Balsamic Grilled Vegetables use the best summer produce to make a sweet, tangy vegetable side dish with the fire-roasted taste of the grill!
I am a bargain hunter to my core. Over the years, our income has fluctuated along with our jobs, bills, and life circumstances, but my commitment to finding a good deal has never wavered. I’m pretty sure even if we struck it rich someday, I’d still check Amazon before buying something at a store just to make sure I couldn’t save a couple bucks. I literally spent two years looking for a pair of good winter boots, because my brain couldn’t justify spending $40 on a pair (clearly I hadn’t bought boots since 1999). My husband finally convinced me boots actually cost more than $40 these days, and avoiding frost bitten toes is a prudent investment.
With most pantry items, I will buy the store brand, clip coupons, and use every mobile app at my disposal to keep the grocery bill under control, but there are a few things even my clearance loving heart knows not to cheap out on. One of those things is balsamic vinegar. While you might not be able to tell the difference between a Cheerio and a Kroger-O in a blind taste test, you can absolutely tell a difference in the range of quality balsamic vinegars. On the low end, you’ll come up with something that is watery, acidic and abrasive. But if you can save a few extra pennies and splurge on the good stuff, you’ll be rewarded with thick, rich balsamic that’s so naturally sweet you don’t even need to reduce it.
So what’s a bargain hunter to do? My money saving heart actually recommends keeping two different kinds of balsamic on hand. Buy a cheaper variety to use in marinades and other scenarios where it will be cooked, then buy a more expensive balsamic to use for finishing a dish. If you have an oil and vinegar tasting bar near you, I highly recommend checking it out (bring a friend! It’s a great date activity!). You’ll quickly be able to get a sense for the different tastes and textures of various balsamics. My current favorite is a 25 year aged balsamic I get at The Oilerie here in Columbus. You can also mimic the rich flavor and texture of an aged balsamic by simmering a cheaper balsamic on the stove top for 20-30 minutes until syrupy and slightly sweet. Warning: it will make your house smell like a kimchi factory and may cause watery eyes, but it IS super delicious. Keep the reduced balsamic around for use in salads, tomatoes, or bread dipping. It’s also the perfect finishing touch on grilled meats or vegetables, including these Easy Balsamic Grilled Vegetables with Goat Cheese.
I got the idea for this recipe from a magazine that called it “Marvelous Mediterranean Grilled Vegetables.” The original recipe called for a store-bought Greek dressing. It was dead simple to make, but the results were just okay. It needed something. After trying it, I went to the cupboard and pulled out my BFF balsamic, drizzled it on, and a few minutes later we were all eating these vegetables by the forkful, loving every sweet tangy bite.
The next go-around I decided to whip up the marinade myself, using a mixture of balsamic and red wine vinegars, oregano, basil, and a bit of dijon to make a hybrid Greek/Balsamic vinaigrette. It’s still incredibly fast to throw together, and because these veggies can be thrown right on the grill, they require almost no clean up. The marinade is also great with chicken, so feel free to add that to the mix and have your entire dinner prepared on the grill in a jiffy. I like to add some chunks of creamy goat cheese to the grilled vegetables because it goes SO WELL with these flavors, but if you’re avoiding dairy or you’re a goat cheese hater (WHHHY?), feel free to leave it out.
This recipe includes A LOT of different vegetables, and it’s one of the reasons I like it so much. Each bite is a little different, with loads of texture and different flavors to enjoy. That said, feel free to substitute to best suit your family. I loved throwing asparagus into the mix with the bell peppers and squash, but next time I think I’ll be adding mushrooms to the mix as well. This makes a large batch of vegetables so you can either feed a crowd or feed yourself all week long (<<I highly recommend this approach). Here are just a few things you can do with the leftovers: throw them on a pizza with fresh mozzarella cheese and prosciutto (FAB), stir into scrambled eggs (breakfast win!), add to a bowl with quinoa, hummus, and salad greens (yay power lunch!), or roll into veggie tacos or a Sweet Potato Black Bean Burrito (BOOM-freezer lunch!).
Easy Balsamic Grilled Vegetables with Feta
Summer's best produce is marinated in a sweet and tangy sauce then grilled to perfection and topped with fresh goat cheese.
For the marinade
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- Kosher salt, to taste
- A few turns of fresh cracked pepper
- 2 sweet bell peppers (red, orange, or yellow)
- 2 yellow squash
- 2 zucchini
- 1 small onion (I prefer red, but anything works)
- 1 lb. asparagus stalks
- 4 ounces goat cheese
- 2 additional Tablespoons high quality balsamic vinegar or balsamic reduction
- In a measuring cup, whisk together all of the marinade ingredients until well combined. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour the marinade over the vegetables and allow to sit for at least 15 minutes or place in the fridge and marinate several hours.
- Heat the grill over medium high heat. Spread the vegetables out over a vegetable basket, cast iron griddle, or heavy duty foil on the grill. Grill for 4-5 minutes or until veggies are starting to brown and caramelize on one side. Flip and grill an additional 5 minutes or until vegetables are softened. Remove from the grill. Drizzle with a few more Tablespoons of high quality balsamic and chunks of goat cheese.