Grilled vegetables get dressed up with a fun twist on chimichurri by adding avocado to the sauce. This flavorful and creamy topping served with lightly charred veggies and grilled bread is an easy vegan side dish perfect for summertime cookouts and picnics.
Thank you to Williams-Sonoma Canada for sponsoring this post. All opinions are my own.
This easy Argentinian-inspired chimichurri sauce with avocado features the usual suspects: lots of fresh herbs and garlic in a zippy oil and vinegar dressing. Serve over grilled veggies for a vegetable salad that is a vibrant addition to any summer meal!
Something magical happens to veggies when they’re grilled – they develop a smoky flavor and their sweetness intensifies as their natural sugars caramelize. Choose any mix of your favorite vegetables, grill them, and then serve with spoonfuls of the avocado chimichurri sauce. This vegetarian side dish that can be served warm or chilled.
What is Chimichurri Sauce?
Chimichurri sauce originates from Argentina and Uruguay. It’s a raw sauce often made of parsley, oregano, garlic, olive oil, and a hefty splash of vinegar. It looks a little like a loose pesto, although it’s much bolder and acidic in flavor. Best known as a condiment to serve over grilled meat, but is great as a marinade, dressing or dip!
While green chimichurri may be a little more familiar, red chimichurri is another robust and flavorful sauce. It is less heavy on vibrant green herbs, but makes use of dried red chili, smoked paprika or even blended roasted red pepper. Red chimichurri is smokier and tends to have more heat than green chimichurri.
This version which has diced avocado added to a green chimichurri is not traditional at all, but delicious nonetheless! The avocado provides additional interest with a creamy yet chunky texture, visual appeal, and is more satiating. It’s the sauce grilled vegetables have been dreaming of!
Grilling Indoors or Outdoors?
Whether you have an outdoor barbeque grill or stove-top cast-iron grill pan for indoor grilling, these grilled vegetables with avocado chimichurri are easy to prepare and even easier to devour!
If you’ve been around here a while, you know how I feel about the merits of cast-iron vegan (in fact, I wrote a whole book on it!) Pictured in this post is my latest cast-iron obsession: a sleek and easy to clean grill from Williams-Sonoma Canada. While this grill is perfect for the stove-top, you can also use it on your outdoor barbeque – it’s great for small items that would otherwise slip through the barbeque grates. It’s also a beautiful serving piece. And speaking of serving, all of the beautiful outdoor dishes and glasses in this post are available at Williams-Sonoma Canada, too. Can you believe they aren’t real ceramics and glass? They’re so convincing and yet virtually unbreakable!
Feature Ingredients and Substitutions
Vegetables for Grilling:
Use the vegetables listed in this recipe as a guide, not a firm instruction. The best veggies to grill are the ones you love! Most work well on the grill with the exception of thin delicate ones like spinach. Even romaine lettuce grills well (just cut the head in half top-to-bottom and grill cut-side down.) For pretty presentation, use a variety of shapes, colors, and textures of vegetables in planning your grilled vegetable platter.
The most important thing to consider when preparing your veggies is how they are cut. Evenly cut pieces will cook at that same rate so you don’t end up with a mix of burned, dried out vegetables with some raw ones. Keep an eye on them and flip them once they have started to soften and have grill marks. Most vegetables will grill nicely in 2-10 minutes.
For denser vegetables like potatoes or big, older carrots or beets, you can boil them until they are barely fork tender to speed up the grilling process.
If you’re not a fan of cilantro, you can use all flat-leaf Italian parsley. Fresh oregano is delicious, but dried works well, too! Use 2 teaspoons of dried oregano in lieu of the 2 tablespoons of fresh, if desired. Chimichurri is like pesto or salsa where the measurements can vary wildly so if you’re making alterations, taste as you go to get the flavors you like best!
Extra-Virgin Olive Oil:
For both the chimichurri sauce and when brushing the vegetables, we’re using olive oil. As the olive oil is one of the prominent ingredients, use a good quality extra-virgin olive oil which has a pleasant smell and slight fruity flavor. Lesser quality olive oils don’t smell or taste nice on their own. If you don’t have olive oil, you can use another type of neutral tasting, high smoke-point oil like avocado, canola, or grapeseed oil.
Red Wine Vinegar:
Vinegar is one of the defining flavors of chimichurri. With it’s rich flavor, red wine vinegar really rounds out this green sauce. That said, if you don’t have any, apple cider vinegar would be a great substitute. Otherwise, for a citrus punch, you could use fresh lemon juice.
1-2 tablespoons of finely diced red onion can be used in lieu of half a small shallot.
Crushed Red Pepper Flakes:
Crushed red peppers are added for a bit of heat. If you like a lot of heat, finely diced red chili or jalapeño pepper is a tasty addition or simply increase the crushed red pepper flakes to taste.
Tips for the Best Grilled Vegetables with Avocado Chimichurri Sauce
Finely chop the herbs by hand for the best flavor and prettiest sauce. If you choose to use a food processor, take care not to over blend. Over blended herbs can give the chimichurri a bitter flavor.
For the juiciest, most flavorful vegetables, season them with salt after grilling. Adding salt before grilling helps to draw out their juices leaving you with drier veggies.
Do not overcook your veggies. Tender-crisp is the best for texture and flavor. Grilling at a high heat gets those pretty grill lines forming while quickly cooking the vegetables. Try not to move the vegetables around at all so the char lines are well defined.
