Grilled food and summer are inseparable ideas, but don’t think that throwing a piece of meat on the BBQ is your only option. In fact, there are many plant-based items that can be tossed on the grill as a delicious meatless options. Whether you’re a vegetarian or not, these are great additions to a summer meal as they bring colour and variety to your plate.
Three ideas for meatless summer grilling
1. Grilled vegetables: Use veggies that have integrity and hold up well — asparagus, zucchini, onions, peppers and yams all taste delicious on the barbecue. You just need to brush them with some oil, such as grapeseed or olive oil, and then lay them flat on the grill or put them into a wire basket. They take anywhere from five to ten minutes to cook, depending on the temperature of your barbecue.
2. Organic tempeh or tofu: These are safe soy options great for the barbecue. They take on any flavour that you marinate them in, and hold up very well to the heat of the grill. Whether they are cubed and put onto a skewer, or just used whole on the grill, they make a great meatless alternative that is hearty and full of protein.
3. Veggie burgers: This can be a homemade variety or a packaged version. If you go with a packaged burger, make sure that there are no preservatives or additives, and that only whole food ingredients such as nuts, seeds, grains and vegetables are used. Sometimes veggie burgers fall apart on the grill, so just place them on a tray or a piece of foil to protect them and keep them together. If you want to try to make your own burgers, try Chatelaine’s recipes for quinoa-veggie burgers and chickpea-falafel burger with cucumber.
Although grilling is fun and gives food a unique taste and texture, don’t make a habit of grilling everyday in the summer. The barbecue’s direct heat on your food certainly causes nutrient loss and emits other harmful toxins that you can end up consuming.
Otherwise, the next time you light up your flames, go ahead and make some of these grilled vegetarian options part of your summer — and try this delicious recipe while you’re at it.
Sweet and sour tempeh kebabs
Tempeh marinade ingredients:
½ cup tamari or soy sauce
1 cup apple juice
½ -1 cup orange juice (two oranges)
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
1 8-ounce package of tempeh
12 skewers (wooden skewers can be soaked in a bowl of cold water for 30 minutes to reduce charring)
1 tablespoon arrowroot or tapioca, dissolved in 2 tablespoons apple juice
6-12 large cremini mushrooms, stemmed and cut in half
½ zucchini cut half in lengthwise, then into ½ inch slices
1-2 large onions cut into thick chunks (sliced in half lengthwise and then quartered)
1. Whisk together tempeh marinade ingredients in mixing bowl; pour into medium pot.
2. Cut tempeh in half widthwise, add to tempeh marinade. Bring marinade to a boil, lower heat and simmer covered for 30 minutes. Drain and pat dry, reserving marinade.
3. When tempeh reaches room temperature, cut into 24 cubes and brush all sides with oil.
4. Bring reserved tempeh marinade to a boil in a small saucepan; whisk in dissolved tapioca, stirring constantly until sauce comes back to a boil and becomes thick. Use sauce for kebabs.
5. Place vegetables and tempeh on skewer in order of your choice, and then place on baking tray and brush with marinade.
6. Place the kebabs on a heated and lightly oiled grill and cook for approximately three minutes on each side.
7. Brush the kebabs occasionally with vegetable marinade as they cook.
8. Remove from grill and place on a platter and serve.