How to Grill Vegetables in Aluminum Foil

Image courtesy of Kim-Leng Hills

Learning how to grill vegetables in aluminum foil is simple. Grilling in foil is one of the easiest and most efficient ways to cook vegetables, and it gives them a smoky full flavor without touching them directly to the grill. For vegetarians or vegans using public grills or grills also being used for meat, grilling in foil is a good way to avoid cross-contamination and still produce delicious, ready-to-eat veggies.

How to Grill Vegetables in Aluminum Foil

Anyone can grill vegetables in foil. You don't need special equipment besides the grill, although a pair of tongs is helpful for transferring the foil packet.

  1. Choose your vegetables. Any type of vegetable is okay for the grill, although variations in cooking times mean you may want to group specific vegetables together to avoid a packet that contains some mushy veggies and some crisp veggies. In general, soft vegetables such as tomatoes and mushrooms take less time to cook, and crunchy vegetables such as onions, ears of corn, beets, and bell peppers take longer.
  2. Preheat the grill and clean it off if necessary.
  3. Tear off as many large pieces of aluminum foil as you have groups of vegetables. Make sure each piece is big enough to encase the specific group of vegetables completely.
    Beets ready for roasting.
  4. If you'd like, you can marinate vegetables in the refrigerator for several hours before grilling them. Otherwise, try slicing the vegetables and tossing them in a bowl with olive oil and fresh or dried herbs such as rosemary, thyme, and basil. Add coarse salt and freshly ground pepper to enhance the flavors.
  5. Use a pastry brush to paint the foil with olive oil before you add the vegetables. The oil further coats the vegetables and prevents them from sticking to the foil.
  6. Seal vegetables securely in the foil. To do this lay the vegetables in a single layer in the middle of the foil sheet, and fold in each side of the foil. Do the same with the remaining two sides. Wrap the foil around the vegetables like a present: To seal the packet more tightly, you can fold in the corners of the last flap and tuck it into a previous flap.
  7. Cook the vegetable packet on the grill for eight to ten minutes. Use tongs or a pair of forks to flip the packet over, and continue cooking on the other side for an additional eight to ten minutes. Obviously, grilling times will vary depending on the heat of your grill and the type of vegetables you have in the foil packet. Tomatoes may take only eight minutes total to grill, whereas very hard vegetables such as some types of squash may take up to a half hour.
  8. Unwrap the packets, being careful to watch out for steam and high heat. Spoon the vegetables onto a plate, and serve.

Grilling Tips

Grilling is one of the simplest food preparation methods, but you can streamline the process even further and get better results with a few tips.

Use grilled vegetables in a sandwich or as a side.
  • If you don't have a grill or need to work inside, you can also prepare the vegetables on a cast-iron skillet with grill marks. They won't taste quite as smoky, but they'll retain their juices and flavors just as effectively as they would outside.
  • One benefit of learning how to grill vegetables in aluminum foil is that the clean-up takes so little time. To minimize waste, you can re-use the foil if you're grilling vegetables packet by packet. Otherwise, it's possible to save time and water because there are no dishes to wash except for serving plates and utensils.
  • Preparing vegetables with olive oil and a few simple herbs preserves their natural tastes, but you can also dress them up with fresh ginger, garlic, barbecue sauce, soy sauce, lemon juice, or a variety of marinades.
  • It's sometimes possible to intensify the smoky flavor of grilled vegetables by laying a sheet of foil directly on the grill without sealing it into a packet. Pour the vegetables directly on the sheet of foil, and stir them or jiggle the sheet occasionally. When the vegetables are finished cooking, pick up the foil and tip them onto a serving platter.
How to Grill Vegetables in Aluminum Foil