27 of the Best Produce to Grill This Summer
If summer had an official flavor it would be anything with grill marks. If only that was a flavor you could bottle up, you would probably put it on almost everything (I know I would). Although the backyard BBQ block party, and summertime cookout scene is mostly associated with hamburgers and hotdogs, there are a variety of plant-based foods that can be grilled, which adds an elevated flavor profile that you cannot capture with any other cooking method. Here are some of the best foods for plant-based grilling.
Apples are a fruit you may not think to grill, but firm fruits, like apples, hold up well to the high heat from the grill, making them an ideal fruit to hit the grill grates. Plus, apples go great with grill marks and make a crunchy yet refreshing topping for summertime salads.
Asparagus is a delicious vegetable that is served best grilled. Simply toss in a cooking oil that can withstand high heat (a good option is avocado oil), sprinkle with a dash of pepper and salt, then grill until the asparagus tips are slightly charred and the asparagus stalks are tender.
Avocado goes well with almost anything and everything, but this fruit really shines on the grill. The grill gives avocado a slightly subtle taste of summertime making it perfect for handcrafted sandwiches or homemade salads. You can even use it to add an irresistible taste to homemade guacamole, which pairs perfectly with your favorite tortilla chips.
Bananas on a grill? You guessed it. Foods that are already naturally sweet, like bananas, are even sweeter once they spend some time on the grill. To make grilling bananas easier, place them on a skewer, like a kabob, and rotate just like you would on an open campfire. Add them to a summertime sundae or use them in homemade s'mores.
Beets are another hearty vegetable that can withstand a go-around on the grill. Simply slice them up into rounds, coat them in cooking oil, and give them a good grill until they are slightly charred on both sides. If you are looking for a low-lift way to elevate a simple sandwich or salad, add a handful of grilled beets to impress all of your summertime guests.
Grilled peppers go great on homemade salads, soups, and tacos. Simply cut them in half and slather them in a generous serving of cooking oil, then grill until they are charred, which should take about five minutes on each side.
Brussel sprouts are usually roasted or steamed, but did you know they go great on your backyard BBQ menu? Chop off their stems then toss in cooking oil. Generously season with your favorite spices then viola! Do you want to give your Brussels sprouts a touch of tasty flare? Add a dash or two of Osmo cooking and finishing salt. Whether you want your Brussels sprouts to have a subtle taste of applewood, black truffle, mesquite, smoked bacon, or white truffle, these finishing salts will instantly elevate any grilled vegetable. Yum!
Cantaloupe, like most other melons, can be grilled. It is best to cut them into strips and skewer them (just like bananas) then place them on the grill for an irresistible taste of summer that is also incredibly refreshing.
Carrots are naturally high in beta carotene, a form of Vitamin A, which helps to support eye health. All the more reason to load up on them! Plus, they taste super delicious. Naturally sweet, grilled carrots caramelize with a slightly sweet glaze that is subtle enough to pair perfectly with almost any summertime entree. Or enjoy a grilled carrot on its own! Need some inspiration? Check out the recipe for Vegan Carrot Dogs.
Cauliflower, like avocado, is incredibly versatile and is good on the grill. One of the great things about cauliflower is it is a blank slate and absorbs any herbs, seasonings, or spices. Feeling fiery? Try tossing grilled cauliflower in your favorite buffalo sauce, hot sauce, or marinade. Need a simple recipe for starters? Try this Grilled Cauliflower with Paprika Cashew Cream Sauce originally created by The NutraMilk.
Corn on the Cob
Corn on the cob is a classic summertime staple that goes hand in hand with the quintessential summertime activity of backyard grilling. If you bought a bumper crop of corn on the cob, grill up some ears and serve them just like the annual state fair. You can also channel your culinary creativity and recreate Spicy Mexican Street Corn from your favorite summer street festival.
The heat, higher temperatures, and humidity of the summertime season beckon us to lighter fare like chilled gazpachos, salads, and sandwiches. Light foods, like cucumbers, are water-based so they are super refreshing. Enjoy grilled cucumber slices on their own or pair them up with a batch of homemade hummus for a satisfying and simple summertime appetizer or light snack.
