Get ready to grill. Today we’re using foil packets to to turn a pile of vegetables into a fantastic summer side dish. Actually if you look at the portions, the grilled vegetables were the main feature. I would like, at least while we’re rolling in produce, for you to consider treating vegetables as your main dish. Spend your time and energy planning your meals around the available, seasonal produce rather than treating slapping a can of green beans in the microwave as an after thought. Just give it a try, you may discover a new world of flavor or you’ll hate it, but you won’t have caused any harm.
This tutorial is a guide rather than a strict recipe as the amounts are going to vary widely, but the technique remains the same.
Gather your vegetables and slice or mince as appropriate. These vegetable packets will contain: bell peppers, zucchini, yellow squash, onion, garlic and mushrooms. *Note* Do not be lazy and assume your chef knife can go one more day without sharpening, even good cooks get distracted with less than fun results. Sharpen your knives regularly.
Place the vegetables in a bowl and toss with a little olive oil or homemade Italian dressing. If you choose to omit the dressing and go with straight olive oil, don’t be scared to add a sprinkle of your favorite herbs, some rosemary, thyme, basil etc. Choose your seasoning based on the other items being served. Try to carry the same flavors throughout. Since we’re serving these packets with grilled Italian sausage, I went with an extra sprinkling of Italian seasoning. If I’d had fresh basil on hand, that would have been in there, too. Let the flavors mingle for a little while. A pinch of salt can be added now or at the table, either way works. While vegetables have wonderful flavor, herbs and aromatics like garlic and onions can go a long way to making them even better. This was almost a summer version of one of our favorite recipes, sausage, peppers, and onions.
Grab a sheet of heavy duty foil, don’t get the wimpy stuff, you don’t need it tearing on the grill. Arrange a couple of healthy handfuls of vegetables in the center of the foil. Bring the long sides together and fold over in an accordion or pleat type fold. You want to keep the steam that will develop inside your packet. Fold the short side over a couple of times to close the packet tightly.
Do not juggle with your packets. They are not that sturdy. They should be sturdy enough to handle being turned over.
Heat your grill, these should be grilled 10 – 15 minutes per side on a hot grill. If you cut your vegetables very thinly or used butter, you may want to grill indirectly or pay close attention and grill for less time. Packets with tender vegetables like zucchini and squash will be done faster than packets with sturdier vegetables like carrots and celery.