Grilled Vegetables with Quinoa + Tomato Sauce

Grilled Vegetables with Quinoa + Tomato Butter Sauce | A Couple CooksGrilled Vegetables with Quinoa + Tomato Butter Sauce | A Couple CooksGrilled Vegetables with Quinoa + Tomato Butter Sauce | A Couple Cooks

In our home, summertime = grill time. It’s one of Alex’s favorite pastimes to fire up our charcoal grill, and one of mine to eat whatever comes off of it. But since grilled food is heavy on the meat and we’re “mainly” vegetarian eaters, how does that work? Is a vegetarian grilled meal a veggie burger or tofu dog?

Vegetarian or plant-based grill recipes can actually be quite creative, we’ve found. A heaping mound of grilled vegetables is one of the best taste treats in the world, each veggie with its own unique charred, smoky flavor. Add some sides with a bit of protein, and you’ve got a fantastic summery patio meal.

After we made this meal on a weeknight and shared a photo of it on Instagram a few weeks ago, several of you asked for the recipe. Your wish is our command! Alex makes this meal frequently in the summer, so I followed him around to document his method.

A few notes on the recipe:

  • If you make all the components in this recipe, you’ll dirty a fair amount of pots and bowls. If you have a charcoal grill, the recipe takes about 1 hour to make, so make sure to try it on a night where you have sufficient time and energy for cooking and cleanup. We like to make a double or triple batch and have leftovers throughout the week.
  • Alex can make this recipe by himself quite easily, but I’d need another person’s help to pull this one off. If you’re not a seasoned home cook, you may want to try this with another helper, or make sure to leave yourself sufficient time for the recipe.
  • You can use any vegetables you’d like or have on hand; we’ve listed the veggies we used below. Some favorites we did list were button mushrooms and green onions, which are also great options.
  • This recipe uses our version of Marcella Hazan‘s famous tomato butter sauce. To make it vegan, substitute olive oil for the butter (but definitely try the butter if your diet allows!).

If you don’t yet, follow us on Instagram! We love hearing your feedback on what recipes you want to see.

More Vegetarian Grill Recipes



Grilled Vegetables with Quinoa + Tomato Butter Sauce
Serves: 4

What You Need
  • 2 cups quinoa
  • 3 cups water
  • 28-ounce can diced tomatoes (San Marzano, if possible)
  • 1 yellow onion
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 8 pounds whole vegetables (we used 1 head cauliflower, ½ head broccoli, 1 yellow pepper, 1 green pepper, 2 small zucchini, 2 medium sweet potatoes, 8 small red and purple potatoes, and 1 yellow onion)
  • 3 tablespoons peanut or grapeseed oil
  • 1 pinch cayenne
  • 15-ounce can cannellini or white beans (optional but recommended)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • Kosher salt
  • Fresh ground pepper

What To Do
  1. Preheat a grill to medium high heat (if you’re using a gas grill, you can preheat a bit later). Start a large pot of water to boil.
  2. Start the tomato sauce: Peel and half the onion. In a small sauce pan, add tomatoes, onion, 5 tablespoons butter, and ½ teaspoon kosher salt. Simmer for 30-45 minutes, stirring occasionally, while preparing the remainder of the recipe. When the sauce is done, remove the onion.
  3. Start the quinoa and cook it while preparing the remainder of the recipe. When it is done, fluff it with a fork, then cover and leave warm in the pan until serving.
  4. Meanwhile, chop vegetables into large strips or chunks, keeping them fairly large for easy grilling.
  5. When the large pot of water is ready, parboil the crunchier vegetables, such as potatoes, broccoli, and cauliflower, until they are softened. We grilled regular potatoes for 12 minutes, sweet potatoes for 8 minutes, and cauliflower and broccoli for 5 minutes in the same pot (simply drop the longest cooking vegetable in and stagger the start times accordingly).
  6. When the vegetables are boiled, place them together with the fresh vegetables in a large bowl. Add up to 3 tablespoons peanut or grapeseed oil, up to 1 tablespoon kosher salt, fresh ground pepper, and 1 pinch cayenne; stir to combine. The veggies should be coated but not soaking in oil and lightly covered in salt.
  7. Drain 1 can of cannellini or white beans. Place the beans on a square of aluminum foil, then add 1 tablespoon olive oil, ¼ teaspoon kosher salt, and 1 teaspoon dried basil. Fold over the foil and seal the packet on all sides.
  8. Add the vegetables and packet to the grill; cook until veggies slightly charred and tender, about 8 minutes per side. The bean packet can be removed when warmed.


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