When it comes to healthy and appetizing barbecues, no one brings the heat quite like celebrity chef and Chopped Canada judge Mark McEwan. Known for cooking with fresh vegetables and plant-based foods, we asked the star for his techniques on grilling veggies the right way.

Asparagus is a popular vegetable around the barbecue. Sure, you could steam or roast it, but nothing beats the flavour of asparagus that’s simply grilled.

“Trim the ends off and marinate it with olive oil and salt and pepper,” says Mark. “Lay it at a 90-degree angle on the grill at a low heat. Then, put a warm vinaigrette on the top.”

One must-have item around the grill is tin foil. “I’ll take my beets out of the garden, scrub them, quarter them and place them down on two sheets of foil paper. I like putting on olive oil, thyme, smashed garlic cloves, and salt and pepper. I seal it with another sheet of foil on top and fold the edges in like a Christmas package,” says Mark. It’s best to leave the foiled beets on  the top rack of the grill for about an hour.

If beets don’t whet your appetite, Mark says you can use this easy technique on carrots, sweet onions or peppers. If you prefer your peppers with some grill marks, Mark has the perfect method  for you.

“I take a whole pepper and rub it with a tiny bit of olive oil. I’ll put it over the hottest part on the barbecue, make it completely black and then I’ll peel the skin off. Once I pull the core off and take the seeds off, I can marinate the peppers which is fabulous,” he says.

Mark’s simple marinade includes water, vinegar, chilies, fresh herbs and a small amount of olive oil. Try any one of our 10 Great Marinades for Grilling Season.

Completely charring a pepper makes removing the skin a lot easier. “It actually cooks the pepper to another dimension where it has a different taste. It you use a marinade, you can leave it in the fridge for a week!”

Looking for more grilling tips? Check out: 12 BBQ Hacks to Make You a Grilling Superstar.