Beyond Veggie Burgers: Fresh Vegetarian Grilling Ideas

portobello mushroom burger

(HealthCastle.com) As summer approaches, families everywhere start to get excited about grilling season. For many, the grill is all about meat. But given how often some of us tend to grill in the summer, it may be a good idea to think about grilling something other than meat from time to time. The good news is, there are many great vegetarian grilling ideas that don't involve the typical store-bought (and sometimes awfully strange) veggie burgers. So whether you want to lighten up some of your grilled meals or you've got a vegetarian friend coming to a barbecue, use the ideas below to inspire some vegetarian grilling that's truly delicious!

Top Vegetarian Grilling Ideas

  • Portobello mushroom: With its hearty texture and flavor, a portobello mushroom is a great grilling option. Try brushing it with garlic and olive oil, or marinating it in balsamic vinegar or any marinade you'd use for steak. (If you're serving vegetarians, make sure the marinade is veggie, too.)
  • Black bean burger: Sure, it's still a burger. But it's so much better than the store-bought kind that have a weird texture and are loaded with sodium. Our favorite recipe includes chipotle peppers, cilantro, and onion for flavor, plus oats for some whole grain goodness.
  • Tofu: Yes, tofu gets a bad rap for being bland and boring. But extra-firm tofu coated with a thin layer of breadcrumbs and grilled is crispy on the outside, soft in the center, and truly delicious. Use a coating of eggs or egg whites to get the breadcrumbs to stick, then just throw the coated tofu on the grill. Try experimenting with crunchy whole grain cereals or nuts instead of breadcrumbs for an extra nutritional kick.
  • Zucchini, eggplant, onion, and red pepper: When these vegetables are grilled, they become sweet and smoky while maintaining their texture. Try serving them as a side dish for the meat-eaters and a main for any vegetarian guests. Tip: Try cutting the vegetables into cubes or small squares and grilling them on a skewer.
  • Quesadillas: Fill tortillas with whatever fixings you like. Traditional meatless fillings include onions, peppers, mushrooms, and cheese, but feel free to get more adventurous and use any vegetables that don't require too much cooking time (corn is a great pick, as are peas and green beans). Fold the tortillas in half and grill just a couple of minutes on each side, until they're warmed through and any cheese you may have used is melted. The tortillas will get nice and crunchy and will have lovely grill marks, too.

The Bottom Line

Sure, you could buy a package of veggie burgers from the store and throw them straight on the grill. But with so many options that are not only tastier, but healthier as well, it's a no-brainer to give these vegetarian grilling ideas a try. Your vegetarian friends will thank you – and the meat-eaters may even like them, too. 

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