The Hardware Store Find That Makes Grilling Veggies Way Easier

Grilling your vegetables gives them such a nice flavor profile. Grilled veggies are the perfect side dish for your summer barbecue, a great addition to pasta, or can even stand alone as their own meal with a protein pairing. And while grilling them is a simple process, you might have noticed it can be challenging to get them off that grill top without squishing or tearing them. There is one perfect solution to adequately removing those grilled veggies: don't use a spatula — use a paint scraper.

Hear us out: This hardware store tool actually resembles a spatula in its shape and purpose. It's meant to get under paint to scrape it off the wall. But since paint is harder to remove than food from a pan or grill, the paint scraper has a sharp edge to aid in the process. And that's precisely why it's the perfect tool to get under those grilled veggies and remove them from the grill top without ruining their appearance.

Use a paint scraper to remove grilled veggies

You might not be able to find a paint scraper in the kitchenware department, but you can certainly pick one up at your local hardware store. At the end of the flat tool is a sharp edge. When those veggies start sticking to the grill grates or grill pan, the sharp edge of the paint scraper will help to remove them from the grill gently; the thin metal also helps the scraper get underneath them easier compared to a spatula.

Spatulas work for plenty of other foods, such as meat and fish. But a burger patty can handle a little more than a thin grilled veggie can, meaning the spatula won't work quite as well for delicate produce. Keeping both on hand when you're grilling isn't a bad idea. And if you're using a metal pan on the stovetop, the paint scraper works here, too. Just be careful not to use it on nonstick cookware; the sharp edge will likely damage its nonstick coating.

Other ways to ensure your veggies don't stick to the grill or pan

If you're still worried about ruining those perfect-looking grilled vegetables when you try to remove them, you can take a few steps to make the process even easier. First, add some oil to the pan before adding the veggies. The oil will not only help to brown the veggies nicely but will also act as a nonstick barrier between the veggies and the grill or pan. When used in moderation, oils like olive oil and sunflower oil are also heart-healthy, so you don't have to worry about ruining the nutritional value of your veggies.

Make sure the veggies are well-browned before trying to flip or remove them. As the veggies brown and caramelize, they'll naturally release from the cooktop on which they're cooking. If you try to remove them too soon, you'll have a more challenging time because they're more affixed to the pan. Test this out by loosely bringing the scraper under one piece of the vegetable to see if it is easily removed; if not, wait a couple more minutes. These easy methods, coupled with your new paint scraper, will have you serving picture-perfect grilled vegetables in no time.