This Christmas side dish called Grilled Baby Veggies with Arugula-Mint Pesto Sauce is filled with nice smoky flavor, thanks to the majority of cooking time taking place with grill cover on. The recipe introduced here can yield 10 servings. It takes about 30 minutes in preparation and 25 minutes in grilling. 



Photo by Sharon Pittaway on Unsplash  




1 cup lightly packed arugula

1/2 cup lightly packed fresh mint leaves

1/2 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted*

1 tablespoon lime juice

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese

Coarse sea salt

Ground black pepper

12 baby carrots with tops, trimmed

6 small red shallots, peeled

6 miniature sweet peppers, halved and seeded

2 cups cremini mushrooms

6 baby zucchini and/or yellow summer squash, halved lengthwise

10 - 12 miniature pattypan squash

Nonstick cooking spray

12 baby heirloom tomatoes

Fresh mint leaves (optional)




Prepare sauce. Combine the following ingredients in a blender or food processor: arugula, the 1/2 cup mint, the oil, pine nuts, lime juice, and garlic. Cover and blend or process until it’s very smooth. You may scrape down sides if necessary. Then add cheese. Cover and blend or process just until combined. Finally season with salt and black pepper. Thus sauce is ready.


Prepare vegetables. For carrots, halve those large ones lengthwise and cook carrots in a small amount of boiling water. Cook for about 5 minutes or until they become tender. Next drain carrots well. Then place the following ingredients in a resealable bag set in a large bowl: carrots, shallots, sweet peppers, mushrooms, zucchini, and pattypan squash. Add 1/4 cup of the sauce to the bag and seal bag. Turn to coat sauce evenly over vegetables.   


Grill the vegetable mixture. Lightly coat an unheated grill wok with cooking spray. If you are using a charcoal or gas grill, you can preheat the grill wok on the rack of a covered grill for 1 minute. Grill the vegetable mixture in wok, covered, for about 25 minutes or until it becomes tender. During grilling, remember to stir occasionally. Next, stir tomatoes into vegetable mixture. 


In a small serving bowl place the remaining sauce. Arrange vegetables on a platter and serve with sauce. You can sprinkle vegetables with additional mint leaves if you prefer. 


Tips: To toast pine nuts, you need to preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a shallow baking pan, spread pine nuts evenly. Bake for about 5-10 minutes or until the color turns to light brown. Remember to watch closely while baking and you need to shake once or twice. 



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