Saturday, July 27, 2013

Vegan Grilling

When I first went vegan, there was a lot of stress accompanying food-related events- each holiday and party meant a new meal to figure out.  Now that I've been doing this for a few years, I usually have ideas in mind ahead of time, but there are still "ah!  What will I eat?!" moments.  I've recently been doing a good amount of grilling with my family, and I realize that at one time I had no idea what to prepare for all those inevitable summer barbeque parties.  There are actually a lot of options, which I will share, but first, a few tips:

- Invest in a grill pan.  There are a few reasons for this.  First of all, I never feel completely assured that all of the meat and juices are completely gone, even if the chef scours the grill or even has a huge fire going, in the case of charcoal.  Something about it is just unsettling to me.  Also, veggie burgers can easily fall apart and vegetables will slip between the grates, while a grill pan keeps everything together.  Seriously worth it.

-Let people know ahead of time that you're vegan.  Even if you're planning on bringing your own meal, the hosts (hopefully) will be nice enough to at least have a veggie platter or some fresh fruit, which they might not have done otherwise.  I've attended two parties this summer where the hosts had a plethora of vegan food - quinoa, potato, and pasta salads that were really good!  Often I don't expect people to prepare anything special, but I forget that just because it's vegan doesn't mean everyone else won't enjoy it, as well.


Now for the recipes:

1.  Vegan Black Bean Burgers
This is one of my favorite vegan recipes, in general.  I got it from VegWeb and modified it a bit.  My family actually likes them more than eating meat off the grill, and that's saying a lot.  These have just the right amount of spiciness and definitely fall apart while you're eating them.  Topping with slices of avocado is a must and they're delicioso on a whole wheat bun.


Ingredients:
  • 3 cans black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 medium red onion, minced in food processor
  • 2 large stalk celerys, minced in food processor
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced in food processro
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 cup original hummus
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 cup quick oats
Directions:
  1. Heat oil in a frying pan on medium low
  2. Sauté garlic & onion in oil until soft
  3. Add the celery & pepper, fry until softened
  4. Mix in the herbs & spices and heat through
  5. Mash or puree half the beans
  6. Combine all beans with cooked vegetables and quick oats.  Mix well by hand.
  7. Add enough of the hummus or liquid seasoning to moisten mixture fairly well
  8. Form 10-12 flat patties (this will get messy!).  Spray a grill pan and grill for about 10 minutes, until the burgers are warm and browned.  You can also fry them on the stove using olive oil.



 2.  Sweet Potato Burgers
These have also recently become a family favorite.  These burgers are not actually cooked on the grill, but are fried or baked instead.  They are still a great substitute for traditional burgers.  I made a batch, baked it in advance, and brought it to a party where more people tried it than I had anticipated.  These are also great with avocado, but I've seen people eat them with ketchup.  The recipe can be found here: Lunch Box Bunch


3.  Grilled Vegetables / Skewers
This one is super easy!  The other day I sliced up a bunch of zucchini squash and red and yellow bell peppers, keeping them in sizable slices.  I arranged everything on the grill tray, sprayed it with olive oil, and grilled for about 10-15 minutes.  The results were delicious.  If you want to get a bit fancier, buy some wooden skewers and include whatever you like- onions, tomatoes, mushrooms, pineapple, eggplant - there are lots of options.  There are many recipes online for vegetable combinations and marinades.  Here's one that looks great: Vegetarian Times

4.  Grilled Potatoes
It's so simple!  Here are a few ideas:
    -Slice sweet potatoes in half.  Wrap each half in foil.  Grill for 20 minutes.
    -Peel and slice a bunch of red skin potatoes into rounds.  Add a thinly sliced red pepper, green pepper, and sweet onion.  Wrap in foil, drizzled with olive oil.  Grill for 30-40 minutes.


There are so many options for vegan grilling - sometimes it's just hard to think outside the box of what you have eaten in the past.  All of these recipes are healthy and satisfying- you'll be glad you didn't eat that hot dog (gross).  So choose a recipe and get started!
 

 

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