Whatever vegetarian fare you choose to grill, be sure to use plenty of oil, fresh herbs, and plain old salt and pepper to season vegetables and grains before cooking them over coals. Vegetables are more delicate than meat and they don’t have natural fats, so it’s important to keep the grill clean and well-oiled so they don’t stick to it. Rubbing or marinating vegetables with olive oil beforehand will also help them take on a smoky, caramelized sweetness as they cook, but remember to wipe off the excess oil or marinade before grilling it to avoid flare-ups.
When it comes to cooking times, vegetables and meat should be treated similarly. “Once you take meat off the grill, it can continue to cook with the residual heat inside it. Vegetables work the same way,” says Duncan. Don’t grill your vegetables over direct flames, and don’t wait until they are mushy to take them off the grill. Instead, try cooking them like you would pasta: until they become al dente (tender, but with a touch of their intrinsic crunch still intact). With vegetarians being created equal and all, don’t they deserve the right to ask for a “rare” treat every once in a while too?