Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Vegan Grilling

It's barbecue season, and just because you're cutting out or cutting down on meat isn't any reason to retire your grill. Here are some tasty and healthful ideas for veggie grilling.

1. Vegetable slices. Eggplant, squash, onions, potatoes, tomatoes, and probably whatever else you can think of. For smaller vegetables, you might want to invest in a grilling basket to keep pieces from falling onto the coals. Cut the vegetables into similar sized pieces, brush with a bit of oil, and grill until crisp-tender. (Alternatively, I have a friend who makes tinfoil packets of vegetables with marinade and grills those campfire-style.)

2. Fruit. Pineapple is the quintessential fruit to grill, but peaches, pears, apples, and bananas are great, too. Keep a close eye on softer fruits as they'll get a bit mushy if they cook too long. (Bananas can be grilled in their peels with chocolate.)

3. Kebabs. Either soak bamboo sticks or use metal skewers and thread them with whatever you can imagine. Try for lots of different shapes, textures, and colors. This is a good place to use a marinade. And don't be afraid to add cubed tofu or tempeh here. Try this recipe Kim O'Donnel posted for barbecued tofu skewers.

4. Pizza. Go easy with the toppings here, and feel free to precook vegetables that might need a bit more time to get soft. Here are Heidi Swanson's instructions for grilling pizza.

5. Burgers and sausages. Let's face it, vegetarian hot dogs aren't very good. But there are some excellent vegan sausages out there. I really like Tofurkey and Field Roast sausages. They're flavorful and grill up nicely. There are a million veggie burgers out there, so I'll leave that one up to you.

If you're up for making your own vegan sausages, try this recipe from Everyday Dish. It's really versatile. I've seen everything from chorizo to pepperoni to boudin come out of this basic recipe.

6. Portobello mushrooms. This is a great option if you're looking for something on a bun but you're not into veggie burgers. Marinate or brush with oil before cooking.

7. Corn on the cob. Remove the silk but leave the husks on. Soak the ears (with husks) in water. The wet husks help steam the corn. Turn the ears occasionally as they cook. More complete instructions are here.

8. Salad. I know, I know. But really, you can grill a head of romaine.

9. Polenta. Recipe from the NYT's great new "Recipes for Health" column. (Obviously sub Earth Balance or olive oil for the butter if you're cooking for vegans.)

10. Bread. Recipe from the Food Network.

11. Grill and mix. Use grilled vegetables to make fajitas, sandwiches, wraps, or pasta.


dsharp88 said...

I've only BBQd # 1, 3, 5, 6, and 7, and considered #11. Chocolate Bananas? Salad? Pineapple? Bread? All new to me. OK, I guess I've heard of Hawaiian BBQs with pineapple, but I never thought about doing it when it came time to grill.

Thanks for the great ideas!

Chile said...

I used to do the chocolate bananas, but can't anymore due to avoiding chocolate. I love using my Geo. Foreman grill for all sorts of veggies: eggplant, zucchini, onion, garlic, whole green onions, mushrooms, sweet potato slices, hashbrowns, frozen corn kernels, cabbage... But I'd not heard of doing lettuce!

mollyjade said...

I actually don't even have a grill at the moment! We snuck over to the in-laws' yesterday to grill corn, asparagus, and portobello mushrooms. I haven't tried grilled cabbage before. I'll have to add it to my "to try" list.

Chile said...

Talk about synchronicity - I'm browsing through Riana's food blog for the first time and what do I see pictured on her grill? Cabbage wedges!