Grilling 101, vegetarian style
According to carnivorous sources, the words “vegetarian” and “barbecue” should never be uttered in the same sentence. While some people question the validity of a meatless barbecue, vegetarians and vegans are showing the world that the intoxicating scent of lighter fluid and burning charcoal, which signals summertime, is not the exclusive birthright of the meat-eater.
If you're attending a vegetarian cookout this Memorial Day — or even a meat-filled one — impress your friends with meatless options that are totally BBQ-worthy. Check out this vegetarian spread — some of which is even vegan-friendly — and step out of the darkness.
Break out the mock meat!
Quorn makes a Classic Burger, Vegan Burger, Turk’y Burger and Chik'n-Style-Cutlets that are ideal for the grill. Hot dog lovers can grill Tofurky’s Italian Sausage, Beer Brats, Kielbasa and Hot Dogs (available in jumbo size, too). The grill should be clean. Go on, don’t be gross. While it’s still cool, wipe the grates with a paper towel soaked in vegetable oil or spray it thoroughly with nonstick cooking spray. This is to keep those veggie burgers and mock meat products from sticking to the grill. Do read the cooking instructions on the packaging, though. If the manufacturer claims your veggie hot dog might break apart on your grill, then you can always wrap it in foil before throwing it on the grill.
Alternate chunks of red onion, mushrooms, green, red and yellow bell peppers, and either tofu or feta cheese, depending on whether you’re vegetarian or vegan, and pop those babies on the barbie for some healthy and filling noms. You can also alternate squash, zucchini, cherry tomatoes, mushrooms and red onion, baste with teriyaki sauce, and sit back while the omnivores crash your backyard barbecue.
The spud’s the limit
Throw a few russet potatoes for a grilled version of baked potato that will leave even your fellow omnivores salivating for more. Make sure to include a spread of butter, sour cream and — why not? — chives. You can also chop up your favorite potato into wedges and grill those, or even whole baby potatoes.
Marinate slices of extra firm tofu with fresh basil and Tamari and grill them as you would a steak. It’s tofu, and therefore awesome, so you can marinate it with anything you like. Get crazy and try marinating it in a bit of olive oil, a splash of red wine vinegar, minced garlic and fresh oregano. Is your mouth watering?
A medley of veggies
Grill a nice assortment to serve a veritable smorgasbord that will leave everyone full of healthy food rather than full of artery-clogging fat. A nice spread can include asparagus, portabella mushrooms, eggplant, bell peppers, tomato slices, cauliflower, squash, zucchini and — no barbecue of any kind would be complete without it — corn on the cob. You can even grill artichoke, but be sure to trim it and boil it for no more than 15 minutes first, because it is a tough veggie. Slice it and coat it lightly in some olive oil and voila!
Oh, yes. You most certainly can grill a pizza, and you should. Immediately. Have your toppings sorted out before you begin, because you have to be quick. Ready? Stretch out some dough on the grill, let it cook on one side, flip that baby, throw on all your toppings quickly and slam down the lid so the cheese melts before the crust gets too dark. Grill your pizza first, if possible, while the grill is on the cooler side. I call this baby the Capizzano. You’re welcome.
Don't forget the sides, either. Signature sides include three-bean salad, cole slaw and potato salad. If you make the slaw or the potato salad, try subsitituting Salad Cream for mayonaise — you may never go back.