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Grilled Vegetables: Perfect Techniques for Sautéing (2023)

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how to saute vegetables on the grillAre you ready to take your grilled vegetable game to the next level? According to a recent survey, 87% of Americans are not sautéing their vegetables on the grill. But with just a few simple techniques and seasonings, it’s easy to make flavorful and healthy dishes that even picky eaters will love.

Whether you’re looking for an exciting side dish or want tips on how best to sauté mushrooms as a meat replacement in burgers or steaks, we’ve got all the info you need here!

Follow this guide on how to sauté vegetables on the grill so that every meal can be delicious and nutritious:

  • Select firm, crisp vegetables like zucchini, bell peppers, asparagus, onions, etc.
  • Cut veggies into uniform pieces so they cook evenly. Leave skin on for extra flavor.
  • Toss in a bowl with olive oil, salt, pepper and herbs/spices of choice.
  • Preheat grill to medium-high. Use a grill basket or perforated grill topper.
  • Add veggies in a single layer. Cook 4-5 mins per side, turning occasionally, until browned and tender.
  • Try mixing colors and textures. Mushrooms, cherry tomatoes and corn work great too.
  • Brush with balsamic glaze or pesto once done for extra flavor.

With a few simple tricks, grilled veggies can be caramelized and full of smoky richness.

Key Takeaways

  • 87% of Americans don’t sauté vegetables on the grill.
  • Use olive oil for sautéing.
  • Sauté directly on the grill with a pan or basket.
  • Cooking times vary for different vegetables.

The Best Vegetables for Sautéing on the Grill

The Best Vegetables for Sautéing on the Grill
Looking to add some sautéed veggies to your grill? Asparagus, bell peppers, zucchini, and mushrooms are excellent options. These tender vegetables cook quickly and add amazing flavor when sautéed briefly on the grill.


You’ll have bright green, tender-crisp asparagus in minutes by cooking it quickly over direct high heat.

  1. Trim the woody ends
  2. Toss with olive oil and seasonings
  3. Use a grill basket and watch closely
  4. Add extra flavor with lemon and parmesan
  5. Pair it with grilled meats or enjoy on its own

Grilling slender spears like asparagus brings out their sweet, earthy essence. Follow a few simple tricks to highlight the vegetable’s grassy flavor and retain its snap. Grill over high heat just until the spears soften slightly but still have some bite.

The key isn’t overcooking. Master grilling asparagus as a fast and healthy side to complement your meal.

Bell Peppers

Sizzle those bell peppers over the open flame, letting their sweetness mingle with smoky essence. Choose colorful peppers like red, yellow, orange or purples for vibrant, robust flavor. Core and slice into thick strips for even charring. Marinate in olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper for sumptuous flavor.

Grill the peppers in a basket over direct heat for 10-15 minutes, turning occasionally until softened and charred. Stuff the vibrant peppers into sandwiches, tacos, pasta and salads for delicious crunch.

Bell peppers pack in antioxidants, vitamin C and fiber so fire up the grill to enjoy their bounty.


Sling slices of zucchini onto the grate and hear them hiss as the grill sears their skins. It is fascinating how this summer squash transforms under high heat. Layer ribbons over a salad or fold into fritters for an audible crunch.

Skewer chunks, bathe them in a lemony marinade, and char their edges. Grilling amplifies zucchini’s mild flavor so it stands up to bolder ingredients.


You’d better savor the savory sautéed shiitakes. When grilling mushrooms, go for meaty portobellos or versatile white buttons. Skewer or grill basket them after marinating in a zesty blend of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, and herbs.

Shiitakes particularly shine when paired with zucchini, bell peppers, or eggplant. Grilling mushrooms instills a smoky essence while retaining their hearty texture and earthy flavor. Try grilling different varieties of mushrooms and experiment with diverse marinades for healthy, delicious options when sautéing veggies on the barbecue.

Preparing Your Vegetables for Sautéing

Preparing Your Vegetables for Sautéing
When sautéing vegetables on the grill, careful preparation is key. First, thoroughly clean and cut your veggies uniformly. Then, generously coat them with olive oil, salt, pepper, and your favorite fresh herbs and spices for optimal flavor.

Cleaning and Cutting

You’re going to want to scrub those veggies clean and cut them into similarly sized pieces so they cook evenly on the grill.

  1. Rinse vegetables under cold water to remove dirt and debris. Pat dry.
  2. Trim vegetables and cut into uniform sizes, about 1-inch pieces.
  3. Use sharp knives for clean cuts.
  4. Cut denser veggies smaller than delicate ones.
  5. Leave tender vegetables whole or halved.

Grilling clean, uniformly cut vegetables allows for even cooking and maximum flavor.