Grilled eggplant is another vegetable that is great for plant-based grilling. It is also firm and hearty so it can be used as the main dinner entree or it can easily be transformed into an appetizer or side dish. Drizzle with a bit of balsamic and bon appétit! Just be sure to allow your sliced eggplant time to lose some of its water content. This can be done by wrapping your eggplant slices in a paper towel for 20 minutes or by simply salting them and allowing them to sit for a bit.
Roasted garlic is nothing short of a heavenly experience, so why not replicate it by grilling?Simply remove the skin from the garlic bulb then cut off the top bulb leaving portions of the garlic bulb exposed. Place the cut side down on a piece of tin foil then generously coat in olive oil. Crimp the tin foil into a loose package around the garlic bulb and then grill for 20-40 minutes or until the garlic bulbs are tender to the touch with a poke of a fork. Smear on garlic bread or atop your favorite summertime dish.
Jackfruit is a fruit that can be used as a plant-based substitute for any animal protein.Think of things like BBQ Vegan Chicken Pizza and Pulled “Jackfruit” Chicken Salad. It can also be used to recreate classic pulled-pork sandwiches. However, if you want to keep it simple, grill up some jackfruit and pair it with honey and lime to make a mouth-watering masterpiece like these Honey Lime Grilled Jackfruit skewers.
Kale leaves are cruciferous vegetables that can be grilled. Grilled kale leaves are an excellent addition to summer salads or chop them up as a gorgeous green garnish to accompany other main dishes and sides.
The mango is another firm fruit that can be grilled. Simply remove the mango skin, slice it in half, and grill each side until they are slightly charred to your desired level. Enjoy them on their own for a sweet summertime treat or dice them up and use them as a topping for handcrafted fish tacos or add them to homemade mango salsa. Yum!
Mushrooms are great vegetables for plant-based grilling. They are hearty and meaty, especially larger mushrooms like portobello mushrooms, which make delicious plant-based burgers. If you have smaller mushrooms, like white button mushrooms, consider adding them to a skewer and grilling up a batch of veggie kabobs for an appetizer or summertime side.
Hosting a backyard burger party? (Plant-based patties of course). Grill up some onions for a hamburger or hot dog topping. Grilling will bring out the natural sweetness of onions giving them a caramelized taste that will complete any plant-based meal.
Peaches, like most stone fruits, are the perfect type of fruit for grilling. They can be enjoyed all on their own, but pair the best with a handcrafted summer salad or a sweet dessert such as a scoop (or two) of vanilla bean ice cream.
Forget poached pears. Enter grilled pears. Slice them into halves or fourths or skewer them on a kabob stick and create a grilled fruit kabob perfect for appetizers or a sweet summertime dessert like this scrumptious recipe for Grilled Peaches with Cashew Cream Sauce.
A fruit that most people are familiar with is grilled pineapple. It is hearty and super sweet so grilling it just makes it that much better. Pineapple is incredibly versatile to grill. You can cut it in half and grill it in larger sections, you can skewer them on a stick, or you can slice them into rings. Chef’s choice! Dice grilled pineapple pieces into cubes and use them as an ice cream topping or add them to a batch of fish tacos or fresh homemade salsa for a sweet addition.
Whether you prefer classic Russet potatoes, sweet potatoes, or Yukon gold potatoes, grill them up whole or halved. You can even use the grill to bake up a grilled baked potato. Remember to include all of the fixings so guests can make their own creations to enjoy with dinner. Grilled baked potato bar anyone?
If you love a homemade Caesar salad then try grilling your Romaine lettuce leaves. Just like with kale leaves, grilling Romaine lettuce leaves is a low-lift way to elevate any summertime salad giving it a subtle taste of summer with every crunchy bite.
We all love fire-roasted tomatoes, but skip the store-bought can and make your own instead. Blister them on the grill until they reach your desired level of charred perfection. Include them on fresh salads, handcrafted hamburgers, or mouthwatering sandwiches. You can even make a tray of Caprese skewers using grilled tomatoes for a sophisticated touch of summer.
Next to pineapple, watermelon is another favorite fruit to grill. Like cucumber, watermelon is water-based, so it is light and refreshing making it the perfect option for a hot summer's day. Grill for a summertime dessert or make the ever-so-popular watermelon salad, a favorite for the summertime season.
Zucchini is another refreshing food perfect for plant-based grilling. Like cauliflower, it absorbs almost any flavor so spice it up with some herbs, marinades, or seasonings. It is also a great vegetable to chop, dice, and slice for vegetable kabobs.
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