Vegetarian BBQ Ideas

Summer is here and what better time to make the most of your grill.

Many people think a cookout isn’t a cookout if you’re not grilling meat. Maybe you are tired of the same hot dogs, burgers and BBQ chicken.

Or perhaps you have some vegetarian guests coming to your next grilling session and you have no idea where to start.

Whatever the reason, we are here to give you some inspiration with our vegetarian grilling ideas.

Before we jump into some delicious recipes, let’s run through some tips and tricks to hosting a vegetarian BBQ.

Whether or not the food you will be preparing is exclusively vegetarian, it is important to consider some of the following points.

Tips for a Great Vegetarian BBQ

Is Your BBQ Exclusively Vegetarian?

Vegetarian BBQ

The first thing to consider when grilling for vegetarians is if you are cooking exclusively vegetarian food.

If you are planning on cooking both meat and vegetable based dishes, consider the setup of the grill. Many vegetarians will not want their food prepared in and among meat dishes.

To ensure there is no cross contamination, divide the grill into sections and ensure one section is reserved for vegetarian food.

That way you will guarantee that none of your vegetarian food will have any meat remnants on it.

Alternatively, you could consider grilling the vegetarian food on a separate grill, or cooking it prior to the meat.

Check Food Preparation Instructions

There is a great variety of meat-free alternatives available that can be served at a BBQ.

Many ready-made veggie burgers and other meat-free foods, like sausages, will taste great when grilled.

However, just because they are made to resemble meat does not mean they can be cooked the same way. Many meat-free or mock-meat foods will behave completely differently to actual meat on the grill.

In order to avoid any culinary disasters, make sure you read the instructions. Some veggie alternatives may require pre-cooking in an oven or pan before being ready for the grill. Familiarize yourself with the directions and plan your grilling around them.

You Don’t Have to BBQ Everything

When making vegetarian BBQ options, why not think outside the box?

Try mixing up your favourite salads by adding in a few grilled ingredients. For example, if you are making a salad that calls for peaches or sweet corn, try grilling those ingredients first.

Grilling one or two ingredients to be used in salads or dips gives them a real smokey kick. That said, not all ingredients can handle the heat of the grill.

Make sure to choose items that are firm and will stand up to the heat. Some vegetarian products that are perfect for grilling include:

  • Peaches
  • Sweet corn
  • Yellow or red bell peppers
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    Eggplant
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    Pineapple
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    Apples
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    Onions
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    Tomato (halves or quarters)
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    Halloumi, feta or paneer cheese (make sure they are vegetarian)

So what are you waiting for?

Mix grilled ingredients and uncooked ingredients for added flavor and texture. Adding barbequed ingredients to salads is truly delicious.

Get the Freshest Vegetables Possible

Young Woman Buying Vegetables

When preparing vegetarian-based dishes it is best to start with the freshest ingredients you can lay your hands on.

This will help your food to have the most flavor too.

Take your time when selecting your produce, to ensure that all of the fruit and veggies you buy are fresh and ripe.

Why not try visiting local farmers markets to get the best quality fruit and vegetables that are in season? Not only will you be choosing from produce that is farm-fresh, but you will be helping to support local farmers.

Marinade to Add Flavor

When it comes to working with vegetables as main ingredients, it’s important not to compromise on taste.

If they have not been prepared correctly, veggies can be bland and lack real flavor. Nobody wants boring vegetables.

The best way to ensure delicious vegetables every time is by marinating them. A marinade is mixture of oil, herbs or spices used to flavor ingredients before cooking. Food sits in a marinade to soak up the herbs and spices used, making it more flavorful and delicious.

Marinating meat can take up to 24 or 48 hours in order to reap the full benefits. However, when it comes to marinating vegetables, you don’t need as much time. Most will absorb the flavors of a marinade in about 30 to 60 minutes.

There are plenty of different marinade recipes available online to get you started. This is such a quick and easy way to infuse flavor into your vegetables quickly.

The flavor combinations that can be achieved with a marinade are endless.

Whether it’s Mexican, Indian, Asian or Mediterranean tastes you are looking for, a marinade can easily help you achieve them.

In order to ensure you get the most out of your marinade, once again be certain to use the freshest ingredients. Fresh herbs and spices have the most amount of flavor.

When you’re working with the freshest ingredients available you will get the best flavors for your grilled foods.

Finally, when it comes to using your favorite marinade to infuse flavor, you aren’t just limited to vegetables.

Hard and grillable cheeses like halloumi and paneer will also benefit from marinating. However, you should check that your choice of cheese is suitable for vegetarians before offering it—some types can be made using animal derivatives.

Other vegetarian alternatives, like tofu, can also be marinated, so the options really are wide open.

Vegetarian BBQ Ideas

Now let’s get into the tasty part.

We have some easy vegetarian BBQ ideas that will keep your guests coming back for more.

We have tried to keep all of our recipes simple and easy in order to let the flavors of the vegetables really shine.

1. DIY Veggie Kabob Station

Grilled Veggie Kabobs

This requires a bit of preparation but is designed to be interactive for your guests.

This is also a great option if you are hosting vegetarians at a BBQ for the first time. Allowing your guests to assemble their own kabobs ensures they are tailored to their individual flavor preferences.

You could prepare any ingredients you wish for your kabobs, but here is what we recommend.

Make sure you do not cut the pieces too small. Everything that you prepare for the kabobs should be in cubes around 1 inch x 1 inch.

