We love grilled vegetables around here, and this grilled vegetable marinade is the best I’ve ever tasted. Made with lemon, butter, and thyme, it is the perfect marinade and basting sauce for summer. It’s also Paleo, Keto, low-carb and Whole30 compliant!
I love to make a large grilled vegetable platter for a big summer BBQ, but even if I make this amount just for my family, we end up eating twice as many vegetables when I serve them grilled with this amazing marinade.
How Long Should You Marinate Vegetables?
Marinating vegetables allows them to absorb the flavors of the marinade. Unlike meats, vegetables don’t require as much time to marinate. They can even become mushy if left in the marinade for too long.
Marinate vegetables for around 30 minutes to 2 hours. This allows the flavors to soak in without compromising the texture of the veggies.
Delicate vegetables like zucchini and mushrooms only need 15-30 minutes, while harder veggies like bell peppers and onions can handle longer marinating times.
What are Good Vegetables to Grill?
Just about any vegetable is great on the grill. The key is how you grill them.
You can make grilled vegetable skewers (kabobs) with small mushrooms, bell peppers, zucchini, onions, carrots, and potatoes or sweet potatoes.
For more delicate vegetables, you can cook them on a baking sheet or in a grill basket.
Marinated grilled asparagus, mushrooms, and onions are favorites in my home. Eggplant is also wonderful, but not a family favorite, so I only add it when I’m making them for a large crowd.
Surprisingly, carrots are wonderful on the grill. I love to use the exotic Dutch carrots that are purple and yellow in addition to orange carrots. Portobello mushrooms are fabulous too!
How to Make the Best Grilled Vegetable Marinade
This marinade for grilled vegetables is made with simple, clean ingredients. You’ll need:
- 4 ounces unsalted butter, diced (if Paleo or Whole30, use ghee or clarified butter)
- 1/3 cup shallots, chopped
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 3 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 4 Tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 Tablespoon lemon zest
- 2 Tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped
- Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
I like these little glass dishes for my prep or mis en place.
Combine ingredients in a heavy saucepan. Whisk over medium heat until the butter melts and the sauce is well blended. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Next, brush the marinade on both sides of the vegetables. I usually do this about 30 minutes before I plan to grill them, or about the time it takes to heat up the BBQ. These colorful brushes are great for all sorts of kitchen tasks.
If you have any grilled veggie marinade leftover, you can heat it up and serve it on the side.
If you want to make this marinade Paleo friendly and Whole30 compliant; simply substitute the butter with clarified butter or ghee. Make sure that you check your mustard if you are being really strict!
If you’re following a gluten free, low-carb or keto diet, you won’t need to change a thing!
Not interested in the dietary labels? It’s just another method to indicate that this is a simple and unprocessed recipe. The ingredients for this veggie kabob marinade are a healthy addition to any meal.
How to Grill Vegetables
Grilling vegetables adds a delightful, smoky flavor and enhances their natural sweetness, making them a fantastic addition to any summer cookout. And using this marinade for vegetables will take them to the next level, infusing even more flavor.
Grilling vegetables is a straightforward process, but a few techniques can help you achieve the best results.
- Prep the vegetables: Wash your veggies and cut them into uniform pieces to ensure even cooking. Tend toward cutting them bigger to prevent them from getting too soft or shriveling up. You’ll want to keep onion and zucchini slices around 1/4″ thick.
- Marinate the veggies: Brush the vegetables with the marinade.
- Prepare the grill: Preheat your grill to medium-high heat, around 400°F (200°C). Make sure the grates are clean and lightly oiled to prevent sticking.
- Use skewers, a baking sheet or a grilling basket: To prevent smaller vegetables from falling through the grates, thread them onto skewers or use a grilling basket or baking pan. This will make flipping and removing them from the grill much easier.
- Grill to perfection: Place the vegetables on the preheated grill and cook them until they are tender and slightly charred, usually around 8-12 minutes. You’ll want to start with the firmest vegetables first. So I’ll start with the carrots and onions, then add the peppers, mushrooms, and zucchini and finish with the asparagus. Rotate and flip them occasionally to ensure even cooking.
Can You Make Grilled Vegetables Ahead of Time?
I usually prepare the marinade a few hours before I plan on grilling the vegetables. Once grilled, they will stay warm wrapped well in foil and kept in the oven at 200F, for about an hour.
If you’re planning on keeping them warm for longer, I suggest undercooking the vegetables slightly.
What Can You Make With Leftover Grilled Vegetables?
Don’t worry if you have leftovers! I like to put the leftover grilled vegetables in sandwiches, omelets, or in salads. Or try some of these great recipes:
- This Grilled Steak Salad would be a great way to repurpose leftover grilled asparagus.
- Or what about a Grilled Summer Vegetable Quesadilla for the leftover grilled zucchini or peppers?
- This Soba Salad with Grilled Vegetables and Tofu would be another delicious option for grilled vegetables!
Grilled vegetable marinade with lemon, thyme and butter
Grilled Vegetable Marinade
Vegetables for Grilling
- 2 onions sliced 1/4" thick
- 2 zucchini sliced vertically, 1/4" thick
- 3 bell peppers cut into quarters
- 1 bunch asparagus spears ends trimmed
- 1/2 pound mushrooms brown, white or 2 portabellos
- 3 carrots sliced vertically or into wedges
Grilled Vegetable Marinade
- Combine all ingredients in a heavy sauce pan. Whisk over medium heat until butter melts and sauce is well blended.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper. (Can be made 3 hours ahead. Cool. Whisk over low heat to rewarm before using.)
- Cut zucchini, carrots and onions about 1/4″ thick.
- Slice bell peppers into quarters
- Skewer the mushrooms if using small mushrooms or remove tough center stem if grilling portobello mushrooms.
- Brush both sides of veggies with marinade. They can be wrapped and refrigerated if making them ahead. Remove from fridge about 30 minutes before grilling.
- Over a medium heat, begin grilling vegetables starting with thickest vegetables first (carrots) and end with the most delicate last. (Asparagus needs just a few minutes)
- If there's extra sauce, reheat it and serve it on the side or drizzle over warm vegetables.