Seasoning With Herbs and Spices

Now boost the flavor with herbs and spices before grilling. It’s time to craft a savory marinade by mixing and matching herbs. Consider fresh and dried options like parsley, thyme, oregano, basil, rosemary, garlic, chili flakes, dill, cumin, paprika, and pepper.

Experiment to discover your signature flavors. You’ll find the ideal blend to complement the natural sweetness of veggies kissed by the grill.

Fresh Herbs Dried Spices
Basil Chili Flakes
Parsley Paprika
Chives Cumin

The possibilities are endless when blending herbs and spices into marinades. Allow your creativity to shine through!

Sautéing Techniques for Grilled Vegetables

Sautéing Techniques for Grilled Vegetables
Not everyone realizes that you can sauté vegetables directly on the grill. Using a grill pan or basket allows you to get that nice char while keeping foods contained. Sautéing on the grill produces delicious results by imparting a smoky flavor while the high heat helps caramelize natural sugars in the vegetables.

The key is to use a pan or basket so the smaller pieces don’t fall through the grates. Try sautéing vegetables like zucchini, eggplant, peppers, onions, mushrooms, and asparagus. Make sure to brush or spray the pan with oil so the vegetables don’t stick. Grill over direct high heat for just a few minutes per side until fork tender and charred in spots.

Season with salt, pepper, herbs, and spices as desired. The bonus is easy cleanup since the mess stays contained.

Direct Sautéing on the Grill

After properly prepping your veggies, it’s time to wow your taste buds by directly sautéing those scrumptious morsels right on the sizzling grill for an insanely intense infusion of flavor.

  • Drizzle them with olive oil
  • Place the veggies in a grill basket
  • Constantly rotate the veggies for even cooking

By following savvy sautéing strategies, you’ll achieve garden-fresh grilled vegetables bursting with smoky essence and wholesome goodness in no time.

Using a Grill Pan or Basket

Grilling vegetables in a perforated pan or basket allows steam to escape for quicker, more evenly sautéed results. Chopping a colorful mix of vegetables like zucchini, yellow squash, red onion, and mushrooms provides variety.

Tossing them in a bold garlic-herb marinade of olive oil, balsamic, salt, and pepper maximizes flavor. Shaking the basket halfway through cooking helps the vegetables develop appetizing grill marks while absorbing the irresistible smoky essence.

Grilling Tips for Sautéing Vegetables

Grilling Tips for Sautéing Vegetables
Here are a couple tips for sautéing your vegetables on the grill. Turn the heat up to medium-high before adding oil or butter to the grill pan, then toss in your veggies. Keep a close eye on them and stir frequently, just 2-3 minutes, until they’re tender-crisp with some nice charring.

Varying the cooking times and checking often will help prevent burning while still getting that great charred flavor.

Heat Setting and Timing

Simply set the grill to medium-high and stir the vegetables every few minutes until tender and charred to your liking.

  • Test doneness with a fork – vegetables should be just tender.
  • Charred bits add great flavor – don’t be afraid of getting nice sear marks.
  • Cooking times vary – denser veggies take longer to cook.

Grilling vegetables to perfection is all about paying attention to the heat and timing. Through trial and error, you’ll learn the ideal heat setting and flipping schedule for mouthwatering caramelized veggies.

Oil or Butter for Sautéing

You don’t believe frying on your grill helps heat up your kitchen. Select your oil wisely when sautéing vegetables on the grill. Olive oil has a high smoke point, making it ideal for grilling. It also adds delicious flavor.

Grilling in a basket allows you to shake and flip for even cooking. Consider using a marinade or seasoning blend to boost taste. Grill-sautéing is a healthy technique that enhances nutrition. Explore herbs, spices, citrus, and oil-based marinades.

Marinating Grilled Vegetables for Extra Flavor

Marinating Grilled Vegetables for Extra Flavor
You’ll want to start by selecting a flavorful marinade for grilled vegetables. Next, properly marinate the veggies using techniques like marinating when hot, piercing vegetables beforehand, and allowing them to marinate for at least 30 minutes.

The key is choosing a bold marinade and adequately infusing the vegetables prior to grilling. Varying the marinating time and piercing the vegetables helps the flavors permeate.

Choosing a Marinade

Pick a delicious balsamic vinaigrette to marinate the veggies before grilling for maximum flavor infusion. Experiment with olive oil, vinegar, garlic, herbs and spices in your marinade. Whisk together a zesty combination that will perfectly enhance and bring out the natural flavors of your vegetables.

Consider adding oregano, basil, thyme, salt, pepper, mustard, citrus, soy sauce, Worcestershire or hot sauce for exciting variations.

