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How Do I Choose the Best Grilled Vegetables Marinade?

Emily Daw
Emily Daw

While grilling is usually associated with heavy red meats like beef, it is also possible to please the vegetarians, vegans and dieters at your next barbeque with grilled vegetables. When properly marinaded, vegetables can be as flavorful as the meat that usually sits at the center of the table. You should choose a grilled vegetables marinade that brings out the vegetables' natural delicate flavors and that complements the rest of your meal. This makes vegetables taste anything but boring.

The particular vegetables you choose to grill will affect which marinade is best. Popular grill choices include summer squash, zucchini, onions and bell peppers, but you might also go for eggplant, tomatoes, asparagus, cauliflower, carrots or anything else that is in season and suits your taste. A good balance of stronger and milder flavors will make for the best dish. The stronger flavors of onions and tomatoes will seep into the other vegetables, so you should be careful to choose a grilled vegetables marinade that complements, rather than clashes, with these flavors.

Grilled zucchini.
Grilled zucchini.

Since vegetables tend to have less obtrusive tastes and aromas than meat, you should choose a marinade that brings out their natural flavors, instead of overwhelming them. You would not, for instance, want to marinade vegetables in straight barbeque sauce like you might do with chicken. Olive oil or vinegar forms the base of some types of grilled vegetables marinade and can be seasoned with a variety of spices and herbs appropriate for vegetables. Ingredients such as kosher salt and coarse ground pepper enhance the natural flavors of vegetables. Bolder choices such as spicy or sweet and sour Asian-style marinades may also be appropriate, if they not too strong.


Lastly, consider the entire context of the meal and how large a role you want the grilled vegetables marinade to play in it. For instance, if you expect meat to be the centerpiece of the meal, you may want to choose a milder marinade that does not compete with it. You should also avoid clashing styles of food: If the main theme of the meal is Mexican, you might not want a Chinese-style grilled vegetables marinade.

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    • Grilled zucchini.
      Grilled zucchini.
    • Vegetables.
      By: Ovidiu Iordachi
    • Before griling eggplant, sprinkle kosher salt on the eggplant to draw out moisture and reduce bitterness.
      By: natashamam35
      Before griling eggplant, sprinkle kosher salt on the eggplant to draw out moisture and reduce bitterness.