Vegetarian Barbecue

We have two grills at home. One for veggies, and one for meat. Now, I’m always disappointed when I go to a barbecue and there is no veggie food, or it’s cooked on the same grill as the meat, or it’s all those fake-meat burgers. So, we have two grills, and lots of vegetables.

We had a grill-out on the weekend to celebrate our successful defenses (the OH and I are both going to be PhDs now!) Here’s what I grilled. These work best if you have a grill tray, so the vegetables don’t fall through the grill.

Grilled eggplant: This is basically the same recipe as Baigun Bhaja, except grilled. You take one of those big round eggplants, the kind you make bharta with. Cut it into slices about 1/4″ thick. Make a mix of oil, turmeric, and cayenne (lal mirch). Paint it onto the eggplant slices with a basting brush. Throw on hot grill and close the grill. You might need to baste it again on the grill so it doesn’t stick. Turn it over after five minutes. It’s done when it goes soft and turns a pale brown. It’s also great as a “burger”.

Grilled Asparagus: Wash the asparagus. Trim by holding the ends and bending gently in the middle. It will snap at the point of tenderness. Discard the ends, it’s the tips you want. Pat dry. Place on a grill tray, or cross-wise on the grill so they don’t fall through. Spray with oil (if you’re using a tray) or baste with some oil, if you’re not. Cover and cook for five minutes, turning occasionally. They are done when they are bright green and “sweating” just a little. They should still be crunchy. Season with salt and lemon pepper for a lovely flavor.

Grilled vegetable skewers: Cut red onions, bell peppers, zucchini, and yellow squash into 1″ pieces. Soak some bamboo skewers in cold water for a couple of minutes. Add a couple of pieces of each vegetable to the skewers. Place on the hot grill. Cover. Turn a couple of times while cooking. Cook for ten minutes, or until the vegetables shrivel up ever so slightly and char on the edges. Season with salt and whatever spices you like.

Grilled corn: There are two ways to grill corn. If you are using dehusked corn, rub it with butter and wrap in foil. Place on the hot grill, cover and cook for about twenty minutes, turning a couple of times in the middle.

If you are using corn with the husk, it will take a little longer. Peel the husk down almost to the end, but do not take it off. Remove the silks (the threads on the corn). Pull the husks back up. Damp the husks slightly, and place on the grill. Close the grill and cook for twenty minutes, turning a couple of times as it cooks. Remove the husks (they will be hot!), rub with butter and salt, and eat. You can also try rubbing it with lemon and salt or kala namak (rock salt).

Grilled paneer: You could make paneer tikki. Or, you could just cut some paneer into 1″ cubes and marinate it. Place two tbsp Kitchen King in a large Ziploc bag. Add 1/2 cup water and mix well. Add the paneer and coat well with the mixture. Place in fridge for four hours. Oil the vegetable grill tray, and place the paneer on it. Cook for five to seven minutes, turning once in the middle.

Roasted garlic: Take two or three whole garlic heads (the entire thing, not just a couple of cloves). Now you can go two ways. Turn an oven to 400 F, wrap the garlic in two layers of foil, and bake for twenty minutes. OR, wrap in two layers of foil and place on a hot grill for twenty minutes or until soft. If you use the oven, about ten minutes into the garlic roast, butter some pieces of french bread and wrap in foil and bake in the oven until the garlic is done.

Let the garlic cool, then squeeze it. The garlic will come out, leaving the skins in your hand. Mash a little more, then spread on the french bread. Add a little salt if you like.

Other grilled vegetables: In general, you can’t go too far wrong if you cut the veggies up, spray them with oil, season with salt and pepper, wrap in foil, and cook on the grill. How long they will take to cook depends on the vegetables.

Have fun grilling, and have a great summer!

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