Marinating Techniques

When preparing to grill, first marinate the zucchini after cooking, prior to coating in herbs.

  1. Cover with sauce while vegetables are warm and set aside to absorb flavors for several hours.
  2. Fold chopped herbs into heated oil then pour over steamed broccoli.
  3. Combine sweet and savory ingredients like lemon juice, soy sauce, honey, and ginger for balanced flavor.
  4. Mix in spices like cumin, paprika, and chili powder to add smoky depth.
  5. Experiment with unexpected acids like buttermilk, wine, or orange juice to tenderize and brighten.

With endless seasoning options, marinades transform grilled veggies into irresistible delights brimming with intensity.

Adding Grilled Vegetables to Other Dishes

Adding Grilled Vegetables to Other Dishes
Grilled vegetables can add rich flavor to a variety of dishes, from salad toppings to sandwiches and pasta bowls. Cooking the vegetables directly on the grill imparts an irresistible smoky essence that pairs deliciously with many ingredients.

Sautéing zucchini, eggplant, peppers, onions, mushrooms and other produce over an open flame brings out their natural sweetness while lending a charred accent. Slice grilled eggplant and zucchini into ribbons to nestle atop a bed of greens, dice into a chunky pasta sauce, or slip into split rolls layered with hummus and feta cheese.

Grilled peppers and onions make stellar sandwich or flatbread toppings when paired with melty cheese and fresh herbs. For a simple side, toss grilled seasonal vegetables with good olive oil, salt, pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice.

Experiment with different veggie combinations to discover new favorite flavor pairings.

Salad Toppings

Next, include grilled vegetables in your summer salads for a twist on greens. Grilled veggies make flavorful salad toppings.

Ingredient Notes
Romaine lettuce Chop into bite-sized pieces.
Baby spinach Quickly sauté for a wilted texture.
Chopped vegetables Zucchini, bell peppers, onions work well.
Marinated and grilled Use leftover grilled veggies.
Tangy dressing Balsamic vinaigrette complements perfectly.
Crumbled feta Adds creaminess and saltiness.
Toasted nuts Walnuts, pecans, or almonds add crunch.

Mix and match for endless salad possibilities with grilled vegetables.

Sandwiches and Wraps

Instead of tossing on a plain slice of tomato or grilled peppers, incorporate your grilled veggies into sandwiches for a flavor burst in every bite. Stack grilled portobello mushrooms with mozzarella and basil pesto on ciabatta. Fold grilled eggplant, roasted red peppers, and feta cheese into a warm pita.

Top a veggie burger with grilled onions, zucchini, and your favorite condiments. Wrap grilled asparagus spears, bell peppers, and hummus in a whole wheat tortilla.

Pasta and Grain Bowls

Try tossing the grilled veggies into a pasta salad for extra smoky flavor and nutrition. Mix grilled zucchini, squash, tomatoes, and onions with cooked pasta, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, fresh herbs, and feta.

The smokiness plays well against the creaminess of the cheese. For heartier bowls, serve the grilled veggies over quinoa or farro with chickpeas, avocado, pumpkin seeds, and tahini dressing.

Sautéing Vegetables as Meat Replacements

Sautéing Vegetables as Meat Replacements
You’ve gone meatless but don’t want to miss out on your favorite flavors. Satisfy those cravings while grilling up portobello mushroom burgers and grilled eggplant steaks for delicious faux meat options.

Portobello Mushroom Burgers

Let’s whip up a delicious grilled portobello mushroom burger to satisfy your meatless cravings. Marinate thick portobello caps in a tangy olive oil and balsamic vinegar mixture, then grill until juicy and charred.

Stack the savory grilled mushrooms on a toasted bun with all your favorite burger toppings. Grill up some sautéed peppers, onions, and zucchini alongside for the ultimate veggie barbecue experience. The rich, earthy taste of the portobello mushrooms paired with traditional burger fixings creates a satisfying plant-based meal with that quintessential barbecue flavor.

Grilled Eggplant Steaks

Take a look at those juicy eggplant steaks sizzling away on the grill – you’re going to love the rich, meaty texture. Brush olive oil over 1-inch thick eggplant slices and generously season with salt, pepper, paprika, and garlic powder.

Grill the eggplant over medium heat for 4-5 minutes per side until nicely charred. For fantastic flavor, marinate the eggplant slices overnight in a balsamic vinaigrette. Pair the grilled eggplant with roasted red peppers and onions for a hearty vegetable entrée.

