Barbecues aren’t usually the best places for vegetarians, but all you need are the right recipes to make sure everyone has something to eat at your backyard party. Meat isn’t the only thing that can be mastered on the grill. Vegetables, tofu, burgers, patties, and even fruit can be perfected on the grill — you may even find your meat-lovers enjoying the alternatives. Next time you’re hosting a cookout, include one of these six vegetarian-friendly dishes on your recipe list. The light fare is perfect for carnivores and vegetarians alike.
1. Grillable Veggie Burger
First up are grillable veggie burgers from Minimalist Baker. The vegan patties come together with just 10 ingredients and they’re hearty and satisfying thanks to their filling of walnuts, rice, and black beans. Not all veggie burgers hold up well on the grill, but these patties fare perfectly and can be paired on toasted buns with lettuce, tomatoes, avocado, and more.
- 1 cup cooked brown rice
- 1 cup raw walnuts
- ½ tablespoon grape seed or avocado oil, plus more for cooking
- ½ white onion, finely diced
- 1 tablespoon each chili powder, cumin powder, and smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon each sea salt and black pepper, plus more for coating burgers
- 1 tablespoon coconut sugar
- 1½ cups cooked black beans, well rinsed, drained and patted dry
- 1/3 cup panko bread crumbs
- 3-4 tablespoons vegan BBQ sauce
Directions: Heat skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add raw walnuts and toast for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring frequently, until fragrant and golden brown. Let cool and move onto the next step.
In the meantime, heat the same skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add ½ tablespoon oil and onion. Season with a bit of salt and pepper and sauté for 3 to 4 minutes, or until onion is fragrant, soft, and translucent. Remove from heat and set aside. Once walnuts are cooled, add to blender or food processor with chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika, salt, pepper, and coconut sugar and blend until a fine powder is achieved. Set aside.
To a large mixing bowl, add drained, dried black beans and mash well with a fork, leaving only a few whole beans. Next add cooked rice, spice-walnut mixture, sautéed onion, panko bread crumbs, BBQ sauce, and mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon for 1-2 minutes, or until a moldable dough forms. If dry, add extra 1 to 2 tablespoon BBQ sauce. If too wet, add more panko bread crumbs. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
For larger burgers, divide into 5 patties, or form 10 smaller burgers. To help form the patties, line your ½ or ¼ measuring cup with plastic wrap and pack with burger mixture. Press down to pack firmly, then lift out by the plastic wrap’s edge, and slightly flatten with hands to form a ¾-inch thick patty. Set on a baking sheet or plate for grilling.
If grilling, heat the grill at this time and brush the grill surface with oil to ease cooking. Otherwise, heat the same skillet you used earlier to medium heat. Once skillet is hot, add just enough oil to lightly coat the bottom of your skillet, then add your burgers — only as as many as will comfortably fit in the pan. Otherwise, add burgers to the grill and close lid.
Cook for 3-4 minutes or until well browned on the underside, then flip gently. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes on other side. Remove burgers from heat to let cool slightly, and prepare any other toppings/sides at this time. Serve burgers as is, or on toasted buns with desired toppings. Leftovers keep in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days.
2. Barbecued Tofu
Tofu is another non-animal protein that is perfected on the grill, and this recipe featured on Food Network for barbecued tofu proves it. As long as you have barbecue sauce, anyone can enjoy this tofu that is first combined in a pan with garlic, onions, bell peppers, and celery. After cooking in a saucepan for 12 minutes, you can add barbecue sauce to the tofu and simmer it on the grill for 15 minutes. It’s a healthy alternative to your typical heavy barbecue fare.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 cloves fresh chopped garlic
- ½ red onion, chopped
- ½ white onion, chopped
- ½ bell pepper, chopped
- 1 celery stick, chopped
- Pinch curry
- 2 packages medium firm tofu, diced
- Barbeque sauce
Directions: Preheat grill to medium. Heat up a pan over the grill and add olive oil. In pan, combine the garlic, onions, bell pepper and celery. Add salt and a pinch of curry. Add tofu to the saucepan and cook for 12 minutes. Add barbecue sauce to tofu, cover the grill and let the tofu simmer for 15 minutes. Serve immediately.
3. Tofu Kebabs with Cilantro Sauce
You can also thread your tofu on kebabs and serve them with a delicious sauce. These tofu kebabs with cilantro sauce come from Martha Stewart and they’re everything you’d want in a vegan grillable dish. They serve four and take 30 minutes to make. Along with your Tofu Kebabs, you’ll make squash kebabs as well, and the tofu will grill for 4 to 6 minutes, while the squash will be done after 11 to 13.
