For the Love of Fresh Veggies

Aug 2nd, 2020
So how did I go from loathing vegetables of my childhood to loving every fresh vegetable I can get? It is easy when Arizona grows the most wonderful fruits and vegetables year-round. August is an incredible time of year because the sweet corn, tomatoes, beans, and peppers are at the peak of deliciousness. How can that be when the Phoenix area is breaking heat records?  The altitude in southeastern Arizona is the key and the farms near the vineyard are bursting with incredible bounty. There are some great spots like Apple Annie’s Orchard where you can pick your own produce. 

To ensure your love of fresh veggies, learn how to cook them properly to enhance the flavors. We love to grill. Here are five tips for grilling the freshest vegetables.
  1. Know your vegetables. Some are more dense (e.g. potatoes) than others (e.g. tomatoes) and require different temperatures and time on the grill. You might put the potatoes on first or even par-boil them before you put the slices on the grill. Move them off direct heat once they get some grill color.
  2. Oil and season generously. Toss your vegetables with olive oil or other cooking oil and season generously with your favorite spices before putting them on the grill.
  3. Try a marinade. Vegetables can act like sponges soaking up incredible flavors. Like tip #1 be careful how long you put some of the vegetables in the marinade as acids can quickly break down the tissues and make the veggies mushy. Sometimes less is more.
  4. Prep properly. You don’t want to dice onions and then try to grill them. A round vegetable like an onion does best cut into rounds so it has more surface area with the grill creating more caramelized grilled flavors. Use skewers or grill baskets for vegetables that might be too difficult to manage on the grill grates.
  5. Don’t over-grill. People have a tendency to over-cook their vegetables. Don’t ruin your fresh bounty by charring them beyond recognition. Watch over them while on the grill and move them around to ensure that they are still crisp and al dente.
Grilled vegetables pair beautifully with LDV Winery’s Grenache, Syrah, or Petite Sirah. Next time you light the grill think vegetables instead of a steak.