Grilling fruits and vegetables can elevate BBQ dishes or desserts with delightful flavors. The Grilling 101 series now dives into the essentials of grilling these natural delights. While grilling is typically associated with meat enthusiasts, incorporating fresh fruits and veggies can offer a unique twist. The vibrant flavors from grilled fruits can sometimes steal the show from the main proteins, and the gentle charring and hint of smoke can enhance the natural goodness of vegetables.

Grilling 101- The Basics of Grilling Fruit and Veggies

It only takes an open flame and some time on the grill before you have something that tastes amazing! Grilling fruit and vegetables is easy, but different items have different characteristics. To help you get started, follow these few guidelines when prepping to grill these ingredients:

  • Prepare your grill with direct and indirect heat zones. Many fruit and veggies use direct heat, but some will require more time over indirect heat to cook throughout. Read our post on direct and indirect heat to learn more.
  • Oil the grill grates before placing the fruit or veggies on them so they don't stick and can be easily flipped without breaking apart.
  • Use tongs instead of a fork when flipping food because it will puncture the skin, creating air pockets that allow moisture to escape and dry out quickly.
  • Smaller items require alternate equipment like a grill basket or an American Made Grills Griddle Plate.

Now, let's dive into the Basics of Grilling Fruits and Veggies with Grilling 101.

    The Benefits of Grilling Fruits and Vegetables

    The Benefits of Grilling Fruits & Vegetables

    The allure of grilling often revolves around meats, but fruits and vegetables can be just as delightful when given a chance on the grill. Not only does grilling enhance the natural flavors of these foods, but it also provides significant health benefits. Let's dig deeper into why fruits and vegetables should regularly feature on your grill.

    Health Benefits of Grilled Fruits and Vegetables

    Fruits and vegetables contain essential nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Grilling them can help preserve these nutrients, unlike boiling or sautéing, which can lead to nutrient loss.

    Moreover, fruits and vegetables are low in calories and fat, making them an excellent food choice for those maintaining a healthy diet or seeking weight loss. You further reduce their calorie and fat content by grilling these foods instead of frying.

    Increased Fruit and Vegetable Intake

    The American Heart Association recommends at least four servings of fruit and five servings of vegetables daily for optimal health. Grilling fruits and vegetables can make achieving this goal more accessible and enjoyable.

    Grilled fruits and vegetables often have a unique, smoky flavor that can make them more appealing, even to those who typically shy away from these foods. This can encourage increased fruit and vegetable intake, contributing to a healthier diet.

    Enhancing Flavor

    Grilling has a magical way of transforming the taste of fruits and vegetables. The high heat caramelizes the natural sugars in these foods, bringing out their sweetness and enhancing their flavor. This can make grilled fruits and vegetables tastier than their boiled or sautéed counterparts.

    Grilling fruits and vegetables offers multiple benefits, from preserving nutritional value and promoting a healthier diet to enhancing flavor. So, next time you fire up your grill, add some fruits and veggies to the menu. Your health - and taste buds - will thank you.

    The Basics of Grilling Vegetables

    The Basics of Grilling Vegetables

    Grilling and barbecuing vegetables is a great way to add healthy variety to your diet, but not all veggies grill the same. Thinner veggies are suited for high direct heat, while larger and denser ones will require par-cooking or more time with indirect heat.

    Grilling 101- The Basics of Grilling Fruit and Veggies

    Tender Veggies

    Vegetables like asparagus, broccolini, mushrooms, leeks, and scallions will cook through quickly. These will finish within about 5 minutes using high direct heat and come off the grill beautifully blackened.

    Try grilling these other vegetables the same way: broccoli, sugar snap peas, green beans, eggplant, romaine lettuce, sliced peppers, and avocado.

    Root & Hard Veggies

    Root vegetables like carrots and potatoes and denser veggies like butternut squash require extra cooking time. Either par-cook in the oven to get them started or plan on roasting on the grill with indirect heat. Once cooked through, they can be blackened and charred over direct heat to capture the smoky mesquite flavoring.

    Guidelines for Grilling Vegetables

    • Grill what's in season - Locally sourced, in-season produce tastes better because they are riper and fresher than globally shipped vegetables.
    • Flatten and maximize surface area - Cut and flatten vegetables to allow the most surface area contact with the cooking grates. This preparation adds a better depth of flavor, charring, and uniform cooking process.
    • Don't forget the oil - Fresh vegetables will stick and burn prematurely without oil. Preferably, add extra virgin olive oil to grill grates and veggies to reduce sticking and falling apart. Don't get carried away since too much oil will drip and cause flare-ups.
    • Watch them closely - Grilling vegetables brings out the natural sweetness but can also burn them quickly. To help avoid burns, cut the vegetables evenly (roughly 1/2 inch) and try not to overcook them too much.
    The Basics of Grilling Fruit

    The Basics of Grilling Fruit

    Grilling fresh fruit is a simple, delicious way to add flavor and visual appeal to your next barbecue. The fire imparts an irresistibly smoky flavor and gorgeous caramelization of the natural sugars for a fantastic counterpoint to the main dish and transforms desserts!


    Lemon, small oranges, and limes are the most straightforward fruits to grill and offer the most applications. Cut them in half and grill flesh-side-down for five minutes. The zest of its juice fades as the heat brings out the fruity complexities and sweetness.


    Bananas have an earthy sweetness when grilled. The juices become more concentrated as the sugars caramelize, and the bananas develop a rich texture. To grill bananas, split them in half lengthwise and leave the skin. Cook over direct heat for 5-6 minutes skin side down, flip over for last two minutes, then remove when grill marks form. 
    Grilling 101- The Basics of Grilling Fruit and Veggies


    One of the most common grilled fruits, peaches, requires indirect heat to cook through or on a second-level grate because of their thickness. When grilled, a peach's flavor alters slightly as the natural sugars melt and char. For a stunning presentation, grilling peach halves flesh side down creates gorgeous grill marks and caramelization that are wonderful with desserts or paired with a protein, like Grilled Pork Chops and Peaches.


    Grilled pineapple rings have a wide range of possibilities. Use direct heat to caramelize and char them beautifully, or place a few rounds on the warming rack to drip on the meat. Grilled pineapple works with any taco or dessert and is famously combined with pork.

    Watermelon and Other Melons

    Grilling watermelon and other types of melon slightly changes the textures. The bursts of flavor so characteristic of fresh melon become more subtle but sweeter. Grill long slices over direct heat until char marks develop on each side.

    Grilling 101 Continues

    Grilling fruit and veggies is easy and flavorful to spice up any barbeque meal. Understanding that different ingredients will produce different cooking times, textures, and flavors makes it a whole new experience! For more learning, check out our other Grilling 101 series on grilling beefchickenfish and seafood, and pork and lamb.

    Grilling 101: The Basic of Keeping Your Grill Clean

    Next week, we wrap up the Grilling 101 Series with the basics of keeping your grill clean and properly maintained for optimal results. Nothing hinders flavor and grilling experience more than a dirty grill, so stay tuned for tips and tricks on keeping your grill in top shape!

    February 25, 2024 — Jason Klein