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Flame-Kissed Veggies and Vegetarian Favorites

Grilling season is sizzling right along! So far we’ve discussed five grilling must-haves and techniques for doing seafood and fruit justice over the flames. Let’s turn our tongs to two unsung champs at the cookout: veggies and meat substitutes.

Vegetables No matter how much of a grilled meat fan you are, grilled veggies are undeniably delicious and add variety to a backyard get-together.

  • As a general rule, don't peel vegetables before grilling — you'll get more nutrients and enjoy a smokier flavor. Leave the husk on corn to keep the steam in and prevent the corn from drying out. 
  • Some veggies (including artichokes, asparagus, beets, broccoli, carrots, parsnips, potatoes and winter squash) can be pre-cooked to shorten grilling time and ensure that the inside and outside cook evenly. To pre-cook: steam or blanch until just barely tender. Pat dry, brush lightly with oil, then grill until completely tender and lightly browned.
  • Veggies like eggplant, fennel, onions, mushrooms, peppers, sweet potatoes, summer squash and tomatoes should be raw when placed on the grill.
  • Try grilled veggies in salads and pitas!

   

Meat Substitutes I remember some pretty frightful cookouts when my veggie dogs either burned to a crisp or blew up like tofu grenades.

Tofu, tempeh, veggie dogs, veggie sausage and veggie burgers all taste great when cooked on the grill, but you need to keep a few things in mind:

  • Meat substitutes tend to stick to the grill, so be sure to use a light brushing of canola oil. A non-stick grate or foil packets can also be helpful.
  • When grilling tofu, use firm or extra-firm varieties and press and drain for at least 20 minutes prior to cooking to remove as much moisture as possible.
  • For tofu, use moderately hot coals (not too hot!) or the indirect heat method. Rotate it or move it to a cooler part of the grill to ensure that the outside isn't cooking too quickly.

  • If you like to marinate your tofu, try leaving it in the fridge in the marinade overnight. For quicker turnaround time, 30 minutes will get the job done.
  • Burger and hot dog alternatives grill up fairly quickly over indirect heat. Follow instructions on the packaging as ingredients and cooking times will vary.

Check out our complete Guide to Grilling for more tasty tips!

What are yoru go-to meat substitutes on the grill, and how do you make veggies magic?