Quick! Your barbecue is at the perfect temperature and everything is going swimmingly. The meat is on the grill, the burgers are being cooked to the desired doneness and you’re minutes away from landing the title of “Grillmaster of the Universe”. That is, until your vegetarian (or vegan) guest shows up.
The typical scenario that occurs is the host frantically looks around for something meatless to serve and comes up with an offer of salad or… a bottle of ketchup. You don’t have to be that host.
Let’s face it. This situation is bound to happen to everyone at least once; and since not everybody keeps tofu in the fridge on a regular basis, the best option is to have a few tasty grilled vegetable recipes in your arsenal. Vegetables should be a part of every meal anyway and when they’re on the grill, they’re delicious even when you’re not a vegetarian.
An hour or so before grilling, brush the vegetables with olive oil and sprinkle with fresh basil, rosemary, garlic powder, pepper and a pinch of salt. Some vegetables like artichoke, broccoli and sweet potato should be blanched or lightly steamed before hitting the grates. Skewers are not only perfect for serving grilled vegetables; they’re visually appealing as well. If you want to go all out, marinated Portobello mushrooms topped with blue cheese make for the perfect vegetarian burger.
If you really want to impress your vegetarian guests, don’t forget the fruit! Grilled fruits add a bit of panache and have a wonderfully sweet, smoky flavor that can work as a side dish or a dessert.
Fruits should be soaked first in water for 20 minutes and then brushed with a bit of butter before grilling. They can even be marinated in such things as rum and brown sugar with a bit of cinnamon to add even more flavor. Be sure to leave the peels on and take care to not overcook stone fruits and watermelon as they can become overly soft and lose their texture. Add the final touch of vanilla ice cream or sorbet to your grilled creation and you will truly earn your title as “Grillmaster of the Universe”.