Grilling. Cooking out. Barbecuing. I honestly don’t care what you call it, so long as you invite me (and don’t ask me to man the grill—I’ve dropped too many goodies between the grates to feel comfortable flipping burgers).
Since I’m a pescetarian (I eat seafood but otherwise stick to a vegetarian diet), I don’t eat a lot of the standard items you find cooking over an open flame, like burgers, chicken breasts and hot dogs. And while I’m all for heating up a frozen veggie burger, especially if you dress it up with some green chillies and melted cheese on top, there are tons of really interesting, totally delicious, and surprisingly simple vegetarian recipes for the grill, and you’ll find more than you could possibly need in Cookouts Veggie Style! by Jolinda Hackett.
Vegging It Out on the Grill
As I sat down and began to read (What? You don’t sit and read cookbooks? You are missing out, y’all), I noticed that Hackett, who’s been a vegetarian for nearly 20 years and a vegan for almost 10, really wrote this with both veggies and meat-eaters in mind. She suggests that meat-eaters cooking for vegetarians be considerate about vegetarian entrees touching a meat dish or sharing a utensil to flip them, which is something I guarantee your veg-guests will appreciate. In the same vein, she recommends that if you’re a veg with strong feelings about your meat-free foods staying far away from the rest of the food on the grill, offer to bring your own portable or disposable grill, or at least come prepared with tinfoil you can put over the grill to keep your tempeh from mixing with the bits of charred meat.
The book has chapters dedicated to appetizers, grilled salads, barbecue classics with a meatless twist, sandwiches and burgers, as well as specific chapters on tofu, seitan and tempeh on the grill. Recipes range from things I never would’ve thought to put on the grill (like the Camembert and Mango Quesadillas, which were basically made of delicious) to more expected items you’d have no problem feeding your meat-eating buddies, like Portobello Patties with Pesto Mayonnaise. Additionally, there are pizzas, desserts, fruits and all kinds of other tasty treats. You don’t have to be a vegetarian to dig this book—you just have to like food.
One thing I want to point out, however, is that it’s important to remember that just because something is vegetarian, that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily diet-friendly. Ahem, see the Camembert and Mango Quesadillas above. But out of the 225 recipes included, there are tons of health-conscious options that are sure to leave you saying, “What cheeseburger?”
What are your favorite light or vegetarian meals for the grill? —Kristen