their own or as a side dish with a favorite protein. Serve them as they are, or sprinkled with shredded Parmesan cheese. Or cut the grilled veggies bite-sized and add them to a baby spinach salad. Or load them into a pita pocket bread. Fill an omelet. Or chill your grilled slices and serve them up for lunch… cool and refreshing on their own or piled into make-your-own sandwiches. Consider drizzle options such as ranch, Parmesan peppercorn, or Italian dressing, garlic aioli, or sweet Thai chili. Today and every day… Grill on!

About Cathy Burnham Martin

Author of 20+ books, and counting! A professional voice-over artist, dedicated foodie, and lifelong corporate communications geek, Cathy Burnham Martin has enjoyed a highly eclectic career, ranging from the arts and journalism to finance, telecommunications, and publishing. Along with her husband, Ron Martin, she has passions for entertaining, gardening, volunteering, active and visual arts, GREAT food, and traveling. Cathy often says, "I believe that we all should live with as much contagious enthusiasm as possible... Whether we're with friends or family, taking people along for the ride is more than half the fun."
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