Whether it be a George Foreman or a hefty duty outside beauty, the grill can do so many things when it comes to creating delicious meals. There’s nothing quite like the taste of grilled food, even in the winter when summer grilling days have long passed and winter’s chill makes us crave mores soups and stews. Even just the slightest bit of grilled food can add that special flavor to meals that you just don’t get elsewhere.
But let’s be honest – most people use their grills for cooking meat. Chicken, steak, fish, beef burgers and even turkey burgers and sausage normally make up a majority of grilled dishes today. So if you’re looking at trying to transition into a plant-based diet (or you already eat a completely plant-based diet), the idea of not having grilled food can seem kinda sad. What will you do with your grill and grilling tongs? Even the smell of the grill is something to be enjoyed. And sure, while raw food is great for you, nothing says flavor like the grill.
Well good news for you – your grill can still be put to work whether you have an inside grill or outside grill. Inside grills are great for cooler months since you needn’t step outside a bit to enjoy the flavor and they also prevent some possible dangers with carcinogens from typical outdoor grills. But aside from health, grilling food provides limitless possiblities, even for a 100 percent plant-based kitchens.
Whip out the grills, tongs, and prepare to enjoy … your grill is back in the game!
Mushrooms provide that meaty texture everyone loves and are amazing at satisfying you due to their high fiber content. Buy the biggest portobello mushrooms you can get your hands on, rub on a little spice seasoning (cracked black pepper and garlic granules are amazing here), and stack some sliced onions on top. If you enjoy herbs, a hint of oregano goes great here too. Grill for 3-4 minutes until the mushrooms start to brown. Some people may also like to use olive oil on top for a moister flavor, but most indoor grills will hold the mushroom’s moisture and prevent them from drying out. Forget the beef burgers now! These guys are hearty and filling.
Top with ketchup, mustard, Sriracha, or whatever else you put on your burgers and steaks. Try Portobello Mushroom Steaks, which is a favorite around these parts, and serve with your favorite side (may we suggest some tasty fries) and you’re good to go.
Zucchini is one of the healthiest veggies to eat and they also are some of the best for grilling. Though a bit bland raw, zucchini takes on a subtly sweet and rich taste when grilled. Cut them into slices, strips, cubes, whatever. Try grilling these zucchini boats before stuffing them with the filling, and remember they’re best seasoned before grilling, not after. Try using some lemon juice, black pepper and a touch of chili pepper for a sparky flavor.
Love avocados? You haven’t tasted anything until you’ve had them grilled! Cut a slightly ripe avocado in half and remove the pit. Leave in the shell. Sprinkle with some ground black pepper, lemon and possibly paprika (which makes everything better, just watch the amount!). If you have an indoor double sided grill, just place the “boats” right side up and grill for 3-4 minutes. If you don’t, then just face the avocado down on the grilling platform and grill for 3-4 minutes.
This gives avocados the best hearty, meaty flavor and also makes a great grilled shell to stuff with salsa, plain tomatoes, and veggies, or you can scoop out the grilled flesh and use it on a salad or in soup.
Ever had grilled banana sundaes? Oh wow. So good! You’d think you were eating something super high in calories since the grilling caramelizes the bananas and makes them taste like a fancy dessert. You can either slice and grill them or you can just slice them in half and grill in “boats”. Use these in ice cream sundaes or top your favorite vegan cake with them and drizzle with some sliced strawberries or date compote. Or go for dessert sandwiches by placing bananas and/or berries inside of some whole grain or sprouted grain pita breads and grilling for just a few minutes. Make these Dessert Dillas on the Grill after you put them together as a great first-time recipe. Feel free to use whatever nut butters and fruits you have on hand. (These could even pass for a dessert worthy breakfast!) You can also grill berries by themselves or just make fruit skewers with sliced fruits, grill for a few minutes and enjoy dipped in some coconut whipped cream!
You can also grill berries by themselves or just make fruit skewers with sliced fruits, grill for a few minutes and enjoy dipped in some coconut whipped cream!
You can also honestly put any vegetable on the grill and it will taste better to some people than plain steamed veggies, or just give you a nice change of pace if you need some flavoring ideas without adding lots of salt and high-fat ingredients. A great idea is to add them to a sandwich or grill them in the form of veggie pizza.
Sweet potatoes, corn on the cob, broccoli, cauliflower, onions, tomatoes, garlic, asparagus, artichoke hearts, whole green beans, peppers, jicama, summer squash, winter squash, and regular potatoes are all some of the best for grilling. You’ll have to cut many of these into slices and strips, but the only take minutes to grill once you do. The best part about grilling veggies is if you let them sit in the fridge for a day or two after grilling (to use in meals and for snacks) they taste a little sweet as the flavor sets in and really takes your meals to a whole new level.
Add these to pastas, soups, stews, tacos, sandwiches, salads, or just enjoy them as a side with any entrée.
If you eat tempeh, tofu or make veggie burgers, you’ll also want to give these a try on the grill too. Their flavor will be similar to more meaty dishes you’re used to and also give you some extra protein and fiber.
Some marinades to try for your veggies, tofu, tempeh, and veggie burgers could be: miso paste, mustard, ketchup, BBQ sauce, hot sauce (like Sriracha), apple cider vinegar and lemon, and an abundance of spices of your choosing. Also, see The Ultimate Guide to Making Flavor-Packed Marinades for Plant-Based Dishes and see all of our grilled recipes here.
If you have a unique idea for using your grill, let us know; we’d love to hear it!
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Lead image source: Grilled Tempeh With Filipino BBQ Sauce