More than salad
June 19, 2006 7:28 PM   Subscribe

Suggestions for barbequey, easy-to-prepare vegan food?

What are some foods that vegans and omnivores can share, which feel appropriate at a barbeque? We'll be doing vegetable shishkabobs, but what else? The omnivores are getting burgers and hot dogs -- nothing fancy.

I have almost no time to cook, so nothing too complicated, please; I'd be happy to go to a grocery store and buy prepared food, if it tasted good (PCC, Trader Joe's, and Costco are all options).
posted by The corpse in the library to Food & Drink (28 answers total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
Get a butternut squash (kind of a tan colour, often with a long neck), cut it in 1" slices, coat each side in olive oil and maybe some oregano, throw it on the grill. Flip once.

Trust me, it's fabulous.
posted by Kickstart70 at 7:32 PM on June 19, 2006

Skewers, skewers, skewers. Hunks of various chunkable vegetables (potatoes, squash, some smallish tomatoes, bell peppers, carrot, corn, onion) on a stick!
posted by majick at 7:34 PM on June 19, 2006

Well, I don't know anything about this. Okay, here, grill some big fat portobello mushroom caps.

All I really wanted to say was what a fantastic username you have. Superb!
posted by kookoobirdz at 7:35 PM on June 19, 2006

I hate vegetable shishkabobs, to be honest. Different vegetables have different cooking times, and if you lump them all together on a skewer you will, by definition, undercook or overcook some of them.

I'd grill three veg:

Portobello mushroom caps sliced half-inch thick and dredged through marinade briefly before going on the grill

Red, yellow, orange bell peppers, half grilled and half cooked lid-on, so they're semi-charred but soft;

Zucchini, sliced half-inch thick and browned on each side.

Both the peppers and zukes should be rolled in soy sauce/ veg oil before grilling; anoint with basalmic, salt and fresh ground pepper, extra virgin olive oil, squeeze of lemon, fresh herbs (your choice of).

Then there's grilled tofu.
posted by sacre_bleu at 7:35 PM on June 19, 2006

Tempeh is also good as an alternative to Tofu.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 7:38 PM on June 19, 2006

For dessert?

Grilled pineapple. You don't even have to fuss with the caramel sauce if you don't want to.
posted by sacre_bleu at 7:38 PM on June 19, 2006

Grilled asparagus with plenty of olive oil and kosher salt is my BBQ vegetable of choice. Plus corn on the cob. Grilled peaches are also good barbeque desert.
posted by frogan at 7:42 PM on June 19, 2006

Enroll at BBQU! I cooked the portobellos and they were very good and very easy.
posted by Frank Grimes at 7:52 PM on June 19, 2006

On the grill: sweet white corn. It's sooooo good, even butter lovers will want it plain.

Have lots of melon, too, of course.

And maybe some vegan veggie burgers? Gardenburger makes a vegan option, and I'd guess that MorningStar and Boca Burger do too.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 8:07 PM on June 19, 2006

Hummous. Hummous made with eggplants roasted on a BBQ is especially tasty.
posted by adamrice at 8:18 PM on June 19, 2006

Yves makes wicked yummy Souvlaki and Satay tempeh skewers, but I'm not 100% sure they are vegan. Some of thier products contain eggs, but I don't have them in the house to verify at the moment, and can't find ingredients online at the moment.
posted by WinnipegDragon at 8:25 PM on June 19, 2006

Personally, I hate premade veggie bbq stuff (burgers and whatnot). I'd go this route instead:

Great marinade for bbq'd veggies:

- 9 oz olive oil
- zest and juice of 1 lemon
- 1 tbs fresh thyme leaves
- 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- salt and pepper

whisk it together of put it in a jar and shake the shit out of it. you can scale the proportion up directly should you want to make more.

