Your Guide to Vegan Grilling

Sure, some people think grilling season is typically associated with meat, but there’s no reason why vegan dishes can’t be invited to the party. In fact, grilling vegan-friendly food is super simple — and delicious, and there’s so much vegan goodness to choose from. Stock your basket with low prices on veggies and fruits and get to grilling.

How to Grill Vegetables

  • Lightly brush oil on veggies to prevent sticking. A nonstick grate or grilling basket can also help.
  • Let them be. Don’t worry about peeling veggies. You’ll save time and keep beneficial nutrients like fiber found in the peels. Also, leave the husk on corn for grilling to keep the steam in and prevent the corn from drying out.
  • Artichokes, beets, carrots, parsnips, potatoes and winter squash can be precooked to shorten grilling time. Plus, it will help ensure the inside and outside cook evenly. To precook: Steam or blanch until just barely tender. Pat dry, brush lightly with oil, then grill until completely tender and lightly browned.
  • Keep ’em raw. Veggies like eggplant, fennel, onions, mushrooms, broccoli, peppers, sweet potatoes, summer squash and tomatoes should be uncooked when placed on the grill.
  • Cook all veggies directly over moderately hot coals or use the indirect heat method. (That’s where you rotate or move them to a cooler part of the grill during cooking as needed so that the outside isn't cooking too quickly.)
  • Once you’ve got the veggies grilled, add oomph by serving them with a sweet, smoky romesco sauce.

Our pick: white, yellow and bicolor corn. This is summer. Sweet, bright and juicy right off the cob. Grill extra to slice kernels off the cob for salads later.

How to Grill Vegan Alternatives

Everyone wants to eat something satiating at a barbecue. Fortunately, there’s no shortage of quality vegan alternatives to grill, from grilled tofu, tempeh, mushrooms, veggie dogs, veggie sausage to veggie burgers. Seriously. Good. Burgers.

  • Choose firm or extra firm tofu when grilling, and press it to remove excess moisture. Then, marinate the tofu in the fridge overnight. Forgot? Even 30 minutes will get the job done. Then brush lightly with canola oil to help prevent sticking. A nonstick grate can also help. Grill over a preheated grill (not too hot!) for 5 to 7 minutes per side. Place the tofu directly over moderately hot coals or use the indirect heat method. Rotate or move it to a cooler part of the grill during cooking as necessary to ensure that the outside isn’t cooking too fast.
  • Tempeh’s firm texture makes it a great choice for grilling. If you find it a little bitter, steam it first for about 10 minutes. Also, consider mixing up a marinade like the one in this Spicy Grilled Tempeh dish. After marinating for a few hours, grill the tempeh until browned on each side. Serve in tacos, grain bowls or alongside grilled veggies.
  • Portobello mushrooms are a great burger substitute and white button mushrooms are a match for kabobs. Want to skip the bun or the kabob? That’s cool. Mushrooms hold up on their own too.
  • Vegan burger, sausage and hot dog alternatives grill up fairly quickly over indirect heat. Follow instructions on the packaging — ingredients and cooking times may vary.

Must-try recipe: Portobello and Pineapple Teriyaki Veggie Burgers. Dig into a “meaty” burger without the … well, meat. This burger, topped with our easy homemade teriyaki sauce, is sure to be a block party fave.

Explore more