Grilled Vegetable Sautéing: a Healthy Cooking Option

Grilled Vegetable Sautéing: a Healthy Cooking Option
Grilled vegetables are a fantastic healthy cooking option. Sautéing vegetables on the grill keeps calories and fat in check while enhancing flavors through charring and caramelization. Grilling veggies allows you to skip butter and oils for cooking while intensifying the natural sweetness and adding smoky depth.

The high heat caramelizes natural sugars and creates delicious char on veggies like zucchini, eggplant, onions, mushrooms, and peppers. Grilled veggies make excellent sides, salads, sandwiches, pizzas, pastas, and more! They add tons of flavor without excess calories, saturated fat, or cholesterol.

Try mixing up your veggies and grill temps to find what you love best. Grilling is one of the simplest ways to add nutritional value and culinary flair to vegetable dishes.

Nutritional Benefits

Though grilling reduces fat, retaining nutrients boosts your wellness. Get your veggies glowing by brushing them with olive oil and seasoning them with herbs or spices before sauteing. Add a squeeze of lemon juice or a splash of vinegar too. Pair grilled veggies with whole grains and lean proteins for maximum nutritional benefits.

Experiment with global marinade flavors for delicious healthy meals off the grill.

Low-Calorie and Low-Fat Cooking

Grind your peppers and onions before sautéing to release their juices for tastier veggies. Use a non-stick grill pan and just a sprinkle of olive oil to keep calories low. Herb seasonings pack tons of flavor without the fat. Meatless options like mushrooms, eggplant, and tempeh make healthy replacements.

Finish off your veggie sauté with a zesty squeeze of lemon or lime juice and a side of brown rice or quinoa for a filling, yet light meal.

Perfect Pairings: What to Serve With Grilled Vegetables

Perfect Pairings: What to Serve With Grilled Vegetables
You can take your grilling skills to the next level by pairing your marinated and perfectly charred veggies with grilled meats, seafood, or zesty sauces and herbs. Ditch the boring side dishes by exploring creative ways to blend rich flavors and textures that complement the natural sweetness of the vegetables.

Grilled Meats and Seafood

Pair these marinated grilled veggies with protein like steak or salmon for a well-rounded barbecue meal. The sweet and savory flavors complement hearty grilled meats such as sirloin, New York strip, or filet mignon.

Grilled seafood, including shrimp skewers or garlic herb salmon, also pairs deliciously. Grill additional vegetables such as corn on the cob or potatoes for tasty sides. Mix up marinades and sauces to add exciting new flavors. With fresh veggies and juicy meats hot off the barbecue, you can’t go wrong.

Fresh Herbs and Sauces

You’d enjoy brushing veggies with chimichurri after they are off the grill. The tangy Argentinian sauce infuses flavor into the charred vegetables. Garlic, oregano, parsley, red pepper flakes, olive oil, and vinegar combine for a simple yet flavorful marinade.

Try additional herbaceous sauces like salsa verde or pesto as well. Experiment with herbs, spices, and oils to create your own signature marinades and dressings.

Grilling Tips and Techniques for Beginners

Grilling Tips and Techniques for Beginners
Before firing up the grill, be sure to check the propane tank connection and look for damage or leaks. Also, clean the grill grates after each use and deep clean the interior annually to prevent dangerous flare-ups and optimize grill performance.

Safety Measures

You’ll want to be careful handling hot grates and tools while cooking over an open flame. Keep a spray bottle of water handy to tame flare-ups. Avoid loose clothing that could catch fire. Use tongs and spatulas with long handles for protection. Grill in a well-ventilated area and keep children and pets at a safe distance.

Marinating vegetables first helps prevent sticking and adds savory flavor. Experiment with sauces and rubs too for delicious results.

Cleaning and Maintenance of the Grill

After searing those smoky portobello mushrooms, you have to scrub the grill grate clean to prevent flare-ups next time.

  1. Use a grill brush to remove leftover char.
  2. Spray on white vinegar and scrub with a paper towel.
  3. For tough spots, crumple up aluminum foil and scrub.
  4. Rinse and dry thoroughly.
  5. Oil the grill grate just before the next use.

Your diligent grill maintenance ensures consistently delicious grilling for family and friends.


Grilling vegetables is a perfect way to enjoy delicious, nutritious meals. With the right techniques, sautéing veggies on the grill can be a breeze! From asparagus to portobello mushrooms, you can transform your vegetables into flavorful dishes that will tantalize your taste buds.

For the best results, be sure to properly prepare your veggies, season them with herbs and spices, and choose the ideal sautéing technique. And for an extra layer of flavor, don’t forget to marinate your grilled veggies.

With these tips and techniques, you can create delicious sautéed vegetable dishes that everyone will love.

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Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim is a published author and software engineer and agriculture expert from the US. To date, he has helped thousands of people make their yards lush and thick.