Vegetables – grilled or roasted – are a healthy, tasty meal

No matter how you enjoy them, vegetables are a colorful, healthy and tasty treasure. For a slightly sweet, smoky flavor, how about grilling or roasting them?

“Eat your vegetables” has long been the mantra of parents and nutrition educators alike! They know that vegetables are beneficial to our bodies. The variety of vitamins and minerals in veggies:

  • helps heal wounds
  • keeps our teeth and gums healthy
  • keeps our eyes and skin looking good
  • prevents infection
  • prevents against some birth defects
  • helps maintain healthy blood pressure
  • lowers cholesterol and risk of heart disease, diabetes and other chronic conditions
  • aids in digestion
  • fills us up with fewer calories

Are you looking for a delicious way to add vegetable variety to your meals? Try oven roasting or grilling vegetables for a taste your family will enjoy. Good choices for oven roasting include zucchini and other summer squash varieties, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, cauliflower, sweet potato slices or strips and almost any color pepper. But try other vegetables, as well!

To roast in the oven:

  1. Wash and cut veggies into uniform pieces.
  2. Toss with a little bit of oil (olive oil is good) and a little salt, if you wish.
    You can also add pepper, and herbs and spices like basil, rosemary or Italian seasoning.
  3. Place on a greased shallow pan with short sides (or on a broiler pan), in a single layer.
  4. Roast in pre-heated 400°F oven for 20-30 minutes, stirring after every 10 minutes. You may need to add extra time if they are cut into large pieces.
  5. Vegetables are done when they are lightly browned on the edges; they develop more flavor if you let them brown throughout.

Tip: Don’t pack the vegetables too closely in your pan, or they will steam rather than roast!

You can cook vegetables directly on an outdoor grill, as well. Most vegetables can be cooked on the grill using one of these methods, including eggplant, tomatoes, corn on the cob, mushrooms, zucchini and other summer squash.

After you’ve washed the veggies, cut large ones in half or into sections. If grilling corn, remove silk “threads” but leave the husks on, and soak in water for one hour before grilling.

To grill veggies:

  • You can marinate vegetables other than corn for 15 minutes before grilling by rubbing them with a mixture of two parts oil, one part lemon juice, a crushed garlic clove and other herbs or spices as you wish. You can also just brush or spray them lightly with oil.
  • Thread them on metal or water-soaked wooden skewers, inside an aluminum pouch, in a vegetable basket or on a perforated grill tray.
  • Cook veggies on a medium-hot grill, starting with denser ones like potatoes, cauliflower or peppers. They take longer than moisture-filled ones, like tomatoes or zucchini. Turn them often, brushing on more marinade as needed.
  • They are done when they can be easily pierced with a fork, but additional time creates a darker appearance and more intense flavor.

For more information on eating a balanced diet, instilling good eating habits in your children, or preventing or managing chronic diseases, contact a Michigan State University Extension educator in your area.

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