Vegetable Dishes and Sides for Your Asado Meal

“When we think of Argentine cuisine, we think of beef.”

Those were our words, about three months ago, right here on this blog.

And if you read most of our entries here, you know we love the idea of grilling a nice, juicy steak or a succulent piece of chicken.

But while meat might be the star of your cookout, it still needs its supporting cast. (You’ve also got your vegetarian guests to consider.)

With that in mind, we’ve put together a few suggestions for vegetable dishes and sides you can serve with your next asado meal.

Berenjena en Escabeche

This classic dish works as an appetizer or when paired with a meat. It’s a mix of eggplant, red pepper flakes and olive oil, hence its name. The literal translation is “marinated eggplant,” and you’ll need at least two days to let this dish marinate.

To prepare it, you’ll need:

2 medium eggplants, peeled
3 tablespoons of kosher salt
2 cups of white wine vinegar
2 cups of water
3 bay leaves
3 crushed garlic cloves
4 tablespoons of dried oregano
1 tablespoon of crushed red pepper
1 cup of olive oil
Start by cutting the peeled eggplants into thick slices, roughly ½ inches.

Put one layer of the eggplant in a colander and sprinkle it with salt. Keep making layers and repeating until you’ve used all the salt and eggplant.

The eggplant will drain, so be sure you put the colander in a sink or over a plate. Wait 30 minutes, press on the eggplant to drain more of the moisture and shake off the salt.

Give the eggplant a quick rinse to remove more of the salt, and pat it dry with paper towels.

Boil water and vinegar in a sauce pan along with the bay leaves. Place the eggplant in the sauce pan and cook it at a slow boil over a medium heat for about 4 minutes. Drain the eggplant.

Whisk the remaining ingredients – garlic, oil, pepper flakes, oregano – together.

Pour a tablespoon of dressing at the bottom of a ceramic or glass dish, and place a layer of eggplant on top. Top that layer with more dressing, and then repeat. Add more oil on top if necessary, and let the dish marinate in your refrigerator for at least two days for best results.

Ensalada de Zanahoria y Huevo

This might sound complicated, but it’s really a simple dish: carrot salad with egg. All you’ll need are some grated carrots and chopped hardboiled eggs, mixed together and dressed with salt, olive oil and vinegar. It’s a nice mixture of salt and sweetness, with the eggs providing a nice source of protein for any vegetarians at your dinner table.

Grilled Eggplant

Why should steak have all the fun on you asado grill? Follow this recipe next time you have a vegetarian guest.

To prepare it, you’ll need:

3 small eggplants (4-6 ounces each)
2 cloves of minced garlic
3 tablespoons of olive oil
1 teaspoon of oregano
1 teaspoon of dried basil
½ teaspoon of dried thyme
1 teaspoon of sweet or hot paprika
½ teaspoon of hot pepper flakes
Salt and black pepper, to taste
Cut the eggplants in half lengthwise. Mix garlic and oil in a small bowl, and then brush the mixture over the sides of the eggplants. Combine the various herbs and spices in another bowl and set them aside.

Grill the eggplants with the cut sides down until nicely brown, for about 3 to 4 minutes. Lightly brush the sides of the eggplant with the garlic/oil blend.

Flip the eggplant and brush the tops with the remaining oil. Sprinkle the herbs, salt and pepper over the eggplants, and cook with the cut sides up for another 6-8 minutes until the flesh is soft. Serve them fresh from the grill.

Cook like a Gaucho with our Latin-Inspired Grills

Visit the rest of our blog for grilling tips, recipes, grill maintenance advice, and much more. We feature many other recipes, including traditional Latin-inspired meals, and other traditional Argentine vegetable dishes.

No matter what you’re grilling, a Gaucho Grill will give you more room with which to cook. We’ve modeled our grills after the traditional parillas of Argentina. Visit our website to learn how we can help you prepare for your next cookout.