Vegetable Side Dishes

Grilled Summer Veggies I

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Grilled Summer Veggies

One thing that has been a part of my life as long as I can remember is grilling. We started off with a round portable lightweight charcoal barbecue at home, then advanced to a set of permanent square grills like they had in public parks back then. When gas barbecues came in, Dad moved on to those and grilling for our large family of ten became a lot easier. Many summer evening meals were done on the grill, or at least the protein portion of the meal. We grilled a few foods other than meat but not a lot. Mind, you , there wasn’t much room left for other things by the time the meat was laid out for all of us!

We have personally been pretty much grilling over gas for all of our married life together, until one momentous and pivotal day. We had just got a new dog earlier that summer and she was still in training as to property boundaries. I had her tied to the barbecue when she saw a horse go by. She took off like a shot, only to be yanked to an abrupt halt when the slack in the rope went taut. The barbecue made a valiant effort to keep up to our pet, but fell flat on its face. We have tinkered with it, but ever since then, it’s been cantankerous and volatile, and several weeks ago, sighed its last ashen breath.  I had been noticing with interest that charcoal grills are coming back in vogue and in my opinion you simply can’t beat the flavour of charcoal. So when a sweet little Weber grill popped up on sale, I jumped on it. And boy, oh boy, have I been having fun with it.

Last week I grilled smoked pork chops and brushed them simply with a maple ancho sauce that I had here. It’s hitting the peak of fresh veggie season locally and it’s so handy to just throw a whole bunch of them together on a cooking sheet and roast them or stir-fry or grill them. They complement nearly every meat and are easy to do. If you have vegetables that require different cooking times, just add them according to the length of time needed. In this mixture I started with new potatoes, then added cipollini onions, fresh garlic, red peppers, asparagus, and yellow zucchini. You can use whatever you have on hand.

Drizzle olive oil and your favourite seasonings over the works and stir them all together. It’s critical not to overcook things like peppers, zucchini, and asparagus. You want them tendercrisp, with a few blackened edges and grill marks. I have a perforated pan that I use for this, but you could use an old skillet or cast iron pan instead if you have one. If you like a hint of sweetness, drizzle a bit of maple syrup or balsamic vinegar over everything to serve.

Local veggies abound at markets and roadside stands these days. Or perhaps you have a garden and grow them yourself! It is a time of year in which I give thanks to our Maker for the good food we are blessed with and take for granted. 

Written by yours truly and sponsored by Martin’s Family Fruit Farm.

Grilled Summer Veggies



  • new little potatoes, washed and cut in halfGrilled Summer Veggies
  • small or large sweet onions and/or shallots
  • fresh garlic, peeled and separated into cloves 
  • coloured peppers, cut in strips
  • asparagus or green beans, cut in 2 inch pieces
  • zucchini squash, cut 1/2 inch thick
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • seasonings (Italian, fresh herbs, Tuscan, Greek, whatever you like)
  • maple syrup or balsamic vinegar (plain or flavoured)


Fire up the grill and let it heat to at least 400°F. Use as many vegetables as you think you need. I generally figure two small potatoes per person. If you are THAT person who loves potatoes, toss in another few. Allow about 1 – 1 1/2 cups of vegetable mixture per adult, depending on how much they eat and whether you’re serving any other sides with the meal. If the onions are small leave them whole or cut them in half. Otherwise cut them in large chunks or wedges. The key with grilling veggies is not to cut them too small. It helps greatly in not overcooking them. 

Put the potatoes into a bowl and drizzle lightly with oil just until they are coated. Pour them into the grill pan. Begin grilling them with the lid down for about 10 minutes or until they start to get brown edges and are beginning to soften. Meanwhile, stir all the other vegetables into the same bowl and add more oil and season to taste. Add them to the potatoes in the pan and stir. Cover BBQ and grill again, checking and stirring periodically. If it looks dry, drizzle a little more oil over it. When the potatoes test done, remove from the heat and put into serving dish. Drizzle your syrup or balsamic lightly over the vegetable blend. Test for salt and pepper and serve alone or alongside a grilled meat. Pork chops and chicken breasts take about the same amount of time as the potatoes. Alternatively, you could slice some chicken breasts, steaks, sausage or pork chops and cook them along with the veggies for a one-pot meal. Enjoy the evening!