I’m coming to terms with the fact that it’s the end of summer and the closing of BBQ season. Over the past few years it seems that many of my friends have moved into apartments with outdoor space and my summery quota of hot hot BBQ fun has tripled -but this also means I’ve had to deal with the “vegetarian BBQ” dilemma. I’ve grown sick of hum drum Boca burgers and those awful giggly soy dogs… and even when my friends have actually tried to appease the vegetarians I find myself faced with my ultimate nemeses, the grilled mushroom. So they ask me “what does this vegetarian want to eat at a BBQ?” Well let me tell you…
First off, one of my most successful “vegetarian options” is homemade vegan Setain Skewers. Now you don’t HAVE to make your own seitan since it is readably available at most supermarkets, but it’s much more affordable and there are a few tricks to make it even more awesome then meat. I use Lauren Ulm’s Chicken-Style Seitan Recipe but add ½ teaspoon of liquid smoke and 1/8 cup of BBQ sauce directly into the meat dough! Take that chicken and beef! Skew it up with some red onions and yellow bell pepper, drizzle some oil on everything for a better burn and make ‘em all beg for a bite.
My other “exciting” offering is grilled Halloumi cheese! This salty white cheese doesn’t melt and take on a crisp black char on the grill. Personally I could eat the stuff plain, but it’s also delicious on a sliced tomato with olive oil, tossed in a sweet pea and mint salad, or skewed with veggies. Halloumi isn’t the easiest cheese to find, but here in Brooklyn most large markets carry Tropical Brand Queso de Freir which is basically the same thing.
Grill corn is a classic for everyone, and while there are tons for fancy pants ways to make it, I whole heartily endorse the simple butter/salt/pepper trifecta.
This summer my Columbian friend introduced me to what is apparently a popular street food in his home country, the Perro Caliente (I’m not sure that is what he called it, but that is what the internet calls it). It’s a hot dog (in my case he used Field Roast Sausages) topped with American cheese, relish, mustard and crushed potato chips. We all agreed this is a totally a white trash concoction and he got really offended…. apparently he doesn’t know this is both an insult and a complement.
While all these things are fabulous, I know meat is still king of the grill… but vegetarians can still rule supreme in the sides department! Some recent favorites have been a Shredded Beet salad, Quick Pickle Cucumber Salad, Tabouli, and Homemade Guacamole.