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Vegetarian bbq?

Hi guys,

I'm having a vegetarian couple over for a bbq in a few weeks -- just two couples (me and my husband who are huge meat eaters -- I'm going to make ribs for us) and them. Any ideas what I can make other than popping a couple of frozen veggie burger patties on the grill?


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  1. Vegatables like eggplant, cabbage, corn, asparagus, onions, broccoli, cauliflower, squash, etc. are all great on the grill and roasted.

    Potatoes, regular and sweet varieties, are staples for BBQ (vegetarian or not).

    And, if you want to get a little creative, try and BBQ some pizza on the grill. If you don't want to mess with making your own dough, buy frozen from the market and all you have to do is get creative with the toppings. Oil your grill grate, lay on your dough, top with some sauce and cheese, close the lid for about a 3 or 4 minutes (depending on the thickness of your crust), then add your choice of toppings (those veggies that I suggest you grill would be good choices), then close the lid for another 1 or 2 minutes, and you're good to go.

    1. You can also get some beautiful portabello muchrooms. Stuff them and grill them or make a burger out of them.

      And Ipsedixit's ideas are +1 :-)

      1 Reply
      1. re: boyzoma

        yes, grilled portabellos are fabulous. we like them filled with goat cheese and served over a big salad. you can also grill zucchini, eggplant, bell peppers ( not green though), sweet onion, asparagus, fennel. there's quite a bit you can do and all of you can have them saving you having to do separate side dishes to have with your ribs.

      2. What about vegetable kebobs with a satay peanut sauce brushed on them as they cook? I usually use chunks of onions, red peppers, cherry or cocktail tomatoes, zucchini, yellow squash, cremini mushrooms.

        For the satay sauce, while it's not "authentic", it works for me. :-) Spices can be amped up depending on how spicy they might like it.

        1/3 cup peanut oil
        3 Tbsp peanut butter
        1/2 tsp ground ginger
        1/2 tsp curry powder
        3 Tbsp honey
        2 tsp lemon juice
        2 Tbsp ketchup
        2 Tbsp teriyaki sauce
        dash Tabasco sauce or hot chili oil
        1/2 tsp garlic powder
        1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
        1/2 tsp dry mustard
        1 oz sherry

        Blend all of that together in a bowl with a whisk, and brush it on the veggie kabobs while they're grilled. Takes maybe 10-15 minutes for cooking on all sides. Serve them over basmati rice with more peanut sauce on the side (I often double the recipe for the peanut sauce so I have enough to drizzle over the kebobs after cooking and being taken off the skewers onto the rice.)

        14 Replies
        1. re: LindaWhit

          You could even amp up the protein here a bit and include chunks of extra-firm tofu, marinated in a little of that sauce. My husband regularly grills tofu for me and some of our veg friends and it's delicious, esp. over charcoal.


          1. re: gansu girl

            Good idea! I'm not a fan of tofu, perhaps because when my father "went vegetarian" for a brief moment in time, he didn't prepare it well. (This was also back in the 1970s, so perhaps what was available also wasn't as varied as is now.)

            But would the tofu cook faster than the veggies? I do know the zucchini and yellow squash can take a bit, depending on how thick they are cut (I usually cut them about a half-inch thick).

            1. re: LindaWhit

              Here's my 2 cents on kabobs in general. Use a separate skewer for each ingredient, that way everything can cook at its own pace. I realize everything mixed on one kabob looks pretty, but unless you pick all of your ingredients carefully, something will always be over/undercooked.

              Plus, once everything comes off of the skewers, does it really matter?

              1. re: Philly Ray

                That's a great practical suggestion, Philly Ray - probably the safest bet w/those other ingredients. We often par-cook our stuff in the house and then finish it on the grill, but it's much easier to do separate skewers.


                1. re: gansu girl

                  Not only is it practical, it's the way things are supposed to be cooked on skewers. "Kabobs" as we know them the pre-marinated, pre-assembled mix of meats and vegetables look real pretty, I must admit, but it's all for show.

                  The meat counter at your local grocery store would have a real hard time selling raw meat on a stick, but if you slide on some bright red cherry tomatoes, some green bell pepper and some purple ("red") onion your eyes are immediately drawn to them. It's a marketing ploy. You take some cheap meat, some cheap vegetables, arrange them on a stick and suddenly you can charge a few buck more per pound.

                2. re: Philly Ray

                  I would do that if I had chicken or beef on the skewers, but with the veggies I mentioned, if properly cut (as I try to do) they pretty much cook at the same time.