- 2 cups fresh cilantro leaves
- ¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, plus more for grates
- ½ jalapeno chile, seeded
- 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 3 scallions, white and green parts separated and cut into 1-inch lengths
- Coarse salt and ground pepper
- 1 package (14 ounces) extra-firm tofu, weighted and cut into 12 pieces
- 2 summer squash, halved and cut into 1-inch pieces
Directions: Heat grill to medium. In a food processor, combine cilantro, ¼ cup oil, jalapeno, ginger, lime juice, and scallion greens. Blend until smooth; season with salt and pepper. Combine tofu, scallion whites, and 1 tablespoon oil; season with salt and pepper. Thread tofu and scallion whites onto four skewers, then thread squash onto four skewers.
Clean and lightly oil hot grates. Grill squash kebabs, covered, until tender, 11 to 13 minutes, turning occasionally. Grill tofu kebabs until scallions are soft, 4 to 6 minutes, turning occasionally; brush with cup of cilantro sauce and grill 30 seconds more. Serve kebabs with remaining cilantro sauce.
4. Grilled Falafel Carrot Burgers
Instead of frying your homemade falafel, you can cook it on the grill via this recipe from Trinity’s Kitchen. The falafel carrot burgers require only a handful of ingredients, and those will get blended into the food processor and formed into patties before they’re grilled for 10 minutes on each side. Enjoy your patties with flavorful tahini and you won’t think twice about beef burgers.
- 3 medium-sized carrots
- 3 large cloves of garlic crushed
- 2 cans of drained chickpeas (or 480g drained weight)
- A few small sprigs of of parsley (or use dried)
- 5 teaspoons ground coriander
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 1 teaspoon celtic sea salt
Directions: Grate the carrots. Peel and finely crush the garlic. Drain and rinse the chickpeas. Finely chop the parsley. Blend all ingredients together with a food processor or a blender. Blend until the mixture sticks together. Divide into about 10. Form into patties.
Grill (broil) under a medium temperature for approximately 10 minutes on each side. That should be enough to heat them through thoroughly and give each side a nice, toasty tan. Be careful when you turn them over, they are a little fragile until crispy on both sides. Enjoy with tahini sauce.
5. Chili Lime Grilled Corn
Mexican street corn is no doubt delicious, and it’s even better when it’s made at home. That’s where this chili lime grilled corn from Something Edible comes in. Smother your corn with a homemade seasoning made from salt, chile powder, coriander, crystallized lime, and raw sugar, and then cook the good stuff on the grill for fewer than 10 minutes. This chili lime grilled corn is so good you won’t even miss the customary cream and cheese.
- 1 teaspoon pickling salt
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon ancho chile powder
- ½ teaspoon coriander ground
- ½ teaspoon fine-grain raw sugar
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon crystallized lime
- 4 sweet corn ears
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin sunflower oil
Directions: Set your grill for high, direct heat; about 450 to 475 degrees Fahrenheit.
Mix together the salt, smoked paprika, ancho chile powder, coriander, sugar, black pepper, and crystallized lime. Brush each ear of corn with the sunflower oil, and then liberally sprinkle on the seasoning you just concocted. Throw the seasoned corn on the hot grill, turning a quarter turn every 2 minutes for a total grilling time of 8 minutes. Garnish with additional seasoning before serving.
6. Grilled Pineapple Salsa
Last is grilled pineapple salsa from Cooking Light. Grilling your pineapple takes the typical summer salsa up a notch, and it also brings out its natural sweetness that pairs perfectly with the savory flavor combination of onions, cilantro, fresh lime juice, salt, pepper, cumin, and serrano. Add some creamy avocado to your pineapple and seasoning mix and you have a bright yellow salsa that looks great and tastes even better.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 pineapple, peeled, cored, and cut into ½-inch-thick slices
- Cooking spray
- 1/3 cup finely chopped red onion
- ¼ cup minced fresh cilantro
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground red pepper
- ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 serrano chile, minced
- 1 avocado
Directions: Preheat grill to high heat.
Combine oil and honey, stirring well. Brush oil mixture over pineapple. Place pineapple on a grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 2 minutes on each side or until golden. Remove from grill; cool 5 minutes. Chop. Combine pineapple, onion, and next six ingredients; toss gently.
Peel, seed, and dice avocado. Add avocado to the pineapple mixture, and toss gently.