Then, blacken the following veggies by first prepping them as follows:

- fennel (halve or quarter the bulbs, depending on size) - boil them in water exactly 2 minutes before bbq

- asparagus (no prep but snap off the ends)

- new potatoes (halve or leave whole if small; boil for 5 mins)

- corn (boil 5 mins)

- pumpkin or butternut squash (chop into large chunks, boil 5 mins)

- zuccinni (get small ones, leave 'em whole or slice in half, length-wise)

- portobello mushrooms (leave whole, grill open side first)

Once grilled, drizzle with the marinade. The ones that you boil first, you can soak them in marinade a bit between boiling and grilling).

Them's from this superb vegetarian cookbook.

Also, if you're cool with non-grilled stuff, here's an excellent vegan, raw Carrot Lime Soup that's a snap to make:

Creamy Carrot Ginger Soup with Lime (serves 2 to 4)

3 cups of carrot juice (buy pre-juiced carrots at the grocery store or health food store)
1 small, ripe avocado
1/2 cup coconut meat (buy it in a can for about $1.25)
1/4 lime juice (about one reamed lime)
2 tbs of agave nectar (about $2.50 a bottle at health food store)
1/2 tbs minced ginger
1/4 tsp of cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp sea salt

1. Put everything in a blender and puree until completely smooth. Taste for seasoning.

2. Garnish with a few cilantro leaves (optional).

This soup is terrific. The recipe actually asks for 1 tbs of ginger but the two times I made it it was too gingery so I cut that in half.

To be served at room temperature.
posted by dobbs at 8:33 PM on June 19, 2006 [1 favorite]

I've just discovered grilled onions... thick slices, brushed with olive oil and cooked until soft and brown. Amazing with anything.
posted by kdern at 8:36 PM on June 19, 2006

I take portabellos, onions, whatever else catches my eye in the grocery... Cut them up, mix them with balsamic vinegar, olive oil and garlic salt in a bowl, let this soak a bit. Wrap bundles of veggies in tin foil (veggie amount per tin foil wrap = about the size of two fists), closing the wraps on either end by twisting the foil. Put each bundle on the grill. The flavors mix together, much better than skewers.

The trick to grilling corn is to soak it in water for awhile in the husks, so that the corn inside steams rather than dries out (like it would without husks), and so the husks don't catch fire.

Buying veggie burgers is another great option. MorningStar's black bean burgers are IMO the best vegan veggieburger out there, though a bit hard to find.
posted by salvia at 8:37 PM on June 19, 2006

The trick to grilling corn is to soak it in water for awhile in the husks, so that the corn inside steams rather than dries out (like it would without husks), and so the husks don't catch fire.

Note: Peel the corn and remove the silk first. Then soak, and then grill it. Bobby Flay's recipe is good, although if you want to kick it Honduran soccer stadium style, rub it with lime, salt, a bit of butter, and some cayenne powder. Phenomenal.
posted by Ufez Jones at 8:47 PM on June 19, 2006 [1 favorite]

i love to mix firm root vegetables, in small cubes, with oil and salt and pepper, put em in a foil bag and grill until gooey and the edges caramelized. Yum. Potato, parsnip, celery root, mushrooms, carrots, beets, etc.
posted by luriete at 9:19 PM on June 19, 2006

Tofurky makes a brat.
posted by nadawi at 9:27 PM on June 19, 2006

How about chickpea salad? You can put the feta on the side. Or here's another, less complicated version.

The Tofurky brat is very good, much better than getting a veggie hot dog.
posted by hooray at 9:37 PM on June 19, 2006

How about some tasty dips like hummus? If you're getting it from a shop it's worth doing a label-check, as some weirdos put yoghurt in it, but it should be ok.
posted by handee at 11:28 PM on June 19, 2006

If you don't want to mess around with a whole pineapple, you can buy pineapple chunks, thread them on a skewer, and grill them that way until the edges just start to char. I love them plain, but I've also seen people sprinkle cinnamon, chili powder or even cayenne on them. Make enough for the omnivores, too.

