Photo credit: woodleywonderworks
Is it even legal not to grill for Memorial Day? It may actually be required in some states, but I can’t guarantee it.
Most people think of meat when they think of grilling, and I imagine that’s the reasons many grill owners own grills. And the very thought of a vegetarian or vegan coming over for a holiday cookout strikes terror into their hearts.
My husband is unfazed, having run interference at many a backyard barbecue to prevent a case of “meat-juicing” or inedible charcoal briquettes. And he’s stopping by today to share his top 5 tips for peaceable inter-dietary grilling.
Grilling Tips for Vegetarians
- Prevent cross-contamination.
- Don’t overcook.
- Make homemade veggie burgers or marinate portobello mushrooms.
- Inform vegetarians that you’ve taken measures so they can eat without worry.
- When in doubt, ask!
Bring two plates for finished items, and two spatulas or tongs. Don’t share grill space. If the grill is cleaned off really well and super hot, that should be clean enough. If not, use tinfoil as a buffer. If you have two racks, make sure there isn’t meat dripping on veggie items below. You’d think this is obvious, but I’ve seen it many times.
Frozen veggie patties and veggie burgers are pre-cooked; heating them requires less time than their meaty counterparts. Soy patties become crunchy hockey pucks when overcooked that even ketchup can’t save. Veggie dogs get tough and dried out. Make sure you add them to the grill last so they’re done at the same time as everyone else’s food. They may also require a little oil brushed on the grill to prevent sticking since they don’t have the fat that meat does.
Make your own meatless burgers
The store-bought ones are OK, but from my meat-eating husband: “If you want to impress your vegetarian girlfriend or wife, a portobello burger or spicy jalapeno black burger tastes a lot better.” It takes 10 minutes of hands on time. You can also grill veggie kabobs, asparagus, corn, fruit, potatoes, tofu or tempeh.
Keep everyone informed
Make sure vegetarians know you’re cooking something they can eat. I hate being “that girl” checking on everything before I take a bite. I totally appreciate your efforts and am a better guest if I don’t feel like I have to pester the grill master or mistress. I don’t expect it, however, so please let me know so I can bring you a beer of encouragement and thanks.
Never cooked fake meat before? Don’t even know what to buy? Ask a veg guest to BYO-grillables or how to cook something, then you both know they’ll have something to their liking. I’d rather answer a few questions or stop at the store than show up and not be able to eat anything.
Is any of this new to you? Add your own vegetarian grilling tips (and your favorite barbecue dish) in the comments!
Other excellent vegetarian dishes for a barbecue: