Vegan Grill Guide

Vegan Grilling Guide - The First Mess

Just in time for the holiday weekend, I’ve got my own little plant-based/vegan grilling guide for you all! This is a roundup of all the grill-appropriate recipes from my blog with a few from some of my favourite sites tacked on at the end. My grill is a Weber gas model (a Genesis model from a couple years ago), and I really love it. Total convenience at the flip of a switch with a cute little side burner. I have been thinking about getting a little charcoal grill to play around with this summer though. Something about that slowness and building up the fire that appeals to me. Before I get to the recipes, I wanted to do a little list of my favourite tools for grilling and preparing grilled food. Total preparedness is key!

Basics: A good and sturdy pair of tongs with a long handle and a similarly long-handled flipping spatula. A pastry brush for sauces is great too. I buy all of these at the restaurant supply store.

Super heavy duty aluminum foil
for grill packs is also a nice thing to have. I use this type of foil directly on top of the grill grates when I’m cooking a somewhat less sturdy homemade veggie burger situation. I heat the grill with the foil on top, give it a quick spray of oil, and lay the burgers/whatever other food on top. No sticking and nothing falls apart. Total win!

Grill bag for veggies
. I’ve already praised this invention in my last post, but I honestly feel the need to repeat myself here. This is a mesh, nonstick bag with metal snaps that you can just stuff your oiled and seasoned veggies into. No little bits slip out and you only have to flip one thing one time. Brilliant! It’s also dishwasher safe. For my Canadians, Food52 did send this to me as a gift and unfortunately they don’t normally ship to Canada. The brand is Charcoal Companion, and I have seen them on the Williams Sonoma website, where you may have better luck with shipping. Should I just become a grill bag sales rep, guys? lol ;)

Chosen Foods Avocado Oil Spray
is perfect for giving items like vegetables, tempeh, veg burgers, tofu etc. a quick slick of oil before they hit the grill. Avocado oil has a high smoke point and neutral flavour, so it’s my go-to for just about everything. Also, this spray is just avocado oil. No freaky propellants or anything else.

A large, sturdy baking sheet. I place everything I’m going to grill on the baking sheet, along with all the tools I’ll need, my oil spray, a few paper towels, a damp cloth, and any ingredients that I’ll need as finishing touches. I can take everything outside in one trip. My go-to is the half sheet pans from the restaurant supply store.

Reusable metal skewers
. I don’t make kebabs too often, but when I do, I prefer the reusable skewers over the wood ones. The vegetables/protein just slides right off and (obviously) you don’t risk torching the exposed ends.

A fresh rotation of dry spices. My favourites are smoked paprika, garlic powder, mustard powder, za’atar, aleppo chili flakes, berbere mix, Montreal steak spice, and basically anything else. We eat grilled veggies every night when it’s warm, and the rotating spices are key. Spring is a good time to clear out and assess your spice drawer too, just a tip!

. I love to grill a few lemon/lime halves until the exposed flesh is charred, and then just serve those alongside my vegetables, tofu etc. The caramelized lemon juice adds that special something.

Bloody Mary Veggie Burgers - The First Mess

1. BLOODY MARY VEGGIE BURGERS: I like to have a few veggie burger recipes in the arsenal. This one has a chickpea, sunflower seed, and quinoa base with some lemon-y tomato and spice vibes going on. The little bit of celery and kale slaw on top drives our bloody mary theme home. These ones are a little bit on the messy side, so definitely exercise care when you’re flipping them.

My Go-To Veggie Burger - The First Mess

2. MY GO-TO VEGGIE BURGER RECIPE: When in doubt, this is my go-to veggie burger recipe. The base is millet, brown rice, grated vegetables, and tempeh. It’s hearty and flavourful with that distinctly old school veggie burger feel. I tend to prefer this one pan-fried, but if you go with my foil technique right on the grill grates, you’ll be good here.

Golden Split Pea Patties - The First Mess

3. GOLDEN SPLIT PEA PATTIES: Don’t sleep on split peas, guys! A soft base of slightly over cooked potatoes, chickpea flour and split peas keep these protein-rich babies held together. Turmeric gives them the golden hue, but they’re flavoured with a bunch of spices, garlic, and lemon juice. This patty is a bit softer and benefits from, you guessed it, the foil cooking method I described above (or a little pan fry). I love these patties wrapped up in crisp lettuce leaves.

Chickpea & Cauliflower Burgers with Old Bay - The First Mess

4. CHICKPEA, CAULIFLOWER & OLD BAY VEGGIE BURGERS: This is a slightly more dense veggie burger recipe with cauliflower and chickpeas as the star of the show. Lemon, Old Bay seasoning, and garlic provide our flavour boost for this one. This recipe also has a recipe for a delicious cashew “mayo.”

