Most things involving grilled vegetables piss me off 🍅🍆🥦🌽🌶🥕😡. Ok, that last emoji is a tad aggressive but it made me laugh. You’re trying to do yourself a favor, and you wind up with an underwhelming, bland AF, tasteless situation. It’s unsatisfying, which certainly won’t curb any other cravings that pop up. So let’s nail this, shall we? Grilled veggies are often deceiving since they look so beautiful. They are visually appealing, which is wonderful. Mother Nature knows her game. I love making a big, bountiful grilled veggie platter, incorporating different colors and shapes. But no one needs me to tell them how to make a run of the mill platter. I wanted to make a composed grilled vegetable salad. It’s a shame to jumble all these vegetables, that just took me quite some time to slice and grill. This was a bit of a pain but SO WORTH IT. Plus, it gave amazing leftovers to be served alongside a protein the next day, as well as the ingredients for a superb grilled veg sandwich.
The key here is to marinate everything in a homemade, easy vinaigrette to slightly soften the vegetables and infuse them with moisture and flavor. The dressing is the same for the salad; use three quarters as a marinade and the remaining quarter for the lettuce leaves which will be your serving base. Sooooo easy.
I grilled half the veggies and broiled half to keep from shooting myself. The fire department actually showed up since my smoke alarm went off🚒. I had to say to the chief of the fire department, "Um, this was an eggplant related occurrence 🍆”.
I grilled mostly what would give me those gorgeous black grill marks, like zucchini and eggplant. I broiled sliced heads of radicchio, asparagus, tomatoes, and onions. That’s all up to you and how you want to cook this all. No wrong answer. The broiling is fast though, which is nice. I also boiled some corn cobs, then shaved off the kernels and charred those in the broiler too. That pop of yellow looked wonderful🌽.
I needed two identical platters here, since there was too much of everything. No worries, they looked like one giant platter. I didn’t want to separate them, it was too impactful together. One platter is fine; just select a good variety of colors and sizes. Can be as little as three different vegetables for a smaller crowd or dinner for two. This was really filling. I also made a sandwich on whole grain bread with a couple of fresh basil leaves from my garden for a fresh kick. Using my garden is an utter joy. The recent rains have produced beautiful plants and herbs. I have so much, I need to give some to friends! Fresh herbs are one of my favorite gifts to give my fellow cooks. I tie separate bundles in kitchen twine. Honestly, even if you’re serving a large group up to ten, just grill some chicken, flank steak, or fish and you have made a complete meal. Your guests will love you for the healthy invite. And they will appreciate that this is bursting with real deal flavor. No self loathing or frustrated after this meal!
Four corn cobs steamed or boiled, cooled then kernels shaved
Six firm plum tomatoes halves
Three heads radicchio sliced into halves or thirds
One or two large red onions sliced
A bunch of green or white asparagus trimmed on bottom
Two each medium yellow and green zucchini sliced thin length wise
Two Baby eggplants sliced thin length wise
A large container of greens you love. I used a colorful, leafy spring mix. I happen to like chopping in general, and this was kind of a lot.
Place each vegetable in its own pan in a single layer. Brush 3/4 cup of the dressing on the veggies . Just drizzle and brush quick, do not overthink this. Marinate 15 minutes before cooking. Grill and broil as you wish. All should be fork tender, not soft. They should have a little firmness.
Dressing is pretty much my usual. Half a cup each olive oil and lemon juice, a tbsp and a half of red wine vinegar, a tbsp of country Dijon grainy mustard, half a tsp salt and a quarter pepper. Whisk well. Use last quarter to lightly dress greens right before plattering.
Have a few fresh basil leaves for useable garnish. This really makes it special. Cool the vegetables halfway before lining up and layering. You don’t want to wilt the lettuce. Alternate colors and flavors. I bookended the platter with the bright pops of 🍅 red. Serve along side whole grain bread that’s easy to cut for sandwiches, as an option.