Sometimes the simplest meals are the best! In this grilled vegetable pasta, eggplants, bell peppers, and baby zucchini are tossed in a simple blend of spices, then grilled to bring out their best qualities. Toss with pappardelle or fettuccini and finish with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice for a delicious and easy weeknight dinner!
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Ever since I got my new Weber grill last spring, I’ve been a grilling addict. I just want to grill EVERYTHING. Crispy skinned blackened salmon? Throw it on the grill. Turkey burgers? No brainer. Grill. Pizza? Grill it on a pizza stone. Fajitas? Grill ’em.
Honestly, my stove and oven usage has gone way down since I got that thing. Probably the best money I ever spent on cooking equipment, and that’s saying a lot coming from a foodie food blogger.
Although anything would have been an upgrade from my rusty old two-burner grill with the broken cast iron grate and the igniter that didn’t work, my dad convinced me to spring for a Weber Spirit instead of a less expensive brand.
Eight months later, and I’m just like my dad: grilling everything possible, multiple days per week, in the middle of January. I just needed the appropriate tool to release my inner grillmaster.
A little time on the grill just adds so much flavor to anything you cook, whether it’s meat, pizza, or I’d even say especially veggies. Thus, this grilled vegetable pasta was born.
About grilled vegetable pasta
There’s nothing that compares to perfectly tender grilled vegetables with just a bit of charring on the outside. They need little seasoning other than just time on the grill to let their intrinsic flavors emerge.
And all they need after that to become a complete meal is a little pasta.
For this dish, I’ve used pappardelle, which is pasta in a wide, flat ribbon shape — like a double-wide fettuccini noodle — but you can absolutely use fettuccini instead. The pappardelle makes it feel like an extra-special meal to me, if you can find it! I got it in a bag full of little pasta nests.
For the vegetables, I’ve used eggplant, bell peppers, and baby zucchinis, but if baby zucchinis aren’t in season you can use full-sized ones instead. I just think the tiny whole (or halved) zucchini squashes add a nice variety in size and shape to the final dish.
Plus, they’re just so dang cute.
Before grilling, I toss the cut vegetables in some olive oil, salt, and pepper, along with coriander, garlic, and red pepper flakes. It’s a flavor combination that has become a favorite since trying a Chilean seasoned salt from Try the World.
I grill the vegetables for about 10 minutes total, tossing only once halfway through to allow time for the vegetables to develop nice charring on each side.
And after that?
All it needs is just a splash more olive oil on the pasta, and the zest and juice from a large lemon. This brightens the dish and brings out the flavors.
It’s truly delicious in its simplicity.
Sautéeing vegetables on the grill
You may be wondering how I’ve cooked all those little bite-sized pieces of vegetables on a grill without losing them through the grates to be consumed by the flames.
You can use something like a grill basket to contain them (this one is wide and flat and looks like it would be perfect for sautéed veggies) or you can use grill mats, which are what I have.
Grill mats are thin, flexible, reusable nonstick surfaces you can roll up and store in a box the size of a box of aluminum foil. They’re inexpensive, take up almost no space to store, and are VERY worth it.
The nonstick aspect means they’re great for grilling delicate things like fish, and because they’re so thin you still get nice grill marks from the grates themselves, even through the grill mats! Best of all, they solidly cover the grill grates, which means you can sauté things like cut veggies or shrimp without worrying about losing them.
Two grill mats are the perfect size to cover the whole surface of my three-burner grill if I’m making something like this grilled vegetable pasta or fajitas.
Do I need grill mats to make grilled vegetable pasta?
If you don’t have grill mats or a grill basket, you can still make this grilled vegetable pasta tonight; just leave your veggies in larger pieces so they won’t fall into the grill.
Half-inch slabs of eggplant, carefully placed baby zucchinis, and quartered bell peppers will do just fine — they just require a little more individual attention than tossing a bunch of cut veggies onto a couple grill mats.
How long should I grill the vegetables?
For eggplant, bell peppers, and zucchini, I find 5 minutes per side to be the perfect amount of time to get nice charring while not overcooking the veggies. They turn out perfectly tender, not mushy, which brings out their best natural qualities and flavors!
Looking for more things to grill?
While these recipes aren’t originally written for the grill, you can easily adapt them with the instructions below!
I make this on the grill all the time now, using a grill mat to keep the salmon from sticking! Just preheat the grill on high for 10 minutes or so, and cook on the grill mat for the same duration as written in the recipe!
Make these on the grill as you would any burger, about 6-7 minutes per side. If you have the grill I have or another one with a side burner, it’s perfect for keeping the Hollandaise sauce warm!
Preheat your grill to medium heat (350-400 degrees) and grill skin-side down over direct heat for 5-6 minutes or until there are grill marks. Then flip them over and move to indirect heat for another 30 minutes or so, until a thermometer registers 165°F when inserted into thickest part of the thigh.
For the veggies
- 1 large eggplant
- 1 red bell pepper
- 1 orange or yellow bell pepper
- 8 oz. Baby zucchinis or squash full sized ones are ok too if the baby ones are out of season or unavailable
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1 tsp Kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp Black pepper
- 1/2 tsp Garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp Coriander
- 1/4 tsp Red pepper flakes
For the pasta
- 8 oz. Pappardelle or fettuccini pasta
- Zest and juice of 1 large lemon or 2 small lemons
- 1/4 cup olive oil or less, to taste
- Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
- Cut eggplant and bell peppers into bite-sized strips, about 1/2 inch by 1.5 inches. Slice baby zucchinis in half lengthwise if they’re on the larger side or leave whole if they’re small.If not using grill mats or a grill basket, cut eggplant into half-inch slices and quarter bell peppers, removing core and seeds.
- Toss veggies in olive oil, kosher salt, garlic powder, coriander, red pepper flakes, and black pepper.
- Preheat grill on high for 10-15 minutes. Turn burners down to medium, cover grill with grill mats and dump veggies on top. If not using grill mats or a grill basket, arrange veggies directly on grill grates.
- Grill vegetables undisturbed for about 5 minutes, or until there is some charring on the bottom, before flipping with a large grill spatula. Cook an additional 5 minutes and remove to large bowl.
- Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions.
- Add the pasta, lemon zest and lemon juice to the bowl.
- Toss and add olive oil (up to about 1/4 cup), kosher salt, and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.