Firing up the grill often means bringing out the meat fest, those barbecued ribs, beef burgers and spatchcocked chicken. The veggies are often an afterthought and confined to a slaw or mushrooms and peppers stuffed on a skewer. Vegetarians and vegans often know that they are going to get short shrift at a cookout with probably some store bought veggie burgers and grilled tomatoes at best. Yet, there are so many tasty veggie recipes that are extremely simple to make. These yummy recipes might get you to clear a bit of space for some meatless fare at your next cookout.
1. Portobello Mushroom Burgers
Marinate the portobello mushroom caps and to give it a meaty flavor with your favorite steak seasoning along with balsamic and soy sauce. Grill them and top with melted Swiss cheese, grilled red onions and tomatoes. You could even thrown on some spinach in the burger. It’s so delicious that you shouldn’t be surprised to see some of your meat loving friends drifting that way.
2. BBQ Charred Vegan Hot Dog
Hot dogs are a classic American staple at every cookout. Here’s how you can give a healthier spin to this American favorite without missing out on the taste. There are many kinds of vegan hot dogs available and you can choose from a nice plump tofurky sausage to fat-free, gluten-free options. Instead of white bread, try a whole wheat or sprouted grain bun. Dice tomatoes, onions, organic sauerkraut and some pickles. You can get your guests more involved (and save yourself some work) by asking them to DIY their hot-dogs.
3. Grilled Cauliflower “Steak” Sandwiches
Grilled cauliflower might not sound exciting, but they are sure to be a hit either in a sandwich or a burger. Just cut the whole cauliflower into slices and brush them with olive oil, salt and pepper. If you like it spicy, add some chili powder and lime juice. Grill them and slide them into a bun or bread slices along with sliced onions, a smear of Dijon and some cheese (you leave it out if you’re making it vegan). These burgers are the simplest to put together with no marinating time at all.
4. Mexican Street Corn (Elotes)
Elotes are the best way to eat corn on the cob. There is no delicate way to eat this so be prepared for a bit of mess. Grill the ears and slather with Mexican crema, cotija cheese, mayo, garlic and cilantro. Smear a bit of chili powder and squeeze on a dash of lime. If you can’t get Mexican crema you can use some sour cream If you can’t find any cotija, you leave leave it out altogether or use Parmesan instead.
5. Balsamic Vegetable Skewers
The slight char on the outside with a fresh, slightly crunchy texture is a great way to eat those veggies on barbecue day. The balsamic vinaigrette makes for a perfect hit of tangy flavor. Use firm veggies like bell peppers, red onions, zucchini and yellow squash. Cut them into even sized chunks and toss them in the vinaigrette. Alternate the veggies on a skewer and grill lightly. To really make the balsamic vinaigrette stand out, spoon some over the veggies right before you serve.
6. Grilled Veggie Garlic Butter Pizza
With an outdoor grill, you can grill vegetables lightly on their own before adding it to a pizza. Use any vegetable you like such as sliced zucchini, bell peppers, mushrooms and red onions. Brush the pizza dough with some some chopped garlic mixed with melted butter, and grill it so that it has charred grill lines on both sides of the dough. Add mozzarella cheese and the the vegetables to the top of the pizza. Grill again for a couple of minutes till the cheese melts. Grilled pizzas have a different flavor from the usual oven baked ones and go perfectly with a cookout.
7. Grilled Corn Kale Salad
Forget the usual coleslaw and make this fresh, zingy salad instead. Coat the corn cobs lightly with olive oil and grill for about 15 minutes, turning them frequently. Once cool, remove the kernels into a large bowl and keep aside. Toss the kale in some oil and then grill for 3-5 minutes in heavy duty foil. Let it cool down and then add to the bowl of corn along with tomatoes, onions, basil, lemon juice, vinegar and a bit of oil. Toss it well and refrigerate it for at least 30 minutes before serving.