How to Get Started with Vegetarian BBQ

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People love to gather around the BBQ, but what do you throw on the grill if you are trying to cut down on meat consumption? Don’t worry! There are plenty of fantastic vegetarian BBQ dishes available to please everyone, be they an omnivore, vegetarian, vegan, or pescatarian!

Classic Vegetarian BBQ

Portobello Mushrooms

Brown champignons portobello mushrooms being cooked on char grill

The grilled Portobello mushroom is a vegetarian BBQ classic! While grilling the perfect Portobello is something of an art, it’s really not that hard to master the fundamentals. Here’s how:

  1. Create a marinade using balsamic vinegar, red wine, olive oil, garlic, onion, and thyme
  2. Soak portobellos for 45 minutes
  3. Wrap marinated mushrooms in foil and barbecue until they are tender (about 6–7 minutes).
  4. Put directly on the grill for 5 minutes if you want them a little charred (spoon extra marinade over them to stop them from drying out while grilling).

Tofu

kebab on grid

Tofu is incredibly versatile as it can soak up flavors and work with any cuisine. Here’s how to perfect it for the grill:

  1. Cut firm, pressed tofu into cubes and freeze overnight
  2. Thaw out the tofu and drench in your chosen marinade
  3. Grill your tofu like you would a steak

When it thaws, tofu is drier and more porous, making it perfect for soaking up whatever delicious marinade you’ve soaked it in. This is key to making really flavorful tofu.

Veggie Kebabs

bbq garden picnic healthy food

Making veggie skewers is a fun activity that lets everyone of all ages be creative and involved in the cooking process. They’re also a versatile vegetarian BBQ staple.

Try skewering some of these healthy, colorful vegetables and fruits in whatever combination works for you, and then grill and dress with a barbecue sauce of your choice:

  • Zucchini
  • Bell peppers
  • Eggplant
  • Pineapple
  • Summer squash
  • Mushrooms
  • Tomatoes
  • Baby corn
  • Shallots

Advanced Vegetarian Grilling

Grilled Peaches with Vanilla Ice Cream and Maple Syrup

Looking to up your barbecue game? Why not go all out and grill some fresh, local peaches? Seriously! The heat of the barbecue causes the naturally occurring sugars in peaches to caramelize, intensifying their deliciousness. The same thing happens with pineapple, apples, and even shallots.

Grilled pineapple dusted with a dash of cinnamon is a true barbecue delight, as are slices of acorn squash dressed in a little maple syrup and cinnamon.

Asparagus and leeks are also fantastic choices. Both of these vegetables are delicious when grilled for about 8 minutes on each side, turning once to avoid excessive charring. Dress with olive oil, salt, and pepper, or marinate prior to grilling with white wine and herbs.

Why Go Meat Free?

Group of young people eating outdoors.

Not only are fresh fruits and vegetables packed with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, but they’re also cholesterol-free, low in saturated fat and high in fiber. They also tend to be a little easier on your wallet than meat too.

Skipping barbecued meat is also one of the easiest ways to cut your intake of chemicals like heterocyclic amines (HCAs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Grilled vegetables and fruits not only pose less of a risk of spreading E. coli and Salmonella, they are also relatively free of HCAs or PAHs, making them a great choice for a summer barbecue!