Fourth of July or as I like to call it, All-American BBQ Day, is the peak of summer excitement. Don’t let being vegan let you feel left out of all the fun! There are so many awesome things that you can throw on the grill that is outside the restrictive realm of frozen, store-bought frozen veggie burgers or veggie dogs.
Vegan grilling will open a whole new world of food opportunities. Grilling is awesome because it really brings out certain flavors that you wouldn’t otherwise get. Another bonus is that veggies and fruits tend to cook really fast so no long wait times for your tummy. Since fruits and veggies lack fat, all of them need to be brushed with vegetable oil or soaked in a marinade with fresh herbs to prevent them from burning or sticking to the grill.
So let’s get to it.
Here are my top 5 favorite grilled veggies:
1. Asparagus- I feel that grilled asparagus adds a sophisticated element to any meal. Coat in olive oil and coarse sea salt, grill for about 5-7 minutes, rotating stalks throughout cooking.
2. Red Bell Peppers- You can use any bell pepper but I find red has the best flavor for grilling. You can slice these up and put together a kebob with button mushrooms and red onions, or just slice in half and grill each side until the skin is nice and charred.
3. Corn- Grilled corn is out of this world. I mean seriously. Take sweet organic corn and grill it right in the husk or peal the husk back to get a nice char on the kernels.
4. Portobello Mushrooms- Meaty and complex, portobellos make a great red meat substitute. You can toss these on a bun with burger toppings for an amazing burger or eat them as a steak (with a side of your grilled asparagus).
5. Root Veggies- Such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, beets and carrots. Sweet potatoes, carrots, and beets all have natural sugars that will caramelize, making them sweet and savory. Grilled potatoes will get crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside. Root veggies will take a bit longer to cook, so make sure to cut them as small and evenly as possible.
When it comes to grilling fruits, your goal is to caramelize the natural sugars in the fruit. You can use grilled fruits in savory dishes such as salsas, as a condiment to a veggie burger, or as a simple dessert.
Here are my top 5 grilled fruits:
1. Pineapple- Nothing beats the taste of grilled pineapple. It’s probably one of my favorites. Adding grilled pineapple to a veggie burger brings a tropical element to your dinner. I love just eating this on its own too.
2. Watermelon- Grilling watermelon really brings a unique element to an elegant summer salad. Toss grilled watermelon with some arugula and balsamic vinegar for a melody of amazing flavor. A word of caution thought: Due to it’s high water content, watermelon has the tendency to spurt really hot water when cooking. So be careful!
3. Stone Fruits- Such as peaches, plums, and nectarines ( I might add the nectarines have been awesome this year!). These fruits work really well as either desserts or tossed into smokey salsas.
4. Bananas- Cut the banana lengthwise and coat with brown sugar. Grill for about 3 minutes on each side. Toss this in a bowl with some vegan vanilla ice cream, chocolate sauce and walnuts to make an out of this world banana split!
5. Strawberries- I haven’t tried this yet but I am really excited to give it a go. Skewer strawberries and grill for a bout 7 minutes. The rumor is that sweetness of the strawberry complements the smokiness of the grill. You can do a fun desert by making fruit skewers with strawberries, bananas, and pineapple!
That’s it, Peaceful Dumplings. I wish you a fantastic grilling holiday!
What types of food do you like to grill?
Related: Pro Vegan Grilling and Charcuterie Tips from the Natural Epicurean
Refreshing Watermelon “Feta” Salad
Summertime Vegan Shredded BBQ Sammies
Hearty Vegan Ginger Beet Burgers
Photo: (Grilled Asparagus) Woodleywonderworks; (Grilled Peaches) Mike McCune; (Grilled Corn) Steven Depolo, all via Flickr