The VARIETY File

Some people believe that embracing plant-based options at a barbecue is just a passing trend. However, it’s a conscious choice that brings more options to the table. Gone are the days when grilling was only synonymous with sizzling meat patties and juicy sausages.

Incorporating plant-based options at a barbecue creates inclusivity. By offering a range of delicious plant-based dishes, hosts ensure that everyone, from vegetarians and vegans to those with dietary restrictions, can join in the festivities and indulge in a delicious meal. It’s a gesture that demonstrates thoughtfulness and consideration, fostering a welcoming atmosphere where no one feels left out.

But it’s not just about making everyone feel included. Plant-based options at a barbecue also align with health consciousness. These alternatives tend to be lower in saturated fat and cholesterol.  Regarding vegetarian barbecues, the focus is on grilling an assortment of colorful vegetables and plant-based proteins. Skewers loaded with marinated bell peppers, zucchini, eggplant, mushrooms, and cherry tomatoes take center stage on the grill. Once on the grill, they’ll get a delicious smoky flavor and tender texture.

Alongside the vegetable skewers, you can also serve up plant-based burgers made from ingredients like black beans, lentils, or quinoa. You can grill these patties to achieve a charred exterior, offering a satisfying and flavorful alternative to traditional meat burgers.

Barbecues extend beyond the realm of juicy burgers, hotdogs, ribs, and smoked chicken breasts. Whether you follow a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle or simply aim to reduce your meat consumption, you don’t have to feel left out. With the barbecue season in full swing, vegetarians and plant-based enthusiasts now have a multitude of meat alternatives to enjoy. From plant-based burgers and sausages to grilled tofu and veggies, there are plenty of delicious options available for those who prefer plant-based BBQ options.

Check out these five savory meat alternatives for the grill.

  • Grilled Veggies

    The star of the show at a vegetarian BBQ is often the assortment of grilled vegetables. The vegetables are typically marinated or brushed with flavorful sauces or herbs before being cooked on the grill. A yummy veggie to throw on the grill would be zucchini with a drizzle of Italian seasonings, olive oil, and lemon juice. Another option would be grilled garlic mushrooms with a bit of garlic and balsamic vinegar or grilled cabbage with a tandoori marinade.

    Vegetables on the grill, close up

    Jelena Danilovic/ Getty Images

  • Veggie Burgers

    A vegetarian BBQ often features a variety of veggie burger options. These burgers can be made from ingredients like black beans, lentils, chickpeas, quinoa, or even grilled portobello mushrooms. They are typically served on buns and topped with condiments, such as lettuce, tomatoes, onions, pickles, and vegetarian-friendly sauces.

    Close shot of the meat like plant-based patties for vegetarian beef burgers being grilled on hot griddle

    BackyardProduction/ Getty Images

  • Planted Based Sausages & Hot Dogs

    To mimic the classic BBQ experience, plant-based sausages, and hot dogs are popular additions to a BBQ. These meatless alternatives are made from ingredients like soy, tofu, seitan, or vegetables and are grilled until they’re charred on the outside.

    Carrot vegan hot dog with relish, ketchup and onions isolated on white

    jenifoto/ Getty Images

  • Grilled Tofu & Tempeh

    Tofu and tempeh are versatile plant-based protein sources. You can marinate and grill them at BBQs. Tofu can be marinated in a variety of sauces or spices to add flavor. While tempeh, a fermented soybean product, has a naturally nutty taste.

    Barbecue tofu

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  • Grilled Fruit Desserts

    Fruits like pineapple, peaches, watermelon, and bananas are often grilled to bring out their natural sweetness and enhance their flavors. They can also be served as-is or paired with a scoop of vegan ice cream. A fruit that would go perfectly on the grill is pineapple. You can create a rum-glazed pineapple if you’re feeling ambitious. Just marinate your pineapple in dark spiced rum and brown sugar before putting it on the grill.

    Fresh peaches on grill macro. Horizontal

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