Vegetarian Grilling Techniques
Here’s a summertime grilling secret for you: vegetarians and vegans love grilling out just as much as meat lovers! The number of people choosing to lead a vegetarian lifestyle is increasing year after year. As a vegetarian myself, I’d like to share some of my most favorite recipes and ideas with you!
Grilled Veggie Kabobs
Veggie kabobs can be made with any type of vegetable that looks good sliced in 1/4 inch slices or one-inch chunks. You can never go wrong with kabobs. They look beautiful and are enjoyed by everyone, not just your vegetarian guests!
Don’t grill them with the meat; that takes away from the vegetable taste, and it also defeats the purpose of providing your vegetarian friends with something special. Remember, they don’t eat meat. (That means they don’t want their grilled vegetables to taste like meat fat.)
I have a variety of skewers for different occasions. When I’m grilling at home for the family, I stick with the straight skewers. I also have circle skewers, some that look like swords, spears and other odd shapes. They add fun and conversation to every barbeque.
Here’s one of my favorite veggie kabob recipes:
4 Medium Red Onions
2 Medium Zucchini
2 Medium Yellow Summer Squash
12 Cremini Mushrooms
1 Red Bell Pepper
1 Green Bell Pepper
1 Medium Eggplant
Cut all vegetables into one-inch cubes or slices depending on how you plan to skewer them. Marinate them for 4 hours in 1/2 cup of olive oil, 3tbsp lemon juice, 2 tsp salt, 1tsp pepper, 1 1/2 tsp dried oregano and 2 cloves of garlic. Stir occasionally to cover thoroughly and evenly. When it’s time to grill them, choose your favorite skewers and thread them alternating colors and tastes. Leave a small amount of room between each vegetable for air and heat circulation. Grill about 25 minutes or until all are golden and tender.
Alternatively you can add firm chunked tofu to the marinating mixture for the last 2 hours. Thread using 2 pieces of vegetables to one piece of tofu when threading everything onto kabob rods or skewers. Add any other vegetable you like to the mix. Ask your guests if they have a favorite vegetable.
Tofu sticks to grills, so use a good cooking spray or oil. Extra-firm tofu is best but firm works too. Tofu absorbs the flavor of the foods you cook it with. To get the maximum effect, freeze and thaw the tofu before marinating it. Freezing will remove a lot of the natural moisture from it. After it thaws, cut it into 1 inch pieces and marinate it for at least 30 minutes before grilling.
Any barbeque marinade will suffice. You can even use your favorite salad dressing, barbeque sauce, vinaigrette or soy sauce. A sauce that contains sugar is best. The sugar will caramelize and make a crunchy outer layer. Honey, sugar and even maple syrup will cause a caramelized or glazed affect.
You can skewer your tofu like a kabob or lay it directly onto the grill. Tofu is very soft and sticks to the grilling surface. Use a quality cooking spray or oil and brush occasionally with extra marinade. Grill for 7 to 10 minutes on each side for a one inch square.
Like all other vegetables, there are several ways to enjoy grilled potatoes and sweet potatoes. Wrap whole potatoes in aluminum foil with butter and salt to enjoy baked potatoes from the grill. Cut potatoes into wedges and marinate with your favorite sauce or simply use salt and pepper. Other recipes include batter-dipped potatoes, spicy grilled fries and even mashed potatoes from the grill.
Black Bean Burgers
Black bean burgers are a great addition to any barbeque. They’re tasty, healthy and a great treat for your vegetarian guests. In a medium bowl, mash a can of black beans. You can also use refried black beans. Mix in finely chopped bell peppers, onions and garlic. Combine one egg, 1tbsp of chili powder, 1tbsp cumin and 1tsp of chili sauce or hot sauce in a small bowl. Add this mixture to your black beans along with 1/2 cup of bread crumbs.
For best results, use aluminum foil and grill for 8 to 10 minutes on each side. Grilling sauces and other spices may be brushed on at any time. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Grilled Fruits and Veggies
Asparagus: Marinate asparagus in balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. Grill about 10 minutes. Don’t overdo it, they’ll be too dry.
Broccoli: Marinate in olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Coat with grated parmesan cheese or top with a cheese of your choice after grilling is complete. Grill for 8 to 10 minutes.
Corn on the Cob: Wrap in aluminum foil and smother in butter. Grill until heated through. Remember that vegans don’t eat dairy products; this includes butter. Spray with olive oil instead.
Pineapple: Chunks of pineapple add amazing flavor and decoration to every barbeque. Vegetarians and meat eaters alike can enjoy grilled pineapple rounds or chunks. Grilled pineapple rounds are great on a black bean burger or other garden burger.
Veggie stacks look amazing. They’re a great side dish for meat eaters and an impressive main dish for vegetarians. Grill portabella, eggplant, zucchini, red onion, red peppers, green peppers or any other vegetables that look good sliced in 1/4 inch slices. Stack layers of vegetables and include any cheese of choice after every second layer. Serve with pasta and sauce or a cheese sauce. Any sauce of choice goes very well with a veggie stack.
Branded Personalized Veggies
Food branding irons are fun and entertaining. Brands may be used on anything you grill, providing the iron correctly fits on the item you’d like to brand. Black bean burgers are the same size as a meat burger and are perfect for branding. Look for brands that fit your party theme or even spell out individual names of your guests. Be creative with branding tools and make your barbeque the talk of the summer. Find the right BBQ tools for your cookout, regardless of if it is vegetarian or not, with HomeWetBar.com’s BBQ accessories collection.