13 Fantastic Vegetarian BBQ Recipes to Kick Off Your Summer

grilled tofu

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.

Grilled Artichokes with Gremolata

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.

Grilled Asparagus Recipe with Lemon White Wine Fettuccine

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.

SummerFood_grilled carrots
Reprinted with permission from “Summer Food.” Photography by Jim Hensley & Nina Dreyer Hensley. Copyright 2014 by Weldon Owen Inc.

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 salad

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 salad

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.

vegan grilled tacos

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.

grilled pizza

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.

grilled plantains

Image: GlowKitchen

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

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

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.

Did we leave out any of your vegetarian BBQ favorites? Share your ideas and recipes with us via Facebook and Twitter.

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Grilled tofu image via Shutterstock

Emily Monaco is a food and culture writer based in Paris. Her work has been featured in the Wall... More about Emily Monaco