Vegetables never tasted so good!

Vegetables don’t have to be boring, especially during grilling season! Here are six recipes that are so good, they give steak a run for its money…


This easy salad can be served warm or at room temperature. You can substitute quinoa for the orzo if you prefer.

You can place asparagus directly on the grate and turn it with tongs. Or you can skewer several together crosswise—this keeps asparagus from falling through the grate. Place four spears together. Push a wooden skewer through all four near the top of the asparagus. Push a second skewer through near the bottom of the asparagus.

2 pounds fresh asparagus

¼ cup olive oil

1 cup canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 cup orzo or quinoa

½ cup oil-and-vinegar dressing

¼ cup chopped fresh basil or parsley

1 package short wooden skewers

Small disposable aluminum baking pan

Snap off the stems of the asparagus at the point where they break easily, about one inch from the bottom. Pour olive oil onto the disposable baking pan, and roll the asparagus in the oil. Remove the asparagus. Add the chickpeas, and toss them in the oil. Add salt and pepper to taste. Heat the grill to medium.

Place the pan with the chickpeas on the grill grates. Skewer four asparagus at a time crosswise. Place the asparagus on the grates. Grill, covered, five minutes. Turn the asparagus, and stir the chickpeas. Grill, covered, three minutes. If using thin asparagus, reduce grilling time to two minutes per side and remove from grill, leaving the chickpeas to grill about five to 10 minutes or until golden. Cut the asparagus into one-inch pieces.

While the vegetables are cooking, bring a large pot with about four quarts of water to a boil. Add the orzo, and boil 10 minutes, or until the orzo is cooked through but still firm. (If using quinoa, cook it in boiling water for 15 to 20 minutes or until soft.) Drain.

Pour the dressing into a large bowl. Add the orzo, asparagus and chickpeas. Sprinkle on the fresh herbs and salt and pepper to taste. Toss again. Serves four.


Any type of mushroom can be used. The trick is to make sure that they are all about the same size so that they grill evenly. Helpful: I like to use skewers that have two prongs to keep the food from swiveling.

¼ pound cremini mushrooms

¼ pound shiitake mushrooms

¼ pound oyster mushrooms

¼ pound button mushrooms

1½ cups low-sodium teriyaki sauce (about one 12-ounce bottle)

6 skewers

Clean the mushrooms by wiping them with a damp paper towel. Trim the stem ends a bit. Thread the mushrooms onto six skewers, alternating the different types. Brush the mushrooms with some of the teriyaki sauce. Reserve the remaining sauce. Heat the grill to medium.

Place the skewers on the grate over direct heat. Grill, covered, three minutes. Turn and grill, covered, three minutes more. While mushrooms grill, warm the remaining reserved sauce in a saucepan or in a microwave oven for 30 seconds. Remove the mushrooms from the grill, and slide them off the skewers. Place the mushrooms over cooked brown rice if desired. Spoon the sauce over the mushrooms. Serves four.


A tasty twist on a classic favorite.

1 Tablespoon butter

4 medium ears corn, shucked

4 Tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Spread the butter over the corn. Place each ear on a piece of foil. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese and salt and pepper to taste over the corn. Wrap the foil around the corn, and place it on the grill for 10 minutes. Turn and grill for five minutes more. Serves four.


The grilled red bell peppers and onion give a smoky flavor to this dip. You also can simply grill and skin the peppers and serve them over cooked vegetables or salads. They will keep several days in the refrigerator.

6 ½-inch-thick red onion slices

2 large red bell peppers

1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar

2 teaspoons olive oil

¼ cup sour cream (or plain Greek yogurt)

3 Tablespoons ricotta cheese

5 drops hot pepper sauce

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat the grill to medium. Place the onion slices on the grates, and grill, covered, three minutes. Turn, and grill two minutes more, until the onions are soft, not burned.

While the onions grill, wash the peppers. When the onions are done, remove them from the grill. Turn up the grill to high, and place the peppers on the grill. When the side facing the heat turns black, turn the peppers over. Continue to turn the peppers until the outer layer of skin is mostly charred black. This will take about 10 minutes. Place the peppers in a bowl, and cover with a plate or foil. Let them sit for five minutes. Peel the skin off the peppers. Cut them in half, and remove the seeds. Drain well. Chop the peppers and onions in a food processor. Add the vinegar, oil, sour cream, ricotta cheese and hot pepper sauce. Blend until smooth. Add more hot pepper sauce and salt and pepper to taste. Serves four.


Cutting cauliflower into steaks is an unusual way to serve it. You also can break the cauliflower into florets and grill them in a grill basket and then toss with pesto.

1 medium head cauliflower

Olive oil spray

¼ cup prepared pesto

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Cut half-inch slices from the top of the head to the bottom stalk of the cauliflower. This will give you four good steak slices. Save any florets that fall off or are not part of the slices for another meal or to use as crudité. Spray both sides of the steaks with olive oil spray. Heat the grill to medium, and place the steaks on the grill. Cook, covered, for five minutes, turn and grill five minutes more. The steaks will be cooked through but a little firm. Remove the steaks to a platter, and brush or spoon the pesto over the steaks. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serves four.


Grilling the sliced eggplant instead of frying it lightens this Italian favorite.

1½ pounds eggplant

2 Tablespoons olive oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

6 cups no-sugar-added pasta sauce

½ cup fresh basil leave

½ pound mozzarella cheese, sliced

1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

To grill the eggplant, heat the grill to medium. Wash the eggplant, but don’t peel it. Cut eggplant into half-inch slices. Brush with olive oil, and place the slices on the grill. Grill for four minutes, covered, turn and grill four minutes more, covered. Remove the eggplant, and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.

Spoon a layer of pasta sauce in a 9-by-13-inch metal baking pan. Place a layer of eggplant slices over the sauce, place basil leaves over the eggplant (tearing any large leaves into small pieces), place a layer of mozzarella slices over the basil. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over the mozzarella cheese. Repeat with the sauce, eggplant, basil and mozzarella. End with a layer of sauce and Parmesan.

Place the pan on the grill grates, and grill, covered, 10 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and the cheese is melted (or place the pan in a 400?F oven for about 15 minutes). Serves four.


Here are four tools that no outdoor chef should be without. They make grilling easier and more fun.

Long-handled, spring-loaded tongs are a big help in placing food on the grill, moving it around, turning and removing it. My favorite: OXO Good Grips 16-inch locking tongs, $14.99.

A good basting brush with a long handle and preferably silicone bristles. My favorite: Elizabeth Karmel’s Grill Friends 15-inch super silicone angled barbecue brush, $9.99.

A flat vegetable grate or basket grill with small holes. My favorite: Weber style 6434 professional-grade vegetable basket, $22.99, and Weber professional-grade grill pan, $22.99.

Two-prong skewers to keep food from swiveling when turning over. My favorite: Elizabeth Karmel’s Grill Friends 15-inch double kabob skewers, set of four, $23.99.

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