Unique Grilling Ideas That Aren’t Meat

Grilling doesn’t have to be exclusively for carnivores! If you’re vegetarian or just wanting to cut back on meat these recipes are perfect for you.

There are plenty of reasons to go vegetarian, or at least cut back on your meat intake. Many choose vegetarianism because of a love of animals, but there are quite a few other benefits of swapping out animal-based proteins for plant-based. Want to save a bit of money in anticipation of a summer vacation? Veggies, especially those in season, tend to be much cheaper than most cuts of meat. Also, the environmental impact of most meat production is rather high so you can cut down on your carbon footprint by committing to a Meatless Monday as well. Studies have also shown that there are many potential health benefits with a more plant-based diet (always consult your doctor before significantly altering your diet). Regardless of your reasons for cutting out or cutting back on meat, you don’t have to stick with basic veggie burgers this grilling season! Fire up the grill and try out one of these veggie-friendly grilling ideas this year!


Tofu had its heyday back in the ‘80s thanks to the fad diet, and at least partially because of that it has a bad reputation amongst meat eaters. The truth is, the soy-based meat substitute is rather bland on its own, but that just means you have to learn the right way to impart flavor into it. Typically sold in blocks, tofu is a wonderful source of protein and contains all eight amino acids in addition to being a great source of iron and calcium. The trick to a tasty tofu dish is all in the marinade, as tofu acts as a sponge to soak up whatever you put it in. When grilling make sure to get “firm” or “extra firm” rather than a silken variety, then marinade it for at least 15 minutes, or up to eight hours in whatever flavor profile your taste buds are craving. For example, this spicy harissa marinated tofu skewers recipe is perfect if you’re not afraid of a little heat.

Veggie Sides

Just like grilling isn’t only for meat, it’s also not only for main dishes. While there’s nothing wrong with a good grilled ear of corn or foil-wrapped baked potato, especially here in the Midwest, even corn on the cob can get old if you’re grilling out regularly. Think out of the box this year, or put a twist on a classic. For example, instead of regular-old grilled corn, turn it into elotes by adding some crema, spices, and cotija cheese. Think about other veggies that are in season, too, like this grilled mini peppers with minty tzatziki recipe that makes use of those tasty bite-sized mini peppers you can get for pennies on the dollar this time of year. Check out your local farmers market for more seasonal inspiration, too!


When you hear the words “grilled cheese” you most likely picture the golden-brown sandwich filled with ooey gooey melted cheese just waiting to be dunked in some tomato soup. This summer, though, take the phrase “grilled cheese” in a more literal manner perfect for any vegetarian and/or cheese lover. Obviously, some cheeses are much better for a grilling application and you shouldn’t throw a melty mozzarella straight on the grill grates, but firmer cheeses with higher melting points like halloumi and kefalotyri are perfect cooked on high, direct heat. Wow your dinner guests at your next barbeque by starting with an appetizer of grilled brie with some toasted bread, or swap out the meat in a taco or gyro with one of the other cheeses mentioned. After all, who doesn’t love some charred, melty cheese?


Since you don’t typically have meat in desserts this one is easier to get the meat-eaters on board. You can also use the grill to put a healthy twist on dessert (or at least pretend that’s what you’re doing) by using some of the delicious fruit that’s now in season, like these grilled peaches with cinnamon-sugar butter. Go a step further and have some ice cream churning inside if you have an ice cream maker! What’s a better way to end a summer meal than with grilled fruit and fresh ice cream? Nearly all stone fruits are perfect for grilling, and the natural sugars caramelize beautifully when cooked over an open flame. If you have a cast iron pan you could even try your hand at cooking a berry cobbler on the grill while you’re finishing up the rest of the meal.

What are some of your favorite veggie-friendly grilling recipes? Find us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to let us know!

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