Grilling From The Garden

(The following information is provided by Thomas J. Lipton Co.)


Remember that innocent-looking little six-pack of tomato seedlings you bought in May? The plants looked so spindly and small then that you decided to buy another pack. The same thing probably happened with that pack of zucchini seeds-it sprinkled on the ground so fast that a couple more packs seemed prudent for ensuring any kind of crop at all. Ditto the eggplant and the green peppers... you get the idea.

Well, now is the pay-off time for forgetting that last spring you vowed to remember that one zucchini plant is all it takes to populate the world with zucchini and that unless you have 10 tomato-loving kids, those plump beauties go from rock hard green to luscious juicy red faster than you can keep up with them.

Even seasoned food writers fall into the same plant trap! Cookbook author Melanie Barnard admits to leaving unannounced zucchini on the neighbor's doorstep and getting the kids to put tomatoes and eggplants in every mailbox on the block. But now that she has written several cookbooks (two on grilling alone), she finds another, more delicious use for the garden's bounty.

Grilled vegetables are quick and easy, and relatively low-fat, especially if you try the recipes in her newest book, Low-Fat Grilling (HarperPerennial; March 1995; $10.00/trade paperback) . Garden ripe vegetables have natural sugars that lightly caramelize on the grill, and the resulting smoky sweetness gives the vegetables an absolutely incomparable flavor and texture.

With its nicely balanced mix of herbs and spices, Wish-Bone Italian Dressing provides just the right flavor enhancement for grilled vegetables. Simply brush the entire surface of the vegetable with Wish-Bone Italian Dressing, then grill until tender and lightly charred. As a rule of thumb, quick-cooking vegetables, such as sliced summer squash, eggplants, tomatoes, and asparagus stalks, can be grilled from the raw state. Potatoes, sweet potatoes, and winter squash need to be par-cooked to within 5 to 10 minutes of doneness, then brushed with dressing and grilled.

Try some of Melanie's favorite grilled vegetables:

  • For a sophisticated warm salad, lightly grill Belgian endives brushed with dressing and serve atop a bed of watercress drizzled with a little more Wish-Bone Italian Dressing.
  • For grilled sweet potato "chips," thinly slice a sweet potato lengthwise, lightly sprinkle with coarse salt and serve warm from the grill.
  • For grilled broccoli spears guaranteed to entice even the most stalwart of veggie-hating kids, par-boil broccoli for 2 minutes, drain, brush with dressing and grill until lightly charred and fork tender.

Grilled Vegetable Bruschetta is another favorite. It is a simple interpretation of an Italian classic in which crusty bread slices are grilled, then brushed with a flavored oil and topped with a variety of savory items-usually vegetables and herbs. Wish-Bone Italian Dressing makes this lovely dish extra easy, and the open-face sandwiches make a terrific vegetarian main course or a wonderful appetizer for Labor Day. Once you have tried our master recipe, take to your own garden (or local produce stand) and expand your vegetable grilling repertoire!


Grilled Vegetable Bruschetta


If you don 't have a covered grill, finish the bruschettas under a broiler to melt cheese.

4 Servings

  • 1 small eggplant (about 3/4 pound)
  • 1 large yellow summer squash (about 1/2 pound)
  • 1 large meaty tomato (about 1/2 pound)
  • 1 yellow bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup bottled Italian dressing
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil or 1-1/2 tablespoons dried basil
  • 4 larce slices country-style bread, cut about 3/4-inch thick or 2 packages (8-ounces each) individual Italian bread shells
  • 1 cup (about 4 ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese or 4 large thin slices (about 4 ounces) mozzarella cheese

Cut the eggplant lengthwise into 1/2-inch thick slices. Cut the squash into long diagonal 1/2-inch thick slices. Cut the tomato into crosswise 1/2-inch thick slices. Cut the pepper into quarters. In a measuring cup, combine the Italian dressing, basil, and pepper flakes. Brush all sides of the vegetables with the marinade.

Grill the vegetables over medium coals, turning once until softened, 10 to 12 minutes for eggplant, 5 to 7 minutes for zucchini and bell pepper, and 1 to 2 minutes for tomato. Grill one side of bread or top side of bread shells until lightly toasted, about 1 minute. Remove bread and vegetables from grill. Turn bread, toasted side up and divide grilled vegetables over the bread to make open-faced sandwiches. Sprinkle with cheese. Use a spatula to transfer bruschettas and return to grill. Cover and grill until cheese melts and underside of bread is toasted, about 1 minute.


Recipe from:
Low-Fat Grilling
by Melanie Barnard
Photograph courtesy of Wish-Bone Dressing
March 1995:
$10.00/trade paperback)
Taste Tested by The Lipton Kitchens.
Reprinted with permission.

This page originally published as a FoodDay article in 1997.

Copyright © 2007, Forkmedia LLC. All rights reserved.

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This page modified January 2007

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