The notion of vegan barbecue recipes seems like an oxymoron. After all, the word "barbecue" has been synonymous with meat for 1.8 million years. But we'd like to think that grills were made for more than just burgers and hot dogs.
We here at Fire Food Chef have rounded up a list of some fun vegan bbq ideas to help you throw the perfect cookout using only ten vegan bbq recipes. So, fire up your grill or smoker and get ready to exercise your vegan skills this summer.
Who knows, you might just impress some of your non-vegan friends and family. Because without a doubt, these easy and delicious vegan barbecue dishes, are sure to please any crowd.
But first things first….
Smokers are Not Just for Meat
Before we dive into recipes, we wanted to make one thing clear. Smokers are not just for meat. Everyone can experience the unique and distinct flavors produced by slow-smoking food and that includes plant-based alternatives.
Smokers vs. Grills
If you have a backyard, chances are that you or your family owns a grill. Grilling is a quicker method of barbecuing, usually with very high temperatures and a few minutes of cook time. Not only is grilling food savory, but it also works well with all sorts of vegan recipes.
Tip: If you're grilling meat as well as vegan food, you'll want to thoroughly clean and scrape your grill after cooking any meat and before placing vegan or veggie items on the grill.
In contrast, smokers rely on indirect heat and utilize the smoky air. Instead of direct flame to heat the food, smokers slowly cook, while maintaining low temperatures, typically between 200 to 250 degrees. The great things about smokers are that they provide a smokier and tenderer barbecue. This process lets you cook whole foods like an entire zucchini or a large eggplant all the way through.
Everyone has a different preference when it comes to smoking food. Whether it’s the best woods to use, whether or not charcoal should be involved, and what kind of barbecue sauces or rubs get thrown into the mix, it all depends on the individual.
When smoking your food, keep in mind that the temperature should remain low, within a 225-degree range to allow your veggies to smoke at a slow and steady pace.
PLANT-BASED FOODS FOR THE SMOKER
While plant-based flavors aren't the most celebrated smoked ingredients, they are certainly nothing to be frowned upon. Many vegetables and especially big and solid ones like corn and potatoes, work very well when smoked. This is because they pick up layers of flavor from the smoke and even more so with longer cooking times.
Salts and spices are amazing when smoked and will add something distinctly smoky to your dishes long after the actual smoke is gone. Soft veggies like eggplant, zucchini, and tomatoes don't need as long to soak up the deliciousness and can be eaten as is, or turned into fantastic sauces or dips. Nuts are delicious when smoked with wood chips; so if you don't already own one be sure to check out the reviews of our top pellet smokers.
Smoking Tips for Veggies
Vegan meats have gotten so delicious and very close to the real thing. For example, smoked wheat gluten actually looks and tastes like Texas brisket and vegan bbq ribs look just like, you guessed it, ribs.
With a charming crusty exterior, it's even got the "burnt ends" of authentic barbecue. Which leads us to our first recipe….
1. Smoked Seitan
To make the Seitan
- Combine gluten and nutritional yeast in a large bowl
- In a separate bowl, mix water, soy sauce, ketchup, garlic, lemon zest and spices
- Mix the ingredients
- Knead dough in the bowl until you have a spongy dough
- If excess liquid accumulates in the bottom of the bowl, that's totally okay, just leave it in there
- After a few minutes of rest, shape into a log about 7 or 8 inches long
- Cut into three pieces
- Now pour the cold water and soy sauce in a large saucepan and carefully add the pieces of dough in the liquid
- Here is where you'll want to cover the pot (partially) and bring to a boil
- Lower heat and simmer for one hour
- Remember to turn the pieces occasionally
- Let the seitan cool for ten minutes, then remove
- As soon as it's cooled down, squeeze out all the liquid you can, being careful not to break the seitan
- Finally, wrap each piece of seitan in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Rub & smoke
- Begin by starting a fire in your smoker
- Soak wood chips (preferably hickory) for about 45 minutes
- Now coat the seitan pieces in the dry rub mix before placing them on the grill basket
- Place wood chips on the hot coals and close the cover
- Smoke for 1 ½ hour and add more soaked wood chips occasionally.
- Ideally, you want to keep the temperature at about 225
- Whisk around the sauce ingredients together until sugar dissolves
- After letting your smoked seitan cool for 5 minutes, you'll want to slice, drizzle with sauce, and serve plain or on buns
Tip: best served right after you smoke it
2. Grilled Barbecue Tempeh Slider with Kale Slaw
It's not summertime without something grilled! These tempeh sliders are the perfect addition to any backyard barbecue and are easy to make. Grilled, barbecue sauce-covered tempeh can be served on a toasty bun with fresh kale, cabbage, and carrot slaw. You can pair it with all the fixings for a perfect barbecue dinner.
