Grilled Veggies – Part 1: Eggplant, Onion, & Asparagus

I have never been much of a griller.  For YEARS it was because I was scared I couldn’t do it.  Abbie kept telling me “IT’S SO EASY!” but grilling for myself was never very motivating.  After meeting Jim, I decided it was time to finally learn.  I’m mostly in charge of dinner and DIY and he’s mostly in charge of laundry and dishes, so the grill falls squarely in my domain.  4 years ago we bought a little portable Weber gas grill to replace the one my parents had given me about 10 years ago, which no longer worked.  The portable Weber is very cute and sits on the wall in our yard:

280a2        280b

280c        280d

I learned early on to never leave the grill hose outside overnight or the squirrel will feast on it:

the squirrel ate our first grill hose after leaving it outside overnight

I grilled a few times in 2012 and 2013, but I didn’t grill at ALL for the past 2 summers.  I think because 2014 was the summer of the DECK, and 2015 was the summer of the CATIO.  Both of which very much impacted our yard availability.  Jim is vegetarian, and I’m mostly vegetarian, so our grill is considered a vegetarian grill.  I only cook veggies, veggie burgers, and veggie dogs on it.  Lately I’ve been obsessed with grilled eggplant – it gets so squishy and caramelized that it almost melts in your mouth *swoon*.  I could eat it every night.  But instead [because reality] I’ve been making it about once a week.  Here’s a run down of my latest grilled veggie feast, in case you want to try it:

I buy 1 or 2 eggplants [when buying eggplant always make sure you buy a “male”, which has a circle on the bottom instead of a slash:

280v

… photo courtesy of THIS SITE.  Male eggplants are never bitter and have less seeds.  Female eggplants can be bitter and usually require salting/pressing for an hour before cooking.  Who has time for that?].  So anyways, in addition to eggplant, I also bought 3 Vidalia/sweet onions and a bunch of asparagus.

Preheat the grill to HIGH.

Then cut the eggplant into ½” slices:

280f       slicing the eggplant to prepare it for grilling

Place the pieces in a gallon-sized zip lock, add some olive oil & seasoned salt, then shake:

280h        280j

For the eggplant I used black “lava” sea salt from Hawaii – it has a bit of a zing to it:

280i

Cube the onions and place them in another gallon-sized zip lock; cut the ends off the asparagus and toss them into a 3rd bag.  I added olive oil and a mix of seasoned salt and garlic flakes to the onions and asparagus and shook them up:

280k        280m

280l        280n

Then I carried my bags out to the preheated grill.  The grill was pretty hot but quickly cooled off when I opened it to put the veggies in, and stayed mostly in the 300-350° range for the rest of my cooking:

280o        280p

I dumped the bags of veggies onto the grill, arranged the eggplant so it was flat, and closed the lid:

280q

In hindsight I’m thinking some skewers would work better for the onions… Oh well.  As I said, I’m pretty much a grilling n00b.  I didn’t set a timer, but I checked the veggies every 5 minutes or so, and flipped them over with tongs.  I always cook with the lid closed.

After 6 minutes:

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After another 5 minutes:

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And after another 5 minutes – DONE:

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They were SOOOOOOOOOOOO good:

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Hubby said the onions could have been cooked a bit longer.  They were a little al denté, so next time I think I’ll skewer them and put them on for 5 minutes before adding the rest.  Stay tuned for my next grilling adventure which will involve corn on the cob.  I have cooked corn a few times on the grill already this summer – it’s always amazing!

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7 Comments

  1. The eggplant sounds wonderful. I love the creamy center and caramelized edges. Got to get the grill out. Jo @ Let’s Face the Music

  2. Anne, you took the words right out of my mouth. “Yummmmm!” was my exact reaction.

  3. We (well, Eric’s the grillmeister) grill all year long, even in winter. I like cubing up mixed veggies, tossing them in olive oil and Dijon mustard, and grilling them in a basket. Or grilled sweet peppers stuffed with cream cheese.
    I have never eaten eggplant and I had NO idea there were males and females! We’ll have to try it.

    • Nine Dark Moons

      You’ve never eaten eggplant? Ever? Ever??? Not even like eggplant parm? Eggplant Parm is my all time favorite food! You totally need to try eggplant. I always find it delicious, whether it’s oven roasted, grilled, or smothered under sauce and cheese inside eggplant parm! I love your idea of tossing the veggies with dijon mustard… YUM! I’m going to try that. And sweet peppers stuffed with cream cheese sound heavenly. We have a grill basket in the basement, I’ll have to haul that out soon. Thanks for the tips! I’m envious you can grill year round. We’re usually dealing with too much snow/ice cold wind to grill in the winter.

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