Firing up the grill is the summer version of turning on the oven. Once you have it going, you might as well cook a few extra things to eat over the course of the week. These days we call it “meal prepping,” but we used to call it “planned-overs.”
Whether it’s a hot oven or a preheated grill, I always try to get some extra vegetables ready to cook, to make the most of the heat. In today’s recipe, Grilled Marinated Zucchini and Yellow Squash Over Quinoa Salad, you’ll fire up the grill once to create a meal for today or tomorrow.
The key to success with the vegetables is that you will be grilling them, then marinating them in a lime and chile dressing, to give them great flavor after they are cooked, not before. Because, truth be told, they won’t really take on much flavor from a marinade when they are raw.
Think of this recipe as a template. Once you give it a try, you can use the method with other grill-friendly vegetables. By grilling, then marinating, you will add the smoky char we all love, then infuse the vegetables with some tangy, zippy flavor. The juicy zucchini and squash are notorious for releasing lots of liquid when they are cooked, so this is a way to incorporate those tasty juices into the dressing. The same delicious trick works well with mushrooms, onions, peppers and asparagus.
Once your veggies are grilled and swimming in a marinade, you can use them in plenty of ways. For a meal prep approach, make a double batch, or grill a different assortment to marinate for later. Here, the marinade turns a pot of cooked quinoa and black beans into a main course. If you are in the mood for a green salad, drizzle the dressing over romaine, spinach or kale, and toss, then top with the grilled veggies. All sorts of cooked grains, potatoes and other salad bases will work with a topping of grilled and marinated veggies.
When it comes to the grill, remember that veggies cook quickly. Get the grate hot so it will sear and mark the veggies. You may want to get a special vegetable grate to keep them from falling into the fire. Or slice them in longer pieces so they don’t fall through.
Grill extra veggies, and you are set up for an easy meal tomorrow.
Robin Asbell is a cooking instructor and author of “Big Vegan” and “Plant-Based Meats.” Find her at robinasbell.com.