Whatever you do, make sure that one of the vegan foods you chose is nice and dense and filling. Eating vegetables shouldn't have to mean eating garnish, you know what I mean? Portobellos, squash and the bean-based stuff (hummus, veggie burgers, chickpea salad) are all good options.
posted by nebulawindphone at 4:17 AM on June 20, 2006

I get so tired of burnt veggies barbecued by well-meaning friends. Why not try tempeh? It can be marinated or sauced, handles more easily on the grill than tofu, and is a great burger replacement. Even some of the meaties may be tempted to try it.
posted by methylsalicylate at 5:12 AM on June 20, 2006

I (a vegetarian as well) adore portobello mushrooms, so I'd be ecstatic if that was on the menu at a gathering that I attended. An option that I don't think anyone has mentioned yet, though, is a great pasta salad -- which most non-vegetarians would enjoy as well. People have hot pasta as an entree all the time; no reason why you can't make a hearty pasta salad to satisfy the vegetarians/vegans in your group. This is my current favorite (and includes black beans, making it even more substantial!):

Southwestern Pasta Salad

8 oz rotini pasta
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper (or to taste)
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
2 Tbsp minced garlic
1/2 cups sweet corn
1 (15 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup diced green bell pepper
1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
2 large roma tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain.

In serving bowl, combine oil, lime juice, chili powder, cumin, salt, sugar, and garlic. Add pasta, mix well, and set aside to cool, stirring occasionally.

Stir in corn, beans, green pepper, red pepper, tomatoes, and cilantro. Serve chilled or at room temperature.
posted by roundrock at 5:36 AM on June 20, 2006 [3 favorites]

Grilled Pizza is fantastic, will impress the heck out of guests, and simply by adding or omitting cheese can made for any diet.

It sounds hard but the good folks at Cook's Illustrated have made it doable - see here for the complete guide.
posted by Jos Bleau at 5:46 AM on June 20, 2006

This rice salad is cracking stuff too. Nice and filling.
posted by handee at 5:51 AM on June 20, 2006 [1 favorite]

i second the cooks illustrated grilled pizza. my parents spent last summer perfecting it, and i always made a pretty good vegan version with grilled peppers, zucchini, and such and lots of kalamata olives.

slice grilled veggies like zuchinni and eggplant are good. toss them with some olive oil, salt, paprika, garlic powder (or just seasoned salt), and grill till done. this was something we always ate in the summer as a kid, and is still a hit at bbq's.

oh, and at my last bbq i made a corn and black bean salad that was oddly popular. it's seriously easy to make:
  • open up cans of whole corn and black beans. 1can of corn to 1 can of beans, or whatever you like.
  • dice half a red onion
  • chop up some cilantro (if you like)
  • juice 2-3 limes
  • mix everything together, add salt and pepper to taste.
you can also add whatever you want.
posted by kendrak at 9:50 AM on June 20, 2006

I don't have a recipe but I was at a BBQ a few weeks ago that had a veggie calzone.

They placed some plum tomatos, onions and green peppers with olive oil and oregano on the grill. Grilled until carmalization formed.

They then placed the grilled veggies in some tinfoil then stuck them under the top grate(closer to the embered coals) for around 20-30 minutes. Until the veggies were sufficiently mushy, I suppose.

They had some dough available(surely there's a recipe somewhere). Placed the veggies in the dough. Wrapped it up calzone stylee then back on the BBQ until crispy and brown. I believe the grates were covered with tinfoil to keep the dough from sagging down/breaking.

Dee-lish. I had some sweet italian sausages that would've been perfect in it. But alas...
posted by mnology at 11:55 AM on June 20, 2006

Don't forget grilled peaches and grilled asparagus. Second the corn on the cob and grilled pizza.
posted by orangemiles at 11:57 AM on June 20, 2006

Response by poster: Thanks for all the suggestions, all of which I appreciate and many of which I used. The barbeque was this weekend, and the vegetarians and vegans seemed satisfied (maybe they're just polite). Grilled pineapple is delish, and I had no idea...
posted by The corpse in the library at 11:47 AM on June 26, 2006

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