After a long winter, outdoor time is so cherished, and cooking and eating al fresco is a great way to make the most of longer days and warm evenings.
But before you run out to get the standard burgers and hot dogs, consider all the other delicious foods you could put on the grill… They will likely be more colorful, certainly better for you and you will wildly impress your family and guests with your creativity! Here are some ideas for a super colorful, all vegetarian/vegan grilled meal to get you started.
Vegetarian Foods to place directly on the grill:
- thick slices of tofu and tempeh, best if marinaded first
- thick slices of eggplant
- sliced potatoes and sweet potatoes
- spring onions, leeks, or fennel
- halves of peaches or nectarines
- thick slices of pineapple
- unshucked corn on the cob, after having soaked them in a bucket of water.
Or, with a collection of wooden or metal skewers, another world of grilling options open up. Cut into roughly 1 inch cubes: eggplant, zucchini, summer squash, cherry or grape tomatoes (left whole), peppers, onions, mushroom, garlic cloves, tofu, tempeh, as well as fruit such as pineapple, peaches, nectarines, even bananas.
Either way, begin by brushing with olive or grapeseed oil, then sprinkle with salt, pepper and any other seasoning you like.
Marinades, sauces and salsas can make turn any collection of grilled foods into a special meal. Buy them ready-made (try to select ones with real ingredients), or make them yourself. Tonight, I made a very simple honey-mustard dressing. I had very few ingredients and no measuring spoons, so I mixed together some mayonnaise, honey, mustard, olive oil, squeeze of fresh lemon juice, salt and pepper.
Along side your fabulous variety of grilled foods, you may want to have a hearty loaf of bread. You can cut thick slices and toast them on the grill. Add a bruschetta topping made from summer-ripe fresh tomatoes and basil.
Basic Bruschetta Recipe
- 4 cloves garlic, each cut in half
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2-3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- roughly 1/4 cup fresh basil, leaves pulled off, washed and dried
- 4-5 medium, ripe tomatoes. You can cut and use them as they are, but for a smoother final result, it is worth taking the time to peel them first, then chop coarsely and place in a strainer to drain for 15-20 minutes. Make sure to save this juice — you can drink it, or add to a soup stock.
- sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.
- Boil water to dip the tomatoes in so that you can peel them easily. Cut tomatoes and let sit to drain.
- Cut basil into thin strips (lay leaves on top of each other and roll them up making a long roll; then cut thin diagonal strips for a beautiful effect).
- Combine ingredients with vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper.
- Cut garlic clove in half and rub over one side of each of the grilled slices of bread. Spread a generous spoonful of bruschetta on top.