When you think of grilling, you automatically think of meat. Summertime grilling often involves chicken, ribs, hot dogs, and the list goes on—your meat grilling list that is. Where does that leave us vegetarians and vegans? Are we automatically excluded from participating in this delicious and fun summer food activity? If you thought “yes!”, you would be wrong. There are still plenty of delicious plant-based recipes that will give you the satisfaction of grilling and that recognizable smoky summer taste that we love.
Grilled fruits and veggies have become a staple in my household ever since I became a vegetarian. I have found flavorful and creative ways to grill veggies and fruits that you may find helpful when you decide to give it a try. Here are some of my tips on how to get started on your road to summertime grilling.
1. Pick the Right Fruits and Veggies
Not all fruits and veggies are created equal. Although most can be grilled, some are tricky to grill like small or thin fruits and veggies, such as asparagus or berries, which could fall through the cracks.
2. Pick Seasonal
Every season, we are blessed with different fruits and vegetables. Take advantage of using seasonal produce. You'll not only be able to get them in abundance, but they are less expensive since, hello, they are seasonal. Some spring and summer fruits and veggies include:
… and so much more. If you want to know the complete list, you can visit the USDA’s seasonal produce guide for more information. https://snaped.fns.usda.gov/seasonal-produce-guide
3. Season your Food!
Just like you would with a piece of chicken or steak, seasoning is an important step. Other than salt and pepper, one of my favorites is onion salt from Trader Joe's. It’s a blend of granulated onion, garlic, salt, green onion, and dried chives. If I want some extra flavor I use adobo, which is a Spanish and Portuguese seasoning found in the international section of any grocery store. Also try fresh herbs like thyme, parsley, and even cilantro.
link for adobo: https://www.amazon.com/Goya-Foods-Adobo-Pepper-16-5/dp/B01NALHAY9/ref=asc_df_B01NALHAY9/?tag=hyprod-20&linkCode=df0&hvadid=312087953268&hvpos=&hvnetw=g&hvrand=4986798559336516532&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9001869&hvtargid=pla-570382758698&psc=1
In addition to seasoning, you should coat your veggies in the marinade. You can keep it simple by coating them in oil or you can create your own. Look through some of our recipes to get some ideas for marinades and glazes that we’ve used for other recipes. When you marinate, make sure to let it sit for at least an hour or best overnight, so it can soak up all the flavor.
5. Grill on Medium Heat
When your veggies or fruits are ready to grill, cook them gradually and not on high heat. You don’t want to overcook or burn them. Coat the griddle with oil so they don’t stick, and then put your veggies on top. Cook on medium heat until they become tender and slightly charred.
There are many possibilities of combinations and flavors you can grill. So if you don’t know where to start and need some inspiration, we got you covered. We have included a delicious recipe here as well, Grilled kale salad with apricots and goat cheese. This is a great dish to start putting those grilling skills into practice. Kale is hearty and can withstand high heat. Plums, peaches, and nectarines can be used in place of apricots. And not only are kale and apricots in season, but the combination of sweet and salty and the goat cheese topping makes for a perfect summer side dish.
Grilled Kale Salad with Apricots and Goat Cheese
- 3 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil divided
- 2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 2 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
- 2 teaspoon honey
- Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
- 4 medium firm ripe apricots, pitted and thinly sliced
- 16 small curly kale leaves
- 4 oz crumbled goat cheese
- ½ cup walnuts toasted and coarsely chopped
- In a large bowl, whisk together oil, vinegar, thyme, and honey. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
- Prepare a moderate charcoal fire for indirect grilling; preheat a gas grill to medium, leaving one burner unlit, or heat a large grill pan over medium heat.
- Brush the kale leaves with a thin coating of remaining oil using a silicone pastry brush. Grill kale until crispy and slightly charred on the edges, using tongs to turn once, 2-4 minutes. When cooked, transfer to the bowl with vinaigrette, add apricots and toss to coat.
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Photographer/ Content Creator
Camila Pesantez is the owner of @camipphotography. She is a wedding, portrait, and fashion photographer based in New England. She loves capturing authentic, candid, fun, and spontaneous moments. In her spare time, Camila enjoys singing and serving at her local church, cooking, and spending time with friends.
What sparked your passion for the industry?
The creativity behind it. It’s what I use to express my creativity and feel free to express myself through it. The photography world is so diverse and the possibilities are endless
Cake or Pie? Why?
Pie because it has a lot of texture and moisture and reminds me of a nice cozy fall day at home.
Favorite dish to cook at home?
Vegan meat pasta. I have my own recipe, and I make it at least twice a month