But if you aren’t a meat eater, the pickings can be slim (to none) at summer grill fests. Believing there must be good alternatives, surely, we did some research. Low and behold we found a bevy of delicious, smoky and very bbq-esque alternatives for the vegetarians and vegans in the crowd. A few of our favorites are listed below…and who knows, with recipes this good we might convert a few meat eaters along the way.
Salsa: No BBQ (or, if you ask us, gathering of any kind) is complete without a few good appetizers, and this summer pico is one of our favorites. Brought to us by brand ambassador and yogi Jo Beth Richards it takes a second to whip up, and can be added to a whole host of recipes:
Nothing says summer like a cook out, hanging out on the porch or patio enjoying the sweet night air with sweet friends! This Summer Pico is the perfect addition to any cookout, summer lunch, or just alone as a snack. Garnish a salad, place on tacos, eat with some yummy blue corn chips or just have a spoon full all to yourself! And it is SO easy to make…
Jo Beth’s Summer Pico
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, quartered
½ of one large red onion, chopped
1-2 tablespoon olive oil
½ cup cilantro, chopped
Mix all ingredients in a large bowl & enjoy!
Portobello mushrooms with their meaty texture and umami flavor are a favorite, along with artichokes, sunchokes, summer squash & zuchinni, onions, and orange, red and yellow bell peppers. Marinated in balsamic vinegar with fresh herbs, olive oil, sea salt and pepper, these are delicious grilled. Or try pesto sauce–basil is the essence of summer after all! For easy clean up and full flavor, use a zip-lock bag and mariante over night. We also like to cook pineapple on the grill. The sweetness is a perfect balance to the vinegar saltiness of the vegetables.
BBQ Bowl with Tofu: We found this recipe on the Sweet Life, a great foodie blog full of easy tutorials, beautiful pictures (aka, food porn) and delicious recipes. The BBQ sauce recipe snagged our attention and several hours later we emerged with a long list of “must make” recipes.
Barbecue Sauce (adapted from Vegan Comfort Food by Alicia Simpson)
Heat olive oil over medium heat. Add diced onions and saute until translucent. Let cool. Combine all the ingredients in a food processor or blender and puree until smooth. Store in the refrigerator.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Remove tofu from excess barbecue sauce, saving extra sauce, and transfer to a small bowl. Add nutritional yeast and mix to coat. Place tofu on baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven, flip tofu over, top with remaining barbecue sauce, and return to oven for another 10-15 minutes until browned and chewy.
Finally, prepare the bowl:
1. Heat up black eye peas in a saucepan over medium heat. Add about 1/4 cup barbecue sauce and stir to coat.
2. Steam kale until slightly soft. Mix with lemon juice, salt and pepper.
3. Assemble bowl by placing rice on the bottom. Top with black eyed peas, BBQ tofu, and steamed kale. Finish with a few slices of avocado.
4. Add extra barbecue sauce, hot sauce, or nutritional yeast to taste.
Cooking Tofu on the grill:
The last recipe called for baking the tofu, which is much easier than handling it on the grill. Anyone who has tried it before will tell you that tofu and the grill rarely get along well. Tofu can break apart and make a big, burned mess. Not so yum. We found some tips for keeping your tofu together and avoiding a grill disaster.
- Prepare your barbecue with a non-stick cooking spray or by rubbing it with oil.
- Use firm, or if possible, extra firm tofu and always press it well before grilling.
- Freeze and then thaw your tofu. This will allow the tofu to absorb more of the marinade flavors.
- Marinate tofu in for at least 30 minutes before grilling. Try a zip lock bag in the refrigerator overnight.
- Use a little sugar to caramelize and give tofu a nice and crispy and crunchy on the outside (or try rice wine vinegar, honey or maple syrup in your marinade.)
- Use soaked bamboo skewers rather than placing your tofu right on the grill.
- Grill over a pre-heated grill for 6-7 minutes on each side, brushing occasionally with extra marinade.
The marinade for this tower of veggie goodness includes: white wine vinegar, garlic, honey, salt and pepper and canola oil.
Recipe courtesy of Cookincanuk.com.
Voila, a vegan bbq is an oxymoron no more!
Tell us your grilling favorites in the comments section. Try the recipes and let us know how they turned out.