Grilled Potato & Zucchini Salad with Romesco - The First Mess

5. GRILLED POTATO & ZUCCHINI SALAD WITH ROMESCO & LEMON: This is an unusual take on a potato salad with a bit of flavour from the grill on the potatoes/zucchini, and a slightly thinned out romesco sauce (with grilled lemon!) as our dressing. I would actually classify this as more of a vegetable side than an outright potato salad. It’s a super fresh and vibrant side that also holds over very well.

Vegan Nicoise-ish Salad with Grilled Asparagus - The First Mess

6. NIÇOISE-INSPIRED SALAD WITH GRILLED ASPARAGUS & CAPER SHALLOT DRESSING: This is my favourite thing to make during the first warm days of spring! It’s composed nature reminds me of a niçoise, and it satisfies on the same level with protein from the lentils and a good bit of healthy fat from the olives and dressing. The char from the asparagus brings a lot here, but my favourite part is the caper shallot dressing, which I use on so many other things.

Marinated & Grilled Vegetables with Miso - The First Mess

7. GRILLED AND MARINATED VEGETABLES WITH MISO, LEMON, AND HERBS: Just posted this one, but thought it would fit in nicely here. Everyone needs a good grilled vegetable recipe for a cookout or meal prep Sundays. These vegetables get a little char and are then marinated in a lemony/garlicky mix with miso and herbs. Perfect for topping bowls, tucking into sandwiches and tacos, or just snacking on straight up.

Summer Picnic Salad with Blueberries & Vegan Almond Feta - The First Mess

8. SUMMER PICNIC SALAD WITH CHARRED CORN, GARLIC SCPAES, BLUEBERRIES & VEGAN ALMOND FETA: I sear the corn and garlic scapes in this one in a cast iron pan, but you could certainly grill them for extra flavour. This is a hearty veg and grain side that most people find irresistible because of the big, juicy blueberries and the creamy almond-based feta. Perfect for picnics, cookouts, or toting along for a work lunch.

Tomato Basil Collard Wraps with Grilled Tempeh - The First Mess

9. TOMATO BASIL COLLARD WRAPS WITH QUINOA, CHICKPEAS & GRILLED TEMPEH: These wraps are so nourishing and vibrant. Lightly mashed chickpeas, quinoa, tomatoes, basil, balsamic reduction, and grilled tempeh are wrapped up in a big, stretchy collard leaf. There’s a bit of extra effort here, but the health halo makes it worth it :)

Charred Broccoli & Tofu-Stuffed Avocadoes with Curry Sauce - The First Mess

10. CHARRED BROCCOLI AND TOFU-STUFFED AVOCADOS WITH SWEET LEMON CURRY SAUCE: A grilled avocado? You bet. It makes a cute little boat for grilled tofu and broccoli and a zingy little lemon and curry-spiked sauce. The sauce does its job in that it cuts through the richness of this dish. Small dices of fresh apricot stirred into the broccoli and tofu stuffing help with this too. This one is fresh, light, and a little unexpected.

Grilled Cauliflower & Tempeh with Jerk-Style Marinade - The First Mess

11. GRILLED CAULIFLOWER AND TEMPEH WITH JERK-INSPIRED MARINADE & MANGO GINGER SAUCE: I am a huge fan of utilizing a double sauce move for plant-based meals. It’s all about building the flavour in any way you can. With this recipe, we marinate vegetables and tempeh in a jerk-inspired marinade, grill them, and then serve them with grilled greens (heck yeah!), and a lovely mago ginger sauce. Lots of little parts here, but worth it for the flavour payoff.

Summer Veg & Tofu Skewers with Blueberry BBQ Sauce - The First Mess

12. SUMMER VEG & TOFU SKEWERS WITH BLUEBERRY BBQ SAUCE: Simple and good with a little twist. Basic skewers of vegetables and tofu are grilled and then slathered in a tangy, lightly sweet blueberry BBQ sauce. Perfect with a little bit of greens and a bit of brown rice or some kind of grain salad.

Grilled Sweet Potato Burrito Bowls with Cumin Garlic Drizzle - The First Mess

13. GRILLED SWEET POTATO BURRITO BOWLS WITH CUMIN LIME DRIZZLE: The grill adds so much flavour to the sweet potatoes here! I love roasted sweet potatoes so much, but can’t stand heating up the house with the hot oven in the summer, so a par-boil and grill gets the job done here. These smoky nuggets are perfect in a burrito bowl setup with a simple cumin garlic drizzle and plenty of avocado.

