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This grilled vegetable salad is perfectly charred vegetables and giant warm croutons all tossed in a simple balsamic vinaigrette. All it takes is 2 bowls, 1 whisk, and 30 minutes to make. Throw some protein on the grill with the veggies and call it dinner!
This is one of those side dishes that is perfect to serve when guests come over and easy enough to make quickly when you get home from a long day at work. It's the best of both worlds.
The BBQ does most of the work turning the veggies into smoky little flavor bites. Once they come off the grill, they're tossed in a simple balsamic vinaigrette and voilà, you have yourself a delicious grilled vegetable salad!
Why this grilled vegetable salad deserves a spot at your backyard bbq
- This salad with grilled veggies is a true celebration of the abundance of fresh produce that summer offers. You can follow this recipe to a tee or you can throw in the veg you have in your fridge, it's very versatile and delicious no matter what you toss on the grill or in the grill basket.
- Talk about easy. This dish comes together in half an hour and requires very little cleanup – bonus!
- Warm, giant croutons. Yum. Don't think we need to elaborate on this one!
- It's super nutrient-dense, so even if you're serving up some calorie-heavy hitters at your next bbq, this grilled vegetable salad makes for a nice balance. Not to mention, your vegetarian friends and family members will be happy, too!
Lots of these ingredients you'll have in your kitchen already, but you can copy this list right into your phone so you know exactly what to pick up at the store.
Grilled vegetables are so simple and so delicious. Getting them on the grill or in a grill basket is the perfect way to cook veggies, especially in the summer. Here's what you want to prep and cook for your grilled vegetable salad:
- Bell peppers: You'll need 2 medium bell peppers, cut in half. Bell peppers are naturally sweet which goes nicely with the warmth and charring from the bbq. They also don't lost their shape as they cook, so they're easy to handle.
- Globe eggplant: Chop 1 eggplant into ½ inch thick slices or rounds. The eggplant will soak up all the flavor of the spices and becomes super tender when grilled. It will also absorb the balsamic vinaigrette once you assemble your salad.
- Zucchini: Cut 1 medium zucchini in half for grilling. Much like the eggplant, the zucchini will become very tender on the grill and act as a vehicle for all the seasoning and dressing.
- Red onion: Red onions are bright and crunchy, and they hold their texture well when grilled. For this recipe, cut 1 red onion into 2 circles so that they can lay flat when on the grill.
- Cherry tomatoes: For this grilled vegetable salad recipe, you'll need to 2 handfuls of cherry tomatoes. You can pop them on the grill for ~ 1 minute, or you can choose to throw them in the salad raw.
- Microgreens or arugula: You won't grill the lettuce, rather add it to the bowl at the end for some brightness and freshness.
- Olive oil, Italian seasoning:, sea salt and pepper: You'll put all the chopped vegetables into a bowl and coat them with olive oil, and sprinkle with Italian seasoning, sea salt, and pepper to taste. This will enhance the flavor of the smoky veggies and help them not stick to the grill grates.
There are other veggies that would be nice additions or substitutions to this grilled vegetable salad, this way you can customize your salad and/or use up what's in your fridge. See below for some more ideas on how to customize your grilled vegetable salad!
How to make a simple balsamic vinaigrette
This is a classic vinaigrette that tastes like perfection on grilled vegetable salad, but is one of those recipes you can keep in your back pocket so a dressing that pairs well with an endless number of dishes. Here's what you need for the balsamic vinaigrette:
- Olive oil: The foundation of any good vinaigrette, olive oil has a light taste and does a fantastic job coating everything in the dish.
- Balsamic vinegar: This adds the acid to the vinaigrette, however, if you don't have any in the cupboard, you can sub sherry vinegar.
- Tarragon: This herb adds a light liquorice or fennel sort of taste. It can sometimes be tricky to find tarragon in the grocery store; if this is the case, you can substitute finely minced oregano or marjoram.
