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5 Tips to Make an Epic Grilled Vegetable Board

Charcuterie and cheese welcome grilled vegetables into the “board not boring” family.
By Published July 19, 2022

It’s a sweltering summer evening and you have guests coming over. That ice-cold rosé and comfy Adirondack chair are calling, but you still want to serve something as impressive as it is delicious. What could you make when turning on your oven just isn’t in the cards?

Enter: the grilled vegetable board.

In her best-selling book Boards: Stylish Spreads for Casual Gatherings, Elle Simone Scott covers the basics of building the best boards, including charcuterie boards and crudités platters. It turns out that a great grilled vegetable board is no different. It’s the perfect meal for summertime entertaining—it’s supersimple to pull together with your favorite seasonal produce, all the cooking takes place outside, and everyone can serve themselves. (Plus, it looks stunning.)

Here’s how to build a showstopping board packed with charred goodness.

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1. Choose Your Vegetables

Change up the veggies depending on what you have on hand or what you picked up at the farmers’ market. We love using bell peppers, zucchini and/or summer squash, eggplant, and red onion (here’s a trick for keeping those onions from falling through the grill grates). Asparagus, fennel, mushrooms, and radicchio all make great additions or substitutions. Dial the amount up or down depending on how many people you have coming over.

2. Build the Board Around a Focal Point

Start with an eye-catching focal point, such as creamy burrata or another neutral-flavored cheese that pairs well with the vegetables without overpowering them. Bonus: It also makes it more of a meal. Put the cheese in a decorative bowl in a contrasting color to make it pop, and add a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil and a sprinkling of freshly cracked pepper for richness and texture.

Recipes & Expert Food-Styling Advice

Boards: Stylish Spreads for Casual Gatherings

Take boards beyond cheese and crackers. Show off your effortless entertaining style with showstopping spreads that will impress your guests but give you the flexibility to make or buy components as you choose.

3. Add Flavor with a Savory Sauce

A lemony dressing adds a perfect tangy element to complement the char of the vegetables, but an aioli or salsa verde would also work nicely here. Don’t feel like making a sauce? The store-bought stuff works just fine. (We’re going for low effort, high reward here, folks.)

4. Use Fresh Ingredients

Halve a few lemons or add herbs such as basil for contrast and vibrancy. Love the char? Toss some of the lemons on the grill too.

5. Make It More of a Meal

Grill some thick slices of bread and set out dishes of olives and high-quality tuna or other tinned fish to fill out the spread and make it more meal worthy. Marinated canned beans and tofu are other great savory additions that add heft without any cooking.