Vegetables don’t have to be bland and boring. You can make a colorful and tasty Mediterranean vegetable tray. It typically consists of a variety of vegetables seasoned with herbs and spices that are commonly used in Mediterranean cuisine.
This article will provide a detailed guide for making tasty grilled Mediterranean vegetables.
Best Vegetables for Grilled Tasty Vegetable Tray
There are unlimited varieties of vegetables that you can include in a grilled Mediterranean vegetable tray.
They include eggplants, bell peppers (red, yellow, and green), onions, zucchini, tomatoes, mushrooms, fennel, asparagus, artichokes, garlic, leeks, okra, summer squash, shallots, red potatoes, sweet potatoes, beetroot, broccoli, cauliflower, carrot, radicchio, endives, lettuce, arugula, kale, spinach, chard, collard greens, bok choy, mustard greens, and turnip greens among others.
Include at least 5 varieties of vegetables on your platter. You want to incorporate a variety of colors and textures to make the tray visually appealing and provide a variety of flavors. Go for fresh and in-season vegetables, as they have deep flavors and the best texture.
Another thing to keep in mind when choosing vegetables for the tray is their size and how long they take to cook. Cut up the vegetables to similar sizes to ensure they cook evenly and at the same rate. Reduce thicker and larger cuts to smaller sizes.
In terms of cooking time, some vegetables take longer while others grill in a few minutes. For example, root vegetables, such as carrots, squash, sweet potatoes, etc., take longer to grill. On the other hand, kales and leafy green grill faster and are more prone to burning. Therefore, monitor all the vegetables closely throughout the grilling process.
Ultimately, there are no fast and hard rules for selecting vegetables for your grilled Mediterranean vegetable platter. Choose vegetables for your platter according to your preferences and their availability.
Seasoning Ideas for Grilled Mediterranean Vegetables
You can use a wide variety of seasonings to enhance the taste of grilled Mediterranean vegetables, including herbs and spices, seasoning blends, and Mediterranean cuisine pastes, and add them directly before, during, or after cooking.
Some commonly used spices and herbs in Mediterranean cuisine include thyme, oregano, marjoram, sesame seeds, mint, paprika, rosemary, turmeric, sumac, parsley, cumin, coriander, cloves, bay leaves, black pepper, etc. Experiment with different herbs and spices to find the ones that pair well with your chosen vegetables.
One of the most popular ways of seasoning Mediterranean vegetables is by marinating them before grilling. An olive oil, lemon juice, and herbs marinade is the most common one. It is made by mixing olive oil, lemon juice, and fresh herbs such as basil, oregano, thyme, or rosemary. Soak the vegetables with the marinade and let them sit for 15-30 minutes or longer.
Alternatively, you can season with harrisa and Za’atar. Harissa is a North African chili paste made from a blend of spices, garlic, and olive oil. On the other hand, Za’atar is a Middle Eastern spice blend made from a combination of herbs, such as thyme, oregano, marjoram, sesame seeds, and sumac. You can use the paste as dip or sauce or mix it with olive oil and lemon juice to create a flavorful marinade for grilled vegetables.
Tips for Grilling Mediterranean Vegetables for a Tasty Tray
Making a tasty Mediterranean grilled vegetable tray is easy and straightforward. However, a few tips and tricks can ensure it comes out perfectly.
For instance, use a vegetable grill basket instead of laying the vegetables directly on the grate. The grill basket will prevent the vegetables from falling through the grates and makes it easy to turn them.
Preheat the grill to medium-high heat to ensure that the vegetables cook quickly and evenly. Adjust the grilling temperature depending on the type of vegetables and the desired char level.
Coat the vegetables with extra virgin olive oil before grilling them. The oil prevents them from sticking on the grill and adds more flavor. Lay the vegetables in a single layer on the grill basket, leaving enough space between the vegetables to allow for even cooking and to prevent steaming.
When grilling, keep the lid closed as much as possible to keep the heat inside and cook the vegetables faster and more evenly. Grill the vegetables until they are tender but not overcooked. Overcooking them will make them mushy and lose their flavor. Use a fork to test for doneness.
If you want to add more seasoning, do so while the vegetables are still warm so the flavors can absorb better. Serve the grilled vegetables immediately after grilling. The flavor is more potent when the vegetables are still hot.
What to Serve With Grilled Mediterranean Vegetables
Grilled Mediterranean vegetables can be served as a side dish or main dish. As a side dish, they can be served with grilled meats, fish, poultry, quinoa, couscous, or rice. To serve as a main dish, toss them with a simple vinaigrette and serve over a bed of greens as a salad.
The grilled vegetables can also be served as a topping for pizza, flatbread, or sandwiches or as a filling for a wrap with hummus, tzatziki, feta cheese, and herbs.
Grilled Mediterranean Vegetable Platter Recipe
Below is a simple recipe for a flavorful grilled Mediterranean vegetable platter. You can adjust the ingredients and seasoning according to your preference and availability.
This recipe includes a variety of vegetables, including assorted bell peppers ( 2 red, 2 yellow, and 2 green), 10 cherry tomatoes, 1 cucumber, 1 eggplant, 1 zucchini, 10 kalamata olives, 2 large red onions, 100g feta cheese, 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, 2 tablespoons of fresh chopped parsley, mint, basil, salt, and pepper to taste.
Start by preheating the grill to medium-high heat. In the meantime, wash the vegetables and cut them into similar size pieces. Put them in a bowl and mix them with olive oil, lemon juice, fresh herbs, salt, and pepper. Toss the vegetables to evenly coat them with the olive oil and seasonings.
Place them on a vegetable grill basket or skewers. Grill for 8-10 minutes or until they are tender and slightly charred. Turn them occasionally to ensure they cook evenly and do not burn.
Once the vegetables are done, remove them from the grill and transfer them to a serving platter. Crumble the feta cheese over and sprinkle with additional herbs if desired. Serve the vegetables with hummus, tzatziki, or other dips and warm pita bread or chips.
Making a grilled Mediterranean vegetable platter is a delicious and healthy way to enjoy a variety of vegetables and the taste of Mediterranean cuisine. The good news is it easy and simple to make.
Start by deciding the type of vegetables to incorporate. When choosing vegetables for grilling, consider the texture and how well they will hold up on the grill. For best results, preheat the grill to medium-high heat.
Cut vegetables into similar sizes, oil them and season them. Use a vegetable grill basket, ensuring not to overcrowd it. Keep an eye on the grill to prevent the vegetables from burning or overcooking. When done, remove from the grill and serve.
Grilled Mediterranean vegetables can be served as a side dish, main dish, salad, topping, dip, or pasta. They can be stored in the fridge for a few days and used for different recipes. Experiment with different herbs and spices to find the perfect seasoning that goes well with your chosen vegetables.
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