                  1. re: Philly Ray

                    Sounds very familiar to a post I made a few days ago:
                    Jul 22, 2010 10:50AM

                    "But do me this favor, (and I'm not accusing, just a general reminder for everyone) when you cook kabobs put all the ingredients of the same type on the same skewer. Onion cooks slower than cherry tomatoes, and mushrooms cook faster than bell pepper. To solve this put all your onion slices on one skewer, all your tomatoes on another, etc. and cook them for the appropriate length of time. Mixing and matching different ingredients on the same skewers looks pretty, but invariably will result in one ingredient burning or overcooking and another ingredient turning out raw or undercooked."


                    1. re: Philly Ray

                      This is why I love my grill basket. No skewers needed and you can add veggies as you go for cooking times i.e. cherry tomatoes and pineapple at the very last so they don't over cook.

                      1. re: boyzoma

                        America's Test Kitchen recently did a rating on grill toppers and baskets. They found the Weber stainless steel grill topper to be the best of the bunch. It still gave good grill flavor without steaming the vegetables because they were on top of each other. What do you think? Did you catch the episode?

                    2. re: LindaWhit

                      "But would the tofu cook faster than the veggies?"

                      Tofu doesn't need to be cooked. You might want it warmed through, but it's not like you can under-cook tofu.

                      1. re: Shaw Oliver

                        mmm, yeah, but you can dry it way the heck out and then it'll be chewy and kinda gross . . . . so I think we all agree, the multi-skewer method is best!


                        1. re: gansu girl

                          Agreed. I just wanted to stop the misconception.

                    3. re: gansu girl

                      Most options have been covered, but for those who aren't fans of tofu, marinated tempeh is another option for protein.

                      1. re: enbell

                        Yes, I sometimes marinate it in a simple vinaigrette, grill it, and then toss it in a bit more vinaigrette afterwards.

                  2. Grilled polenta, haloumi cheese, marinated tempeh, vegetarian bbq peans (use liquid smoke or smoked paprika), grilled quessadillas, farinata in a cast iron pan.

                    And I second all the suggestions already given.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: jsaimd

                      I saw a terrific recipe for grilled haloumi in the June (or May?) issue of Bon Appetit this year (available online). I'm trying to locate haloumi not made from animal rennet, which has been challenging to say the least. It may not be an issue for some vegetarians, but sadly, it's a deal breaker for us :(

                        1. re: Shaw Oliver

                          I second this. Grilled pizza is fantastic and I will give the vegetarians a main instead of just sides.

                          1. re: bookhound

                            Exactly. Many people try to cook something different for their vegetarian guests. I think that's a big mistake. More often than not the cook isn't well versed in the ingredients and the results tend to be odd and bland (tofu and tempeh are great examples of this). Instead, cooking something that is very often vegetarian anyway is a good way to go. The cook is more at ease, the preparation is simplified and the vegetarian doesn't feel like they are being singled out.

                            Grilled pizza is far simpler than people think and you can have several ingredients lined up so people can pick and choose what they want for their own pizza.

                            1. re: Shaw Oliver

                              I don't disagree completely, but my vegetarian son doesn't consider the tofu or tempeh as an afterthought. He enjoys both, and appreciates having some protein in his meal.

                              I won't argue about grilled pizza, though. One of my favorite foods.

                              1. re: bear

                                Very true... But I bet your son has cooked it many times and many ways and has developed techniques that make the ingredient the best it can be! :-) There are times and places where tofu and tempeh, etc. can work wonders but to me, slapping a hunk of tofu on the grill to appease your guests while you chomp on ribs seems like an hastily made afterthought and is frankly, rather rude. I'd rather make something that everyone can enjoy and so no one feels like they've imposed their eating habits and beliefs on the host(s).

                          2. re: Shaw Oliver

                            DH and I did grilled pizza last weekend. How fun is that! It's fun to choose your own ingredients. It is also a very interactive meal that everyone can join in on. (DH liked mine better than his)

                          3. already great veggie suggestions --

                            i like miso marinated eggplant
                            garlic rubbed onion slices
                            peaches with basil
                            flavored tempeh

                            1. If you could get some small skewers, like those used for yakitori, you could spear about five or six ginko nuts on each skewer and lightly grill them after covering them with sesame oil and a bit of course salt.

                              1. I don't know your friends, but any of my vegetarian friends would be very unhappy if I were to put their food on the same grill as my meat. The only way to go is to do veg for yourselves too, on a grill that has been cleaned extremely well first.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: Dan G

                                  I am a vegetarian and those are my thoughts exactly. I don't want your meat juices on my food. I love grilled vegetable quesadillas and the cheese can provide the protein. Guacamole, sour cream, salsa....yum. And the side dishes are endless.