Ingredients For Kabobs

  • 1 large eggplant
  • 3 large portobello mushrooms
  • ½ pineapple
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    1 large courgette
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    1 8 oz pack of halloumi cheese
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    1 large red onion

Marinade

  • 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
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    zest of 1 lemon
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    ¼ tsp pepper
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    ½ tsp salt

Method

  • Combine all marinade ingredients in a bowl
  • Cube all of your kabob ingredients and place each into an individual dish or bowl
  • Mix 2 tablespoons of marinade into each of the kabob ingredients and mix well
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    Allow the kabob ingredients to marinade for at least 1 hour before grilling
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    Set up an area near your grill with kabob sticks (skewers) and your marinated vegetables, and invite guests to create their own vegetarian kabobs
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    Grill each kabob for about 3-4 minutes on each side or until it has developed a nice charred color

2. Grilled Corn With Chili Garlic Butter

Grilled Corn With Chili Garlic Butter

This is a true grill classic.

Grilled corn on the cob is always a crowd pleaser at BBQ gatherings, for vegetarians and meat-eaters alike.

The chili garlic butter served with this grilled corn gives it a real burst of flavor.

Ingredients

  • ½ cup butter
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 tbsp chilli sauce
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    1 tbsp fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
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    6 corn on the cob

Method

  • Mix butter, garlic, chilli sauce and cilantro in a bowl until well combined
  • Place the butter mix onto a piece of plastic wrap and roll into a sausage shape
  • Place the wrapped butter into the fridge to chill
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    Grill corn on the cob for around 7-10 minutes, turning often to avoid burning
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    Cut the refrigerated butter mix into slices
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    Serve the corn with slices of chili garlic butter

3. Easy Veggie Mushroom Burgers

Mushroom Burger

Substituting the meat patty for a whole portobello mushroom is a great vegetarian alternative.

The natural meatiness of the portobello mushroom will satisfy anyone's appetite.

Ingredients

  • 6 whole portobello mushrooms
  • 5 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 ½ tbsp soy sauce
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    2 tbsp olive oil
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    2 tsp steak sauce (like A1 or your favorite steak sauce)
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    1 clove of garlic - crushed
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    1 tbsp fresh rosemary - finely chopped

Method

  • Place vinegar, soy sauce, olive oil, garlic, steak sauce and rosemary into a large bowl and mix until well combined
  • Add the whole mushrooms to the bowl and gently toss until coated in marinade
  • Allow the mushrooms to sit in the marinade for around 30 minutes at room temperature before grilling
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    Place the mushrooms on a medium grill and keep any remaining marinade to baste during cooking
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    Grill mushrooms for about 5 - 7 minutes on each side. While cooking, brush the mushrooms with remaining marinade
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    During the last minute of cooking you can add grated vegetarian cheese to the top and allow to melt
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    Place your mushroom burger into a roll to serve

These mushroom burgers taste great served with grilled onions, avocado, tomato and your favorite condiments.

4. Bulgur Salad With BBQ Vegetables

Bulgur Salad With BBQ Vegetables

This salad is so quick and easy to prepare.

With the vegetables prepared on the BBQ, the salad has a lovely smoky flavor and a beautiful texture. It’s the perfect side salad for any BBQ get together.

Ingredients

  • 5 ½ oz bulgur wheat
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 small eggplants - sliced lengthways
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    2 red or yellow bell peppers - sliced lengthways
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    2 tbsp olive oil
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    3 ½ oz hard feta cheese - cubed
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    ½ cup of fresh basil leaves - roughly chopped
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    1 tsp salt
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    ½ tsp pepper

Method

  • Prepare bulgur wheat according to the package instructions. Once cooked, place it into a large mixing bowl and stir in tomato paste as well as the salt & pepper
  • Mix prepared vegetables with olive oil until well combined and then place onto a hot grill
  • Cook the vegetables for about 5 minutes on each side or until they have developed a nice charred color
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    Gently stir the cooked vegetables into the bulgar along with the feta cheese and basil
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    Cut the refrigerated butter mix into slices
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    This salad can be served immediately, stored in the fridge or at room temperature. If storing in the fridge or at room temperature, cover with plastic wrap

5. Grilled Fruit and Ice-Cream

Ice Cream With BBQ Fruit

This easy and delicious dessert option is guaranteed to be a hit at your next BBQ.

Ensure that you clean your grill grates before applying the fruit. This is to prevent any meaty or salty flavors getting onto the fruit.

Ingredients

  • 1 pineapple cut into slices
  • 6 peaches, halved with stone removed
  • 4 tbsp brown sugar
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    2 tbsp cinnamon
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    Vanilla ice-cream to serve (or any vegetarian ice-cream you prefer)

Method

  • Place prepared fruit into a bowl with sugar and cinnamon
  • Mix well until all fruit is coated
  • Grill fruit for about 5-7 minutes or until nice and golden brown
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    Serve warm with scoops of your favourite vegetarian ice-cream

Final Thoughts

With our recipes, you are now ready to host the perfect vegetarian BBQ.

Or at least have some delicious vegetarian friendly options if you are feeding a mix of dietary needs.

Plus, the results are really enjoyable, even for non-vegetarians.

Ensure you are working with the freshest and best ingredients possible. This will help you to achieve the greatest flavor.

Marinades are also an easy and effective way to add extra flavor to your vegetables. Any bland vegetables can be transformed by a marinade.

Grilling Vegetables

We recommend trying more vegetarian based grilling ideas to mix it up and help get your five a day. It is recommended to eat five portions of fruit and vegetables every day.

However, grills can so often be all about the meat with hardly any fruits and vegetables. What better way to increase your vitamin and mineral intake than with a healthy BBQ?

Adding some vegetarian options to your grill will benefit not only your health but your taste buds as well.

So, what are you waiting for? Go get that grill fired up and those vegetables chopped. The perfect summer BBQ is only a few cuts and slices away.

Happy grilling!

​Resources

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This post was last updated on August 18th, 2018 at 02:19 pm

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