Now that spring is here, it’s time to get outside and start grilling Mediterranean-style. Grilling vegetables is a great way to enhance their natural flavors and can be an inspiring way to increase your uptake of veggies. Here is our first grilling recipe of the year – traditional grilled Italian vegetables. It’s brought to us by our Italian recipe developer, Giorgia Fontana. Check out her write-up below!
Here in Italy, whenever you grill meat or fish you also grill some vegetables to go with it. In fact, in my experience, most of the time you start by grilling the vegetables while the embers are getting hot and end up eating them all while the meat is still cooking!
This recipe for grilled Italian vegetables is so common there are hundreds of variations and every family has its own perfected recipe. Today, I’ve chosen what is arguably the most traditional version, made with eggplant, bell pepper, zucchini, red onion and radicchio. That being said, it is possible of course to use almost any kind of vegetable you like! Some pretty common additions are fresh artichokes, fennel, endive, tomatoes, asparagus and carrots, depending on the period of the year.
This colorful vegetarian dish is a staple at my place because it makes a great side for the whole family, is very healthy and also extremely tasty! Moreover, it takes less than 30 minutes to prepare and does not require any marinade or resting time. For this reason, this is one of my go to recipes whenever I need a quick vegetable dish that is both beautiful to see and super easy to come up with.
In the end, there is nothing that screams spring more than an epic grilling party outdoors with the whole family! Of course, if you can’t prepare these grilled vegetables under the shining sun, you can also make them indoors by using a simple grilling pan. The result will be just as good!
Finally, to make sure this dish is as good as it can be, try to use vegetables that are in season. This way, the vinaigrette will enhance the natural flavor making them even more mouth-watering and delicious.
If you are interested in finding out what vegetables are in season, click here.
More traditional Italian recipes from Giorgia Fontana
Preheat the grill on medium-high heat and wash the vegetables under running water.
Cut the eggplant and the zucchini lengthwise, 1/4 to 1/2-inch think. Slice the onion the same fashion, but crosswise.
Remove the seeds and the white part of the bell pepper. Then, cut it into thin slices.
Cut the radicchio head into wedges, making sure the leaves are still attached to the core in each wedge.
Grill the vegetables without overlapping them, a few at a time if necessary. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes on each side until you can see some nice charred marks.
In the meantime, prepare the dressing. In a small bowl, combine extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, oregano, salt and pepper. Whisk everything together with a fast movement until all the ingredients are well combined.
Tear the basil leaves with your hands to release the aroma and add them to the bowl.
When the vegetables are ready, transfer to a serving plate and pour the dressing over them. Serve immediately.
Giorgia was born in a small town on the Italian Riviera, half the way between Genova and the Cinque Terre, just a few miles away from where pesto was invented. She has a background in psychology and neuroscience and is now completing her training to become a licensed psychologist while working as a web writer. As most of the time happens in Italy, it was her lovely grandmother that taught her how to cook and enjoy every bite of simple and genuine food. Giorgia loves preparing meals for family and friends and her specialty are authentic Sicilian and Ligurian dishes. Other than cooking, her greatest passions are traveling and trekking. Her biggest dream is to be able to see (and taste!) as much of the word as possible.