We’ve come to the part of the year when Meatless Mondays coincide with grilling season—and when full-time vegans and vegetarians are breaking out their grills, too. So we pulled together seven of our favorite meatless mains for BBQ season, from grilled eggplant salad to homemade vegan burgers.
These recipes are also good for carnivores and omnivores to keep on hand for when they invite friends or family over for a cookout, which usually conveys an unspoken promise of meat, and often dooms vegetarians or vegans to a meal of side dishes or fake meat products. Not so with these delicious veggie meals, which everyone else is bound to love just as much as the meat-abstainers. And nary a frozen veggie dog in sight.
What you will find: plenty of fresh vegetables, flavor-packed marinades and sauces, fresh herbs, whole grains, and hearty cheeses like halloumi, fontina, and chèvre to make these easy mains filling and full of flavor.
And if you’re sticking to solo grill sessions this summer, most veggie meals are cheaper than meat-based ones, so you can also save money by grilling more vegetarian food.
Halloumi is a firm Greek cheese that you can actually cook right on the grill—thread cubes of it into skewers with veggies like red bell peppers and mushrooms, and you have a fabulous update on the usual shish kebab. Get our Grilled Halloumi and Vegetable Kebabs recipe. (And learn more about literally grilling cheese.)
BearMoo Stainless Steel Flat Kabob Skewers, 10 for $21.99 from Amazon
Hollowing out zucchini halves and stuffing them with seasoned quinoa before grilling until tender makes for an easy vegetarian main that you can adapt as you please—add leftover caramelized onions or cheese to the stuffing, or switch up the spices. Serve with a salad for nice, light contrast. Get our Vegan Quinoa-Stuffed Grilled Zucchini recipe.
Save this one for Taco Tuesday (and just call it Torta Tuesday); the tofu needs 24 hours to marinate in Mexican hot sauce to really infuse it with flavor. Then, grill it up and stuff it into sandwiches rich with black beans, creamy avocado, and pickled jalapeños. Cotija cheese optional in case you need to keep it vegan. Get our Grilled Tofu Torta recipe.
Related Reading: 5 Rules for the Best Tofu Ever, According to Vegetarian Chefs
Sweet and smoky charred bell peppers are stuffed with a spicy, cheesy mix of Israeli couscous, more veggies, and tomato paste for a dish that’s destined to become a new summer fave. Get our Vegetarian Stuffed Red Bell Peppers recipe. (And for a slightly different take, try making our Stuffed Poblano Peppers with Black Beans and Cheese recipe on the grill too.)
Vegan burgers can be disappointing when store-bought and tricky to get right when making from scratch, but our black eyed pea-based patties are bolstered with mushrooms and tamari for the perfect amount of moisture, density, and bold natural flavors. Get our Black-Eyed Pea Vegan Burger recipe.
You can (and should) grill pizza, which this basically is—we just call it flatbread because it sounds fancy. The topping of mozzarella, goat cheese, herbs, and Yukon Gold potatoes is great, but play around with whatever combos sound good. And feel free to use fresh store-bought pizza dough if you don’t want to make your own. Get our Grilled Flatbread with Potato, Chèvre, and Herbs recipe.
Meaty portobello mushrooms make convincing burger stand-ins, but they’re also great sliced like steak, especially when infused with cider vinegar, brown sugar, and smoked paprika. Paired with a fresh succotash sporting grilled corn, it’s a perfect summer meal, but you can use the mushroom strips for tacos and sandwiches too. Get our Barbecued Portobello Mushroom recipe.
This is like a cross between deconstructed eggplant parmesan (made on the grill, of course), and panzanella (bread salad). You’ll grill the bread, the eggplant, and the cherry tomatoes, then toss them together with fresh basil, mozzarella and parmesan, and a tangy vinaigrette. And you’ll fall in love at first bite. Get our Grilled Eggplant Parmesan Salad recipe.
Green onions, zucchini, and poblano peppers make a mean, green filling for vegetarian fajitas, but fill up your charred tortillas with a grilled medley of whatever summer veggies are looking (and tasting) best and you can’t go wrong. But don’t skip the simple marinade, or the addition of pinto beans for added protein. Get our Grilled Vegetarian Fajitas recipe.
Everything Else You Need to Know
Photos by Chris Rochelle / Chowhound