Fire up your grills -- cookout season is upon us. But just because we're grilling doesn't mean that meat needs to be the centerpiece of the table. Cookout options for vegetarians have long moved past one sad, defrosted veggie burger; these vegetarian BBQ ideas will have tummies rumbling and everyone -- including omnivores -- coming back for seconds.
Gourmet Vegetarian BBQ Ideas
Grilling is a great way to show off your gourmet techniques. If your partner or friend is willing, you can even outsource the cooking and do the prep -- or vice versa -- for even less work and more time to spend with your guests. That said, most of these gourmet recipes are deceptively simple, not to mention delicious.
1. Vegetarian BBQ Tofu
Grilled tofu is an absolutely delicious dish to make for a vegetarian BBQ. Flavored with an Asian-influenced marinade, this grilled tofu recipe is sure to be a crowd-pleaser. The hardest thing about this recipe is waiting for the tofu to have marinated long enough to soak up all those flavors.
Photography by Asa Dahlgren
2. Grilled Artichokes with Gremolata
This grilled artichoke recipe looks complex, but it's actually relatively simple to put together. The artichokes are par-boiled in an aromatic court-bouillon before being grilled for slightly charred flavor. The herbed gremolata is a surprisingly simple accompaniment that looks and tastes gourmet.
Image via Karissa Bowers
3. Grilled Asparagus with Lemon Fettuccine
This recipe is well-suited for a sit-down al fresco dinner, but it's super simple to make. Choose pencil-thin asparagus, which will cook through quickly, and this lemony pasta will be ready in a snap. Use the same white wine you plan to drink with dinner in the sauce base for an even more special dish.
Photography by Jim Hensley & Nina Dreyer Hensley.
4. Grilled Carrots with Honey and Dill
This grilled carrot recipe only has four ingredients, but it definitely packs a flavor punch. Choose multicolored carrots, which will be highlighted by honey, dill, and just a touch of salt, for an even more impressive presentation.
Grilled Salads for a Fresh Al Fresco Meal
Grilled eggplant image via Shutterstock
5. Grilled Eggplant Salad with Bocconcini
This lighter play on a traditional eggplant parm unites Italian-inspired ingredients in a salad of grilled eggplant, sun-dried tomatoes, and tiny bocconcini balls. A balsamic vinaigrette is the perfect accompaniment, and the salad only gets better with fresh basil.
Grilled zucchini image via Shutterstock
6. Grilled Zucchini Salad with Corn, Avocado, and Cilantro-Lime Dressing
Zucchini is paired with another summer veggie -- corn -- in this flavorful grilled vegetable salad. The dish pairs the creaminess of avocado with the bright acidity of lime for a blend of flavors that'll have you going back for seconds.
Grilled halloumi image via Shutterstock
7. Grilled Halloumi Salad
Halloumi is a Cypriot cheese that stands up perfectly to grilling. Here, it's used as a topping for a salad made of carrots, fennel, baby spinach, fresh peas, and lemon. A handful of sunflower seeds adds a welcome crunch.
Grilled Meals with International Flair
Summer grilling is often paired with "all-American" choices of burgers, hot dogs, and corn on the cob. But these international choices are just as tasty and a welcome change from the norm.
Photographs © 2015 by Rodale Inc.
8. Vegan Grilled Plantain Tacos
These vegan tacos start with homemade corn tortillas, which form the base for a grilled plantain and salsa verde filling. Toasted pepitas and shredded red cabbage round out these tasty tacos to a T.
Photograph by Erin Kunkel
9. Gyro Grilled Vegetables
Greek classic gyros may seem incompatible with a vegetarian grilled meal, but this version forgoes the traditional lamb for an assortment of vegetables. The flavorful spice blend and mint-yogurt sauce are just as tasty on seasonal zucchini, peppers, onions, and mushrooms.
Pizza on the grill image via Shutterstock
10. Grilled Pizza
Grilled pizza has slowly evolved from a strange new fad to a cookout norm. This version is delightfully simple, made with homemade pizza dough, fresh tomatoes, your choice of cheese, and a garnish of fresh basil. Of course, you could also ask your guests to get involved decorate their own pizzas with whatever they like.
Sweet Grilled Treats
Don't turn the grill off before dessert! Here are some of our favorite sweet treats to finish off your vegetarian BBQ.
11. Sweet Grilled Plantains
The slightly sweet, starchy flavor of plantains doesn't need much coaxing to become the ideal grilled dessert. Agave nectar, fresh herbs, and a bit of oil are all you need to make these grilled plantains the star of the show.
Grilled pound cake image via Shutterstock
12. Grilled Vegan Pound Cake
This grilled vegan pound cake only gets better with fresh fruit. The original recipe calls for peaches and coconut cream, but you could just as easily substitute berries if stone fruit isn't yet in season where you are.
Grilled pineapple image via Shutterstock
13. Grilled Pineapple Spears
Pineapple is one fruit that stands up fantastically well to the grill. The high heat brings out its natural sugars -- coaxed along with a touch of brown sugar -- for a healthy dessert that everyone will enjoy.
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Grilled tofu image via Shutterstock