What you’ll need:
- Cut your tempeh so that it fits each bun
- Place on a dish and cover with enough barbecue sauce to thoroughly coat your tempeh
- Lightly flip each piece until covered
- Set aside or you can marinate overnight for even more flavor
- Now you'll want to wash and thinly slice your purple cabbage
- Move the cabbage to a large bowl with shredded carrots
- In a different medium bowl, add kale, lemon juice and a touch of oil
- Mix the kale, carrots, and cabbage with a little liquid sweetener (like agave nectar), salt, and pepper, to taste.
- Cover and refrigerate
- fire up the grill and place tempeh at a diagonal and cook for 4-5 minutes, flip, and repeat
- Toast the slider buns
- Assemble with grilled tempeh, kale slaw, and a touch of vegan mayonnaise or mustard on top
- Serve warm
3. Portobello Sliders with Pepita Pesto
This recipe is so fun and easy, not to mention the mushroom marinade (a combination of balsamic vinegar and tamari) brings such a wonderful salty and tangy flavor to the grilled Portobello.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- You want to start the pesto off by mixing the pepitas, garlic, cilantro, lemon juice, cumin, salt, honey/maple in a food processor
- Pulse until all combined
- Now, drizzle in the olive oil and pulse again until smooth
- Heat the grill on medium heat
- Get the mushrooms ready by removing the stems and cleaning the caps
- Now place them in on a plate and drizzle with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, tamari, and pepper
- Use your hands to coat the mushrooms evenly on all sides
- Place the mushrooms, gill side down onto the grill — Cook 5 to 7 minutes per side, or until mushrooms are tender
- Now, place the mushrooms on the toasted buns and top each with a tomato slice, microgreens, and a generous slather of Pepita Pesto
4. Grilled Chili Corn with Coconut Lime Cream
Devouring grilled corn straight off the BBQ in the summer is one of life's tastiest pleasures. What's tastier? Coconut-lime cream sauce and fresh cilantro bathed your corn.
Here's what you'll need:
Coconut Lime Cream
- In a small saucepan sauté garlic, shallot and cumin in coconut oil for 2 minutes stirring constantly. Add minced fresh or pickled jalapenos
- Now add the coconut milk, lime juice, sea salt and pickled jalapeno brine, and bring up the heat to medium to simmer the mixture
- Remember to whisk frequently
- Once it begins to simmer, mix arrowroot flour with water in a small bowl and add to the coconut sauce
- Keep whisking until thickened, at least 8 minutes, and then remove it from the heat
- When you're ready to grill your corn, melt vegan butter and stir in chilli powder.
- Brush the corn with this chilli butter once it hits the grill.
- Baste1-2 more times while you grill them on the barbecue (for about 25 minutes)
- Serve each corn with a lavish drizzle of coconut lime cream and fresh chopped cilantro on top
Tip: You can prepare the coconut lime cream sauce in advance and refrigerate until you serve the corn. It will thicken even more.
5. Grilled Polenta Crackers with Roasted Pepper Salsa
These little guys are perfect for a fun appetizer or party snack, complete with olives, fresh parsley and red peppers.
What you’ll need:
- Preheat grill pan to high.
- Slice the polenta and brush lightly with oil
- Grill 2 or 3 minutes on each side to score the cakes and warm them
- Place peppers, olives, capers, parsley, onion, garlic and red pepper flakes in processor and pulse the power to chop salsa. Top polenta with spoonfuls of salsa and serve.
6. Spicy Hoisin Glazed Eggplant
These spicy hoisin eggplants have got a char-grilled taste to cut the sweetness and go really well with a pot of sticky rice.
What you’ll need:
- Get a small saucepan and heat some oil over medium heat
- Add the ginger, garlic and red chilli flakes
- Cook until soft, about 3-4 minutes
- Remove from the heat
- Whisk in the hoisin, vinegar and soy sauce until combined and then strain, reserving the sauce
- Heat up the grill to high
- Brush your eggplant slices on all sides with the oil and season with salt and pepper
- Place them on the grill and grill until golden brown and slightly charred, 4 to 5 minutes
- Brush with more of the glaze, turning the eggplant over and grilling just until cooked through
- Brushing one more with the glaze, 3 to 4 minutes longer
- Now remove from the grill and brush with the remaining glaze
- Transfer to a platter and sprinkle with the cilantro
7. The Vegan Big Mac
Not only can you now make a BigMac at home, but you can also make your very own vegan "Big Mac"!!
