Essential reporting in volatile times.

Click here to stay informed and subscribe to The Charleston Gazette-Mail.

Click #isupportlocal for more information on supporting our local journalists.


Learn more about HD Media

Purple Onion Food 9/27

Late summer produce carries the flavors of the season into fall.

Looking for a little something-something to keep the grilling season going a little longer? Wishing you could think of a veggie idea that’s just a little different than salad, corn on the cob and salad?

We’ve got you covered!

As the weather gets a little cooler, it’s still a great time to keep the grill handy and enjoy a socially-distanced dinner on the porch or patio with family and friends. And this time of year is a great time to add vegetables to the grill and give them a little char and different flavor. Along with your favorite protein of choice, grilled vegetables are a nice way to enjoy your veggies.

If you’re worried about whether or not the vegetables, especially sliced ones, will fall through your grill and you don’t have a special grill basket, don’t let that stop you. Head to the kitchen pantry and pull out a baking cooling rack. Just brush it with a little oil and lay it on the grill. Its smaller spacing will hold those vegetables in place.

You can still find sweet corn, zucchini and squash, tomatoes, eggplant and carrots at the farmers market and fresh produce stands. These veggies — and fruits, if you remember our tomato lesson a few weeks ago — are still in peak season, fresh and nutritious.

Tomatoes ripen in the hot summer sun and are full of flavor right now. They can certainly stand on their own, but they are also a great add to a grilled vegetable dish where the pop of a juicy bite of tomato adds balance to the other produce with which it’s sharing a dish. We’ve got a simple grilled tomato recipe that makes a nice side with grilled fish and chicken. You could also chop these tomatoes up into a salsa.

While we’re on the subject of a vegetable that is fine on its own, how about a grilled onion? In this recipe, you wrap a sweet Vidalia onion in foil with plenty of butter and set it on the grill to soften and sweeten up. The onion takes about an hour to reach perfection, so plan on starting it with plenty of time. Along with a grilled steak or pork chop, you’ve got a savory side.

Sweet corn is still holding its own for a few more weeks. Jazz it up by grilling a few ears and making a salad with a sweet and tangy hot honey lime dressing.

What would a late summer vegetable story be without at least one mention of squash and zucchini? We’re not just going to mention it once, but twice in two grilled recipes that turn the bane of many gardeners into grilled side dishes that will make you think twice about just baking another batch of zucchini bread or stealthily dropping the veggies off on your neighbor’s stoop. Spoiler alert: By this time of the summer, we ALL know who you are!

Finally, for all those grill masters out there who plan their menus around a big hunk of meat, we suggest you try a couple of meatless menus that won’t have your family and guests missing red protein. Make a meatless and satisfying meal with this this grilled eggplant parmesan recipe. Colorful, bright and tasty, it’s a great alternative for dinner. We also like the grilled cauliflower steak recipe. That grilled onion we talked about above would be a perfect partner for this substantial main dish.

Allan Hathaway is the owner of The Purple Onion and WV Marketplace at Charleston’s Capitol Market. For more information, visit the web pages at capitolmarket.net/merchants/purple-onion and capitolmarket.net/merchants/wv-marketplace; call The Purple Onion at 304-342-4414 and WV Marketplace at 304-720-2244. Email Allan at purpleonionco@aol.com.