Have all of your vegetables, oil and equipment ready before starting to grill. This creates a stress-free experience so you can simply focus on monitoring the quick-cooking vegetables.
Serving & Storage Suggestions
Grilled Vegetables with Avocado Chimichurri Sauce are best served immediately. The vegetables will soften over time but will remain delicious for up to a few days. Store them separately from the chimichurri in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator. Reheat them if desired, but they are great served at room temperature or chilled.
Freezing: Like pesto, chimichurri can be frozen. Just leave out the avocado and freeze in an airtight container for up to a few months. Grilled vegetables can be frozen for up to a few months, but will soften considerably when defrosted. Reheat in the oven to help dry them out while they warm up.
Make Ahead: Prepare the chimichurri without the avocado up to a couple of days in advance. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator then toss in the freshly diced avocado when you’re ready to serve. Avocados are best served straight away because they oxidize once peeled and cut, softening and going black. While they will still be safe to eat, they aren’t very appetizing to look at!
If you’ve already tossed the avocados with the chimichurri sauce and then have leftovers, make sure the pieces of avocado are submerged in the dressing to help slow discoloration. If completely covered, the avocado chimichurri will stay green for a couple of days in the fridge.
Using Up Leftover Grilled Vegetables & Avocado Chimichurri Sauce
These are the best kind of leftovers! Here are some ideas to use them up:
- tossing in a potato, pasta, or green leafy salad
- adding to mezze platter or vegan charcuterie board
- topping baked or crispy smashed potatoes
- adding to a grain bowl
- topping over hummus on no-knead bread or toast
- layering in a sandwich with vegan cheese
More Vegan Sides and Light Meals
If you make these Grilled Vegetables with Avocado Chimichurri Sauce, please give them a rating in the recipe card and leave a comment below! Follow along on Instagram where you can tag me in your creations using my recipes! You can also follow me on Pinterest for vegan recipe inspiration and on Facebook. Thank you for reading!
Grilled Vegetables with Avocado Chimichurri Sauce
For the Avocado Chimichurri
- ½ cup finely minced parsley
- ½ cup finely minced cilantro (see notes)
- 2 tbsp finely minced fresh oregano leaves (or 1-2 tsp dried)
- ½ small shallot, minced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup red wine vinegar
- 1 tsp coarse salt (or ½ tsp table salt)
- ¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes (or 1 finely diced red chili or jalapeño pepper, for spicy chimichurri)
- 1 avocado, diced small
For the Grilled Vegetables
- 2-3 lbs mixed vegetables, see the following suggestions:
- 2 -3 bell peppers, quartered, stems and seeds removed (or 6-8 sweet mini peppers, whole)
- 1-2 zucchini or summer squash, sliced ½”(1¼cm) thick (or sliced in half lengthwise if small)
- 1-2 Japanese eggplant, sliced ½" (1¼cm) thick (or sliced in half lengthwise)
- 2 ears sweet corn, husks removed
- 8 ounces small radishes, trimmed
- 1 bunch asparagus, tough ends snapped off
- 8 ounces cherry tomatoes
- 4 young, thin carrots, halved lengthwise
- scallions, trimmed or sweet onions cut into ½"(1¼cm) slices
- 2 lemons, halved and visible seeds removed
- 4-6 pieces flatbread or thick sliced crusty bread
- ⅓ cup olive oil, for grilling
- salt and ground pepper, to taste
- Combine all of the ingredients for the chimichurri except for the avocado in a jar with a tight fitting cover, or a small bowl. Shake the jar to mix the ingredients, or whisk together if using a bowl. Cover tightly and set aside to infuse the oil while you grill the vegetables.
- For stovetop: Heat a cast iron grill pan skillet over medium-high heat. For outdoor grilling: Preheat the barbeque grill to medium-high (400-450°F/177-204°C).
- Set all of the prepared vegetables on a large baking tray. Drizzle with olive oil, and toss or brush to coat evenly. Brush both sides of the bread with oil.
- Grill the vegetables: Depending on the size of your grill pan or outdoor grill, you may need to cook the vegetables in batches. Start with the densest vegetables which will need to cook the longest, turning them once halfway through (try not to move them too much so they develop nice char lines), using the following as a guide:8-10 minutes for corn (cut into 2-4 pieces, if desired, once cooked)6-8 minutes for bell peppers (remove skins, if desired, once cooked)5-7 minutes for zucchini/summer squash, eggplant, mushrooms, and asparagus4-6 minutes for asparagus and scallions or sliced onions2-3 minutes for lemon halves (do not flip)1-2 minutes for small radishes, and cherry tomatoes (until they are starting to burst and have some char)~1 minute for the flatbread or sliced breadAbsorbent vegetables like eggplant, zucchini or mushrooms may need to be brushed with more oil before flipping to prevent sticking. The vegetables should have grill marks and be tender. Do not overcook. Remove them from the grill as they are done, season with salt and pepper to taste, and place back on the baking sheet or arrange on a serving platter. Grill the bread last.
- Just before serving, shake/whisk the chimichurri well once more and gently toss in the diced avocado to coat. Serve spooned over or alongside the warm or room temperature grilled vegetables, bread and a squeeze of grilled lemon. See blog post for ideas on using up leftovers.
The Nutrition Information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the Nutrition Information for any recipe on this site cannot be guaranteed.
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