Beyond Burgers and Hot Dogs: Grilled Vegetarian Recipes To Complete Your Cookout
Don't get caught off guard when your guests ask for a meat-free dish at your next barbecue. Your inner Scout will thank us for these recipes.
Whether you’re hosting vegetarians, flexitarians, or just looking to expand your meatless grilling repertoire, here are plenty of ideas to whet your appetite! Sure, vegetarian grilling recipes can be an appetizer or a side dish — but they can of course be more than that, and we’ve got you covered.
How to grill vegetables
First, we asked an expert for a how-to on grilled vegetables. Chef Lisa Schroeder knows her veggies. Schroeder, of Mother’s Bistro in Portland, Oregon, learned to grill vegetables at Le Cirque in New York City. Among her top recommendations are zucchini and eggplant.
She starts with cutting the vegetables lengthwise in 1/4 inch slices. Next she employs a method for outstanding grill marks and flavor: Coat the slices with olive oil and chopped garlic, then place them on the grill over medium-high heat on the diagonal at 10 o’clock. Next, sprinkle the slices with salt and pepper. Grill the veggies until marked, then rotate the slices so they're turned to 1 o’clock. Once they’ve picked up those beautiful grill marks, turn the vegetables over and repeat on the other side.
Schroeder’s grilled vegetables can either be served warm or at room temperature. They’re great on their own, but chop them up and pile them into tortillas with sliced avocado, Fresh Salsa or Cilantro Cream (or all three!), and you have veggie tacos. With some added cheese, you’re on your way to a version of Grilled Vegetable Quesadillas with Kale Pesto.
If you’re looking for something with sticking power, check out Grilled Vegetable Skewers, a straightforward path to simple, colorful, and delicious vegetables. And of course the vegetarian options go beyond simple grilled vegetables. We’ve scoured our catalog to round up more delicious options:
This spicy grilled tofu might have everyone lined up at the grill for a bite! Rice wine vinegar lends its acid to this spicy-salty marinade, which comes together easily with just six ingredients. Don’t have sriracha? Just use that little bottle of hot sauce lurking in the fridge.
Grilled Sweet Potatoes with Cilantro Cream and Quick Chimichurri
This strikingly gorgeous grilled veggie recipe combines barbecued sweet potatoes with a quick chimichurri sauce made from olive oil and herbs. The sweetness of the vegetable contrasts beautifully with the creaminess of the sauce and the herbaceous chimichurri.
Salted Grilled Watermelon
Here’s another dish that’s as beautiful as it is delicious. Grilling the watermelon brings out an extra dimension of flavor — that smokiness and little bit of char complements the sweetness nicely. Pro tip: Don’t let this fruit sit on the grill too long.
Grilled Corn and Goat Cheese Flatbread Pizza
Take gluten-free pizza crust, creamy goat cheese, tangy feta, sweet corn, and spicy arugula to create a delicious seasonal pizza. (For any recipe using cheese, check whether it’s agreeable to your vegetarian guests.) Grilling the corn first creates an extra layer of flavor, while the mixture of cheeses adds another level of tastiness. And the red of the tomatoes, green of the arugula, and yellow of the corn make a festive, colorful meal.
Balsamic Garlic Grilled Portobello Mushrooms
How about a portobello that’s spent some time in a garlicky balsamic vinaigrette marinade before being plopped on the grill? Yes, please! This is also a great option for gluten-free and/or vegan munching.
Grilled Cauliflower Steaks
These spicy slabs of cauliflower come with a recipe for a yogurt-based sauce, but they’re great on their own too. Recipe Girl explains that cauliflower benefits from some char and can take the heat, so crank up the grill for these!
Grilled Halloumi and Quinoa Salad
To combine the grill with indoor cooking, try this creative dish. It accents eminently grillable halloumi cheese with chopped scallion, fresh mint, parsley, and a tiny bit of red pepper flakes for a fresh-tasting, substantial salad.
Grilled Polenta with Fresh Mozzarella and Balsamic Tomatoes
Another strong option with Mediterranean flair: turning a tube of store-bought prepared polenta into this dazzling dish that combines that classic trio of tomatoes, mozzarella, and fresh basil.
Of course, don’t forget veggie burgers, whether they're homemade Vegan Lentil Burgers or something from the supermarket. Serve them with Grilled Pesto Potato Salad (a grilled potato salad brilliantly zested up with fresh basil and lemon juice) and perhaps some grilled farmers market vegetables.
Finally, if there’s one cookout dish meat-eaters and meat-abstainers alike can rally around, it might be grilled corn. Corn on the cob celebrates summer and practically makes up its own family of recipes. Try Grilled Pesto Corn, which uses traditional Italian pesto and complements it with cilantro. Or cook up Grilled Corn with Parmesan Butter, for an easy way to play the salty tang of parmesan off of the natural sweetness of corn. Take grilled corn off the cob with Grilled Corn and Black Bean Salad, which incorporates the briny flavor of feta cheese, or Grilled Corn Salad with a Mexican-inspired flavor that includes cumin and bell peppers.
Whatever you choose, happy grilling!