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Summer Grilling: Veggie Lovers

Memorial Day is fast approaching, May celebrates National Barbecue Month, so it follows that all our thoughts have turned to one thing: delicious backyard BBQs.

Firing up the grill and enjoying a meal of freshly cooked meat, seafood, and vegetables with friends and family is a favorite way to spend a sunny afternoon, but grilling can be a bit intimidating (how hot, how much, how long?), for everyone from the novice chef to the most experienced cook. To help you fire up your grill and partake of that summer fun, we asked the pros for the best tips and tricks on summer grilling. We've already covered everything meat lovers and seafood lovers need to know. This week, we're all about vegetables.

As with meat and seafood, the first rule of thumb is to be patient and generous. Chefs K.C. Fazel of Los Vegas’s Tender Steak & Seafood, Carey Yorio of Goya Foods, Saul Ortiz of Las Vegas' Tacos & Tequila and Greg Bastien of Chicago’s Tavernita stress the importance of pre-heating. Be generous with your fuel source when initially starting up the grill (you don’t want to refuel while you are cooking, which could make your food taste like ash or flames). Also, make sure to oil up the grill with plenty of non-spray oils before you start to throw any food product atop.

Ortiz says the important thing when it comes to grilling vegetables is to work with the flavors. He suggests grilling summer squash, yellow corn and broccoli by mixing virgin olive or, oregano, lime juice and rock salt and then lightly grilling so they keep a crunchy texture. The oil-based mixture will help prevent vegetables them from sticking to the grill and keep them from drying out.

Also, watch your vegetables carefully as you don’t want to overcook them. More dense vegetables and thicker slices take longer to grill. If you are worried about overcooking, cook your vegetables in foil, it’s a great way to keep veggies such as tomatoes from losing their juices. If you are cooking vegetables out of foil, use a moderate heat and a small flame. If you’re cooking them alongside meat or seafood, be sure to place the vegetables on the side of the grill that is away from the direct heat.

Here are some grilled vegetable recipes to try: Grilled Green Tomatoes with Spicy Yellow Pepper Sauce and Grilled Polenta with Scorched Tomatoes & Grilled Argentinean Chorizo.

Get out there and kick off summer with grilled a feast.

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