Let’s talk about dreams for a second. I have huge ones and I’m going to revel in a particular vision right here. Some day, I hope to roll up to a newsstand and lay eyes on a cooking publication, emblazoned with the seasonal “SUMMER GRILLING ISSUE” theme and there won’t be a greased-up burger or a sauce-smothered mountain of ribs on the cover. Am I waiting on a new publication entirely/looking for plant-based love in all the wrong places? These timely summer volumes always have some veggie options hiding within (and they are great!), but that predominant fire cooking = meat mindset is ripe for a change up.
I’ve made you something really deluxe for your own barbecue adventures today. I do love some simple grilled vegetables with a nice bit of oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, herbs, whatevs. They’re a fuss-free addition to dinner that has everyone rolling with the health wave. You can sip a very cold beer while flipping them for even char. Everything about that is completely right. But I wanted to make something main course-appropriate. Cauliflower, tempeh, a jerk-inspired marinade, ginger-mango-miso dressing and some grilled greens on the side. You can read more about the origins of jerk marinade, the cooking technique and its connection to those enslaved by the British in Jamaica here.
Both the marinade and the mango sauce have some overlap in ingredients. The finishing sauce is sweet, salty, ginger-spicy and has a lovely not-too-thick consistency–basically tasty and fitting on everything it touches. The grilled greens method is something I picked up when I was interning at a restaurant. The greens would go for a dip in a soy, red wine, herb + spice mix, go right to the grill, smothered in an old sheet pan and two minutes later: perfect tender, slightly smoky greens. I kind of massage mine in a lime-y soy mix rather than dunking them outright. The method speaks to laid back dinners outside. The marinade is inspired
Anyway, a little preparation on your part means dinner made entirely on the grill and some chill time outside afterward, which I’m pretty sure is something we’re all after in these warmer days. I don’t know about you, but I’ve been pestering my man about a beach trip for a while, and all the plans that I could possibly dream up for the next few months are kind of hazy and sunset-hued. My bike’s been in for a little tune up and is riding very smoothly. Feels like we’re right on the edge of summer’s gifts, right? Soak it in!
JERK-INSPIRED VEGGIE GRILL WITH MANGO GINGER SAUCE
Print the recipe here!
NOTES: Any vegetable is fair game here. I chose cauliflower mostly to see what it was like on the grill.
-I looked to lots of recipes for jerk marinades and based this recipe around those typical ingredients. For more information on this history of jerk as a cooking method, click here.
mango-ginger-miso sauce ingredients:
1/2 cup diced fresh mango
1 small shallot, peeled + rough chopped
1-2 inch piece of ginger, peeled + rough chopped
1 tsp light miso
2 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp maple syrup/agave/raw honey
1 tsp hot toasted sesame oil
1/4 cup grapeseed oil
salt + pepper
2 tbsp grapeseed oil
juice of 1 lime
splash of tamari
4 green onions, rough chopped (+ extra to garnish if you like)
1 hot pepper (I used a jalapeño because we have a lot in the garden–scotch bonnet peppers are traditional), rough chopped
2 cloves of garlic, peeled + rough chopped
1 inch piece of ginger, peeled + rough chopped
5 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves removed
1 tbsp maple syrup
1/2 tsp ground allspice
salt + pepper
grilled greens + veggies:
1 head of cauliflower, cut into thick slices
1 block of tempeh, cut into triangles
as much cleaned greens as you want to eat (spinach, chard, collards + kale are all good)
tamari soy sauce
salt + pepper
cooked quinoa, rice, millet etc for serving (I had some black lentils + quinoa in the fridge)
sesame seeds for garnish
Make the dressing: throw all of the dressing ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend/process until a creamy and smooth mixture is achieved. Store in a resealable container and set aside, keeping it in the fridge until you’re ready to use it.
Make the marinade: throw all the ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend/process until a smooth puree is achieved. Place the cauliflower and tempeh pieces in a large ceramic dish and pour the marinade over top. Let it sit in this mix for at least 30 minutes.
Preheat the grill to high. In a large bowl, toss the greens with a splash of oil, some tamari and lime juice to taste, salt and pepper. Set the bowl aside. Oil the grill lightly and place the marinated cauliflower and tempeh on top.
Grill until char marks appear on both sides, about 2-5 minutes per side, depending. Transfer the tempeh and cauliflower to an area of the grill that doesn’t put them in direct contact with flame as they finish. In a general way, I find the cauliflower benefits from a bit of extra time. Don’t be finicky with them. Letting them sit means a lower occurrence of sticking.
In the last moments of the cauliflower and tempeh grilling, place the greens onto a spot on the grill, trying to keep them tightly together. Put a heavy pot lid down on top of the greens and let them cook until slightly wilted, about 1-2 minutes. Lightly toss them once to promote even wilting. Remove everything from the grill and serve with mango sauce, cooked quinoa/rice etc. Garnish with sesame seeds and extra green onions.