Any vegetarian can agree that being the only non-meat eater at a barbecue can be very uncomfortable. Regardless if you accepted an invitation out of sincere friendship or obligatory politeness, being a guest to someone else's outdoor cooking event means trying to find something to nibble on that kind of fits into your diet while still pretending to enjoy yourself. Once you learn the basics of grilling and have a couple of modifiable recipes in hand, you can host your own party with meatless dishes that will satisfy any carnivore.
Here are some grilling tips and recipes that will make your dietary choices less burdensome at your next cookout:
- Oil them up. Veggies dry out when they hit the heat, so before tossing them on the grill, brush a little bit of olive oil on them. Doing this will also help seasonings stick! Note: Avoid using too much oil as it will only add unnecessary calories.
- Know Your Vegetable. Some veggies are more dense than others, which means that they take longer to cook. Keeping them over a high heat for too long will cause them to burn on the outside while the inside is still raw — prevent this by searing them on a high heat and move them to a cooler spot on the grill to finish cooking.
- Take advantage of skewers. When grilling small chunks of a vegetables or cherry tomatoes, pierce them with a skewer or place them on a grill basket. DIY: Fold a 24-inch-long piece of heavy duty foil in half and crimp up the edges to create a lip. (via Eating Well)
- Pay attention to size. Small pieces of vegetables will cook faster than big pieces, especially when placed on a skewer. When grilling round vegetables such as onions and eggplants, cut them thinly to get a nice, thin crisp on the outside.
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Blue Cheese Portobello Mushroom Burger. It's hard to pass up a recipe that includes blue cheese, especially when it's paired with healthy and delicious ingredients. Show your guests how tasty mushrooms can be when they're grilled to perfection, sandwiched between fresh garden vegetables and lightly touched by a guilt-free condiment. Check out the recipe here!
Tips for grilling Portobello mushrooms: Before grilling, start by brushing off any dirt clinging to the mushroom while it's dry. Lightly coat both sides of the mushroom with olive oil. Season the mushroom according to recipe (or however you wish to season it). Set on grill for 5 to 6 minutes, then turn it over and grill for another 5 to 6 minutes. The finished mushroom should be slightly smaller in size with a firm texture.
Grilled Summer Vegetable Salad. This recipe is fairly simple, easy to make, and is full of your favorite summer ingredients. The Grilled Summer Vegetable Salad is gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, sugar-free, soy-free and nut-free, so it can be enjoyed by a wide variety of eaters. Get creative with dressings and throw in a couple add-ons to taste. Check it out here!
Tips for grilling eggplant: In a large bowl, dissolve 2 tablespoons of salt in 1 cup of water, then add 2 quarts of cold water and set aside. Trim the eggplant, peel it and trim into about 3/4-inch thick lengthwise pieces. Put the pieces in the salt water, weigh them down with an upside down plate and let it sit for 30 minutes. After sitting for 30 minutes, drain the eggplant and pat dry with paper towels. Lay on a large baking sheet or tray, lightly brush each strip with olive oil and finish with a sprinkle of salt. Lay the strips down oil-side-down and close the lid of the grill. Let it cook for about 5 minutes or until the grill marks appear. Brush the top side of the strips on the grill and repeat previous step. Cook for another 5 minutes or until the grill marks appear. (via About Food)
MORE 'QUEING VEGGIE RECIPES
Chipotle Corn on the Cob. This recipe is only 117 calories and only takes 20 minutes to make. Corn on the cob is essential for any grilling occasion and can hold a wide range of flavor combinations to satisfy many palettes. Click here to check out our Chipotle Corn on the Cob recipe!
Grilled Okra with Sriracha Lime Salt. This recipe makes the most out of a commonly-forgotten vegetable by infusing it with exciting, zesty flavors and pairing it with a spicy sriracha dipping sauce. A definite must-try for any grilling feign. Check out the recipe here!
Grilled Avocado with Cherry Tomatoes and Herbs. This is a great appetizer to make for guests when the grill is already fired up for upcoming entrees. Squeeze a little lemon juice on top to add an extra kick of flavor. For those that are counting calories, modify this recipe by cutting back to 1 teaspoon of pine nuts to sprinkle on top. Check out the recipe here.
Heirloom Tomato and Grilled Corn Salad. This is another example of a recipe that can enjoyed by a variety of eaters. The simple combination of ingredients in a subtle oil-based dressing will serve as a perfect appetizer for your guests. Modify the heat intensity by adjusting the amount of jalapeño peppers used. Click here to see!
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Grilled Brussels Sprouts. Brussels sprouts don't have the greatest popularity, but this recipe is guaranteed to make you think otherwise. For vegetarians, modify this recipe by removing the handful of crumbled bacon listed, and for calorie-counters, substitute the parmesan cheese for a reduced fat option.
Kick-Ass Curry Burger. This recipe is a little bit more labor-intensive in comparison to the other ones listed, but is totally worth the time and energy needed. Packed with healthy, whole ingredients and a seasoning medley that will leave you grabbing for second, the Kick-Ass Curry Burger is the next cookout recipe you need to try! Click here to get the recipe.