By Steve Petusevsky
Director of Culinary Innovation
Native Foods Cafe
Unlike other cooking methods, grilling requires some intuitive skill along with learned technique. Almost any vegetable or plant-based protein can be grilled. One of the best ways to flavor your grilled items is with spice mixes. Although there are many commercially prepared combinations, most have loads of salt and other chemicals added.
Through the years, I've created a number of seasoning mixtures, which I make in large batches to store in air-tight jars where they keep for months in a cool dark place.
Vegetarian proteins such as firm tofu, tempeh, slices of seitan or even veggie burgers take to these spice combos. Vegetables are also wonderful when sprayed lightly with olive oil and dusted with one of these spice mixtures. The oil helps the spices adhere to the surface of the veggies.
You can put zucchini, eggplant, yellow squash, bell peppers and onions directly on the grill after sprinkling them with spices.
Firm vegetables can also be grilled with the good results.
But first they must be blanched or boiled briefly before being dusted with spices and then grilled. These firm vegetables include broccoli and cauliflower cut into large florets, slices of hard squash such as acorn or butternut squash, sweet potatoes and white potatoes.
Cut root vegetables into 3 / 4-inch-thick slices before boiling gently 2 to 3 minutes. Drain and rinse in ice cold water, drain, dry, spray with oil and sprinkle with spices. The blanching or boiling process can be done a day prior to grilling.
Another incredible vegetable that is great cooked on the grill is kale. Leave the bunch whole with the twist tie that holds it together still in place. Then put the whole bunch of kale in boiling water about 3 minutes, drain and rinse in cold water. Sprinkle with olive oil and one of the following spice combinations and then grill!