Date BBQ Sauce - The First Mess

14. DATE BBQ SAUCE: This is now my go-to homemade BBQ sauce. I originally made it as a sticky glue for shredded sweet potato tacos, but it’s so tasty on tofu, vegetables, and mushrooms. In all honesty, I based this recipe on the amazing BBQ sauce from Tessemae’s. It’s only sweetened with dates, and it has all the tang and flavour of a traditional BBQ sauce (that’s typically loaded with sugar and possibly a lot of ketchup hehe). From some recent experiments, this sauce is particularly good with a squeeze of lime added to whatever you’re cooking.

Sunflower Romesco - The First Mess

15. SUNFLOWER ROMESCO SAUCE: This is just a great all around sauce, but it’s especially tasty with grilled eggplant, big and juicy portobellos, or just drizzled over a bunch of grilled vegetables (or slathered on thick with a grilled vegetable sandwich!). I like to have this sauce around as a general rule because it just tastes so great with everything. I think I like it better than traditional almond-based romesco!

Pistachio Dukkah - The First Mess

16. PISTACHIO DUKKAH: This is another little condiment to have around that just makes everything taste better. It’s a little rich, nutty, salty, and warm with plenty of freshly toasted spices. Freshly grilled bread with good olive oil and a sprinkle of this stuff = heaven on earth. It’s also the perfect addition to grain and veg bowls, salads, and it’s a great topping for a chilled vegetable soup as well.

The Naturally Ella blog has a ton of inspired grilling recipes. I love the looks of Erin’s Spicy Sweet Potato Skewers with Cilantro Yogurt Sauce, the Grilled Celeriac with White Bean Purée, and the Curry-Grilled Vegetables with Chickpeas & Creamy Polenta. Lots of easy subs for dairy if you avoid it!

No surprise here, but the 101 Cookbooks has a lot of plant-curious grilling recipes as well. This Maple-Grilled Tempeh looks simple to prepare and tasty.

Grilled Pesto Zucchini with a Tomato and Orzo Stuffing? This is the height of summer enjoyment. Skip the feta (or make a vegan one) and use a vegan pesto to avoid the dairy here.

So classic. Chili Lime Grilled Corn on the Cob is what everyone wants on the side at the cookout. The Love & Lemons crew also dreamed up a way for you to make dessert outside: Grilled Peach Crumble!

Balsamic-Grilled Summer Squash with Lemony Garlic Scape Tomato Salad screams summer. It’s a laid back cooking method with the best the season has to offer. I couldn’t love the vibe of this one more.

Comforting and familiar flavours with a bit of a twist: Grilled Vegetable Ratatouille from My New Roots sounds pretty perfect to me. This would be so cozy near the end of summer when all of these vegetables are at their peak, and the nights are starting to cool off. Cozy grilling is a thing!

Barbecue Eggplant Noodle Bowl with Golden Beet Romesco. Renee is a vibrant and wonderful genius for dreaming this one up. All of the separate components could be utilized a bunch of different ways.

Nothing grilled here, but I just really want this Greek Chopped Salad with Cumin-Fried Chickpeas, Tahini Mint Dressing, and Vegan Feta from Wholehearted Eats served on the side with anything I happen to be grilling. Recipe is inspired by lovely Lily’s book.

These Grilled Portobello Burgers with Seriously Sensational Salsa are exactly what I want to eat right now. Elenore presents her food in such an abundant and generous way. Look at how stuffed that burger is!

I’m obsessed with serrano chilies because of their bright flavour. They’re perfect for when you need slightly more heat than a jalapeño. This Grilled Serrano Salsa is the perfect compliment to anything you’re grilling up.

I made these Grilled Spelt Flatbreads for Baked a few years ago, and I still love them. I love to finish them with a sprinkle of flaky salt and za’atar. The most deluxe accompaniment for all of your dips and spreads! It’s a good and basic pizza dough as well, just skip the seeds.

Sasha has the perfect (hot pink!) sipper to keep you cool while you’re out there wielding the tongs: Rhubarb Hibiscus Iced Tea. This recipe is from Vegetarian Heartland by the brilliant Shelly.

Last thing: How about a wholesome Popsicle Trio to cool off? Creamy passion fruit and mango, fig and cardamom with rosewater, and roasted banana with coconut and cacao. If all of these could magically appear in my freezer, that would be swell :)

18/05/2018 (Last Updated: 18/05/2018)
Posted in: gluten free, gluten free option, grain-free, grill, main course, nut free, quick, refined sugar-free, salad, sauce, side dish, spring, summer, vegan
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