Here’s what you’ll need (for one burger)
Vegan “Big Mac” sauce ingredients
- To start, you'll want to combine all the sauce ingredients in a bowl and refrigerate until ready to assemble your very own vegan "Big Mac"
- Once they're prepared for the barbecue, baste them in barbecue sauce as you go.
- Melt vegan cheese slices on top during last minute of cooking
- Cut one Kaiser Roll in half and take another Kaiser roll and cut a slice off the bottom for the middle piece.
- Put vegan “Big Mac” sauce and relish (if using) on both sides of the middle pieces of the bun and the inside of the top and bottom bun. Add your burger patties with cheese between each piece of bun, and then add onions, lettuce and pickles to your liking.
- Dive in and don’t forget lots of napkins!
8. Grilled Pizza
Grilled pizza is an easy way to keep your guest happy, including vegans. To pair your pizza, you'll want to provide dairy-free pesto, vegan cheese, marinara sauce and grilled vegetables for topping
What you need:
- To start, combine the dry ingredients in a food processor.
- Heat the oil as well as the water until the candy thermometer registers 55 ºC
- Now you'll want to pour the hot liquid in the food processor and blend until a ball forms.
- Knead for 2-3 minutes
- Powder the dough with flour and cover in plastic wrap
- Now you want to let the dough rest for 1 hour in a warm place
- Afterwards, divide the dough into 4 and roll out into thin 20 cm rounds
- Preheat the grill: set the burners to high and oil the grates
- Place the dough directly on the grill
- Cook until lightly browned on one side
- Flip the pizza, then garnish to taste
- Garnish grilled pizza and finish cooking until cheese is melted
9. Candied Maple Balsamic Brussels Sprout Skewers
This palate-pleasing vegan bbq skewers recipe will melt in your mouth. These sweet Brussels sprouts are paired with red onion, fresh parsley and caramelized with maple syrup, make this ingenious dish a BBQ staple.
Brussels sprouts aren't your typical BBQ food, but you'll be pleased with how incredibly flavorful and beautiful they are. You'll also feel great knowing that you're eating one of the most nutritious veggies out there.
What you need:
- First, you'll want to bring a large pot of water to a boil
- Now toss in the brussels sprouts for 1 minute until tender
- Remove them
- Next step is to rinse the Brussel sprouts under cold water and pat dry
- Place them in a bowl with red onion and the rest of the ingredients
- Toss so that your veggies are well coated in the marinade
- Set the sprouts onto the skewers with red onion in between them – there should be about four Brussels sprouts per skewer
- Pour whatever remaining marinade left in the bowl over the skewers
- Now is the time to place the skewers onto your BBQ or grill = set to medium heat
- Cover and grill for about 5 minutes each side
- A nice browning should start to take place
- Brush with some maple syrup, a squeeze of lemon juice, and fresh parsley
Tip: If using wooden skewers, you'll need to soak them first
10. Garlic and Herb Grilled Sweet Potato Fries
I mean what’s a barbecue without some grilled fries?
What you’ll need:
- You want to begin by placing the potatoes in a large pot of cold water
- Add two tablespoons of salt and keep cooking until they are tender, but still firm, about 15 minutes
- Drain and let them cool slightly
- Heat the grill to high
- While the potatoes are cooling, heat two tablespoons of the oil in a small sauté pan on the grates of the grill
- Next, add the garlic, thyme, and chilli flakes and cook until the garlic is just soft about 45 seconds
- Remove from heat
- Slice your potatoes in half lengthwise
- Now slice each half into 3 or 4 wedges, depending on the size
- Brush the wedges with the remaining three tablespoons of oil and seasoning
- Now it’s time to grill until the wedges become lightly golden brown and just cooked through = roughly 6 minutes
- Remove the wedges to a platter and quickly toss with the garlic mixture and chopped parsley
THAT'S A WRAP!
We hope you enjoyed this great blend of savory vegan recipes for the perfect summer cookout. Barbecuing, especially in the summertime, is a great way to get together with friends and family and cook up some favorites. Not only that, but it's a real treat testing with new vegan dishes that brings a whole new meaning to grilling and smoking. Despite the extra little time required to prepare these dishes, you'll find that it's one hundred percent worth trying and tasting. So, what are you waiting for? Get firing!