- Dijon mustard: This gives a nice tang and spice to the dressing. You only need ½ teaspoon to give all the flavor you need.
How to make giant, grilled croutons
These warm, grilled croutons put this grilled vegetable salad over the top. Every crouton is like a hidden gem in this salad. By all accounts, do not skip this step!
- Loaf of bread: Take ¼ loaf of bread and rip it into 2-inch chunks. This doesn't need to be perfect or uniform, and it's best to use a loaf of bread that isn't already cut into slices. A French loaf, sourdough, or rye bread will work well.
- Olive oil: You'll combine your pieces of bread with olive oil in a medium-sized bowl and then toss in the seasonings so that the spices adhere nicely to your croutons.
- Seasoning: Sea salt, Italian seasoning, black pepper, and chili flakes will give your croutons a big punch of flavor.
Substitutions and Additions
We've been talking about one of the big benefits of whipping up a grilled vegetable salad for dinner, a backyard bbq, or potluck is that you can use up lots of the veg in your fridge. Here are some ideas that would make for nice additions to this grilled vegetable salad recipe or substitutions:
- Other grill-able veggies: On top of the list for this recipe, you can also choose to include or swap in mushrooms, asparagus, squash, or potatoes/sweet potato.
- Extra protein: If you're looking to give this salad some added protein, you can include plant-based protein like chickpeas or quinoa, or you can grill animal protein alongside your veggies. Pork chops, grilled chicken, or beef would be good choices.
- Garnishes: Fresh herbs like cilantro or parsley are nice additions, and/or you can sprinkle some cheese on top of your salad like parmesan, feta cheese, or goat cheese.
What to serve with grilled vegetable salad
You can absolutely eat this grilled vegetable salad on its own, or you can include it as a side dish to a larger meal. Here are some ideas of what to serve with it:
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar (can sub balsamic vinegar)
- 1 teaspoon tarragon (finely minced)
- ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
Grilled Vegetables salad
- 2 medium bell peppers (cut in half)
- 1 globe eggplants (sliced ½-inch thick)
- 1 medium zucchini (cut in half)
- 1 medium red onion (cut into 2 circles)
- 2 handfuls cherry tomatoes
- Microgreens or arugula (to serve)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- ½ teaspoon EACH: sea salt and pepper
Giant Hot Croutons
- ¼ loaf bread (unsliced and ripped into 2-inch chunks)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ teaspoon EACH: sea salt and Italian seasoning
- ¼ teaspoon EACH: black pepper and chili flakes
- Add the dressing ingredients to a small jar and shake well.3 tablespoons olive oil, 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar, 1 teaspoon tarragon, ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
- Preheat your BBQ to medium-high heat. Put the bell peppers, eggplant, zucchini, red onion, and cherry tomatoes in a large bowl and toss with the olive oil, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper.2 medium bell peppers, 1 globe eggplants, 1 medium zucchini, 1 medium red onion, 2 handfuls cherry tomatoes, 2 tablespoons olive oil, ½ teaspoon EACH: sea salt and pepper, 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- BBQ all the veggies, working in batches if needed, until there are grill marks on both sides. The cherry tomatoes will cook in about 1 minute while everything else will take 6 to 8 minutes to cook.
- In a medium-sized bowl, toss the bread chunks with olive oil, salt, Italian seasoning, pepper, and chili flakes. Place the bread chunks on the BBQ and grill, turning as needed until there are grill marks on all sides and the bread is toasted.¼ loaf bread, 2 tablespoons olive oil, ½ teaspoon EACH: sea salt and Italian seasoning, ¼ teaspoon EACH: black pepper and chili flakes, Microgreens or arugula
- When the veggies are cool enough to handle, chop them into bite-sized pieces and then add them to a salad bowl.
- Add the croutons to the bowl and then pour the dressing over the top and toss well. Add a handful of arugula or micro-greens and serve right away.
We have thoroughly tested this recipe for accuracy. However, individual results may vary. See our full recipe disclosure here.