Mixed Grilled Vegetable Platter with Pesto Dipping Sauce

Mixed Grilled Vegetable Platter with Pesto Dipping Sauce

Nothing tastes like summer, to me, more than grilled vegetables. Grilling enhances the natural sweetness and nuances of vegetables more than any other cooking technique.

A colorful platter of grilled vegetables is a wonderful appetizer, accompaniment to a main course, or the starring attraction, served with a side of mixed grains or pasta.

Though I relish intricate, kicked-up marinades and sauces for grilled meats and chicken, my sensibilities consider most of them an intrusion upon the essence of grilled vegetables. The following Almond-Dill Pesto is a tasty, but optional, embellishment.

Using charcoal versus gas grill will always be a popular summer-time debate, even when grilling vegetables. The bottom line is most foods barbecued, grilled or smoked over hard woods and/or charcoal are generally tastier; but gas grills require far less finesse and fuss.

Wire vegetable grilling baskets are handy for grilling vegetables but I don’t bother, unless I’m grilling small pieces or using only one type of vegetable. Long-handled utensils like basting brushes for olive oil, spatulas, and tongs make the job of grilling much easier.

Like beauty pageant contestants garnishing admiration as they take their turn down the aisle, the parade of seasonal vegetables tantalize as they appear in produce bins and on farmer’s tables. Through spring’s first asparagus to autumn’s late squash, this recipe suggests contestants for your grill in the coming months; add or subtract according to personal whim.

Recipe: Mixed Grilled Vegetable Platter with Pesto Dipping Sauce


  • 1/2 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 1 1/2 packed cups fresh dill
  • 1/2 cup toasted almonds
  • 2/3’s cup extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for brushing on vegetables while grilling
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 1 large red onion, cut into 1/3-inch thick slices
  • 1 globe eggplant, striped with a vegetable peeler then cut into 1/2-inch slices
  • 2-3 plum tomatoes, washed, halved and seeded
  • 4-8 small to medium-sized zucchini, washed and cut in half lengthwise
  • 1 portabella mushroom, stem removed, gills scraped out, washed and sliced


  1. To make the Dill-Almond Pesto, place garlic and dill in the bowl of a food processor or blender. Pulse until well combined.
  2. Add almonds then process, with off-and-on pulses, until nuts are coarsely chopped and combined with dill and garlic. Slowly add oil to bowl until mixture is combined.
  3. Remove mixture from processor bowl, transferring to a bowl large enough to accommodate pesto. Stir in Parmesan. Season to taste with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Reserve. (May be made up to 24 hours in advance, refrigerated.)
  4. To ensure the onion slices don’t fall apart, insert a toothpick into the side of each onion. Lay eggplant slices on a baking sheet lined with paper towels, lightly sprinkle with kosher salt, and allow excess moisture to drain 30 minutes.
  5. Prepare a gas or charcoal grill to medium to medium-high heat.
  6. On a well-oiled grill grate or in a vegetable grilling basket, grill onion slices 6-8 minutes per side; eggplant slices 4-6 minutes per side; tomato halves, zucchini and portabella slices 2-4 minutes per side. Brush vegetables with additional olive oil while grilling, removing vegetables from the grill when they are tender but not mushy.
  7. Arrange on a platter with reserved Dill-Almond Pesto.

Time: 45 minutes

Number of servings (yield): 3-6 servings, depending on other foods served

Copyright © Peggy Lampman’s dinnerFeed.

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