Hot dogs, chicken, and other grilled meats are the stars of most Independence Day cookouts, but it’s definitely a good idea to throw a few vegetables on the grill, too. Treated right, a hunk of cabbage or an ear of corn can be just as delicious as a burger. From grilled radicchio with a cherry gastrique to mixed mushrooms and eggplant roll-ups, keep reading for 18 of our favorite grilled vegetable recipes for a July 4th bash.
Simple Grilled Asparagus
If you have access to good farmers market asparagus, this ultra-simple recipe has to be part of your July 4th feast. All you have to do is toss the stalks with olive oil, salt, and pepper and throw them on a hot grill. I like to use a grill basket to make sure they don’t fall between the grates, but if you’re more careful than I am, you don’t need one. The charred asparagus are already amazingly flavorful, but they’re even better with our two-minute aioli served alongside.
Grilled Leeks With Romesco Sauce
Try to cook leeks entirely on the grill and you’ll drive yourself crazy wasting time and coals. The better choice is to par-cook them in boiling water and then grill them just long enough to impart a smoky char. For a taste of Catalonia, serve the leeks with Romesco, a rich sauce made from roasted red pepper and almond.
Catalonian-Inspired Grilled Vegetable Salad (Xató)
Before we leave Catalonia we have to talk about xató, a warm salad defined by its Romesco-like sauce, which is made with grilled tomatoes, chilies, hazelnuts, and almonds. The sauce is often served on fish and vegetables, but we keep the dish vegetarian by using grilled endive and scallion. If you want a little fishiness, put some anchovies on the table and let your guests add them to taste.
Grilled Radicchio With Cherry Gastrique
Think that side dishes are boring? Think again. Simultaneously sweet, sour, and bitter, this grilled radicchio will stand up to the heartiest entrée. We make it by charring radicchio over high heat and serving it with a vibrant gastrique made with cherries, sugar, and vinegar.
Grilled Trevisano or Radicchio With Gorgonzola, Olive Oil, and Saba
Radicchio gets even more bitter when you quickly char it, but cook it (or its cousin, trevisano) until tender and it becomes remarkably sweet and succulent. Here we serve the grilled radicchio with olive oil, gorgonzola, and saba. If you can’t find saba, a sweet syrup made from grape must, you can replace it with balsamic syrup.
Grilled Cabbage With Blue Cheese Dressing
I’m a big fan of coleslaw, but that’s not the only way to serve cabbage at a cookout. Like radicchio, cabbage takes well to the grill—the high heat gives it a sweet, nutty flavor. I like to dress the cabbage wedge-salad style, with blue cheese dressing, cherry tomatoes, and bacon bits (leave the bacon out to keep it vegetarian), but you could also try it with yogurt and mint or a spicy Thai-style dressing.
Grill-Roasted Carrots With Sweet Soy Glaze
Unlike leeks, carrots are worth cooking entirely on the grill. They have to cook for up to an hour, but after all that time you’ll be rewarded with tender, sweet, and smoky results. Glazing the carrots with honey emphasizes their natural sweetness, while salty soy sauce provides some much-needed contrast.
Grilled Mixed Mushrooms With Sesame Dressing
Mushrooms contain lots of water, yet it’s surprisingly easy to dry them out on the grill. One of the best ways to ensure they stay moist is to add extra liquid in the form of a baste—here we go with a rich, salty mixture of soy sauce and butter. We keep the East Asian theme going when the mushrooms come off the grill, dressing them with roasted sesame seeds, mirin, and more soy sauce.
Grilled Mexican Street Corn (Elotes)
If I had to pick one dish to serve at every cookout, it would undoubtedly be elotes. This classic Mexican crowd-pleaser is made by slathering grilled corn with a sauce made of mayo, crema, cotija, garlic, cilantro, and powdered chili. I always budget two ears per guest because people go crazy for it.
Grilled Corn, Tomato, Feta, and Herb Salad
Corn on the cob a little too messy for your tastes? Corn salad is just as delicious and way easier to eat. There are a million ways to make a summer corn salad, but here we turn to ripe local tomatoes, salty feta cheese, and herbs like parsley, mint, and basil. We dress the salad with a little lemon juice and olive oil—with great corn and tomatoes you really don’t need anything else.
Grilled Spiced Cauliflower
Cauliflower loves high heat—a roaring grill is perfect for crisping up the outside while keeping the inside tender rather than mushy. When I roast cauliflower I cut it into florets, but here we go with steaks because they are much more grill-friendly. We use an earthy blend of spices like turmeric, cumin, and coriander to flavor the cauliflower.
Grilled Eggplant Rollatini
The grill does double duty in this recipe—we start by cooking eggplant slices until well-browned and tender enough to roll, fill them with ricotta, mozzarella, Parmesan, provolone, and basil, and return them to a grill in a covered baking dish with homemade marinara sauce and more cheese.
Eggplant Spirals With Greek Yogurt, Tomatoes, and Cucumber
My editors tell me that not everyone wants four different kinds of cheese in a vegetable side dish. I’m skeptical, but just in case they’re right, here’s a lighter option made by rolling up grilled eggplant slices with tomatoes, cucumber, and a bright, creamy Greek yogurt spread flavored with mint and dill.
Halloumi and Vegetable Skewers
These simple vegetable skewers are made with onions, zucchini, and tomatoes tossed in a red wine vinaigrette. The real star, though, is the halloumi, a salty, squeaky Greek cheese. Halloumi is one of our favorite grilling cheeses—it is firm enough to soften without melting when you cook it.
Balsamic Vegetable Skewers
These vegan skewers are all about the vegetables—specifically, a mix of zucchini, squash, red onion, bell peppers, and grape tomatoes. We flavor the veggies with a balsamic vinaigrette that we use as both a marinade and a dressing.
Grilled Green Bean Salad With Red Peppers and Radishes
When I’m planning a party, I like to do as much of the prep work ahead of time as possible. The base of this salad—a quick vinaigrette, radishes, scallions, and red peppers—can be assembled ahead of time, so all you have to do once your guests arrive is char the green beans and toss them in.
Grilled Skewered Shishito Peppers With Teriyaki Glaze
Are you planing on grilling up some yakitori? If you already have some homemade teriyaki sauce ready, consider pairing the meat with grilled shishito peppers. Shishitos take just a couple minutes on the grill—the only trick to keep in mind is that double-skewering the peppers will make them much easier to flip.
Grilled Summer Squash With Chimichurri
Like teriyaki, chimichurri—a piquant mix of onion, garlic, red wine vinegar, parsley, cilantro, and jalapeños—is a versatile sauce that can serve multiple purposes at your July 4th cookout. It is traditionally served with steak and works wonderfully on grilled fish, but it’s just as good on grilled vegetables like summer squash.