Sounds like a joke, right? How could the mere word “vegetarian” be put anywhere near a barbecue, unless, of course, you’re trying to write some sort of pun (or really offend a vegetarian…not to give you any ideas!).
However, as I’m sure most of my veg-friends can relate, summer BBQs are pretty hard to escape, as we’re all inevitably bound to encounter them. My family goes upstate during the summer, and I could practically smell burning meat as I drive up the mountains (yuck). Being the only vegetarian in my family, I am usually put in a situation where I have to tolerate everyone around me eating different animal parts – and actually enjoying them! Apologies for that graphic description, but those are my thoughts as I stare down at my plate of tofu and veggies for a solid twenty minutes until all the hamburgers are (finally!) gone.
Okay, I know I know. I shouldn’t yuck anyone else’s yum. Oops. Sorry guys. Everyone is entitled to their own tastes and preferences, and in this situation, that certainly holds true. As most of you reading this likely aren’t vegetarian, I think it’s important for me to say loud and clear that I do not judge other people for eating meat. In fact, I don’t judge people for anything they eat, and I will never EVER offer any nutritional comments unless I am specifically asked for my input (no one likes a calorie-counting nutrition police). So please, go enjoy that grilled chicken. And while we’re at it, I hope you enjoy that donut too.
In short (and I mean, in miniscule) my vegetarianism simply stems from a taste preference; I do not enjoy the taste or texture of meat, so I choose not to consume it. There are other factors for my non-existent relationship with meat too, but I will leave it at that because otherwise this post will become way too long and you’ll likely be nauseous by the end (can’t you see how hard I’m trying to keep my followers?!). Perhaps I’ll save that saga for another time, after BBQ season ends 😉
Yesterday we hosted a family BBQ in our bungalow upstate. Due to the insanely large amount of meat being prepared in the kitchen, I decided that the vegetarian game had to be even more on-point than usual, as I’d need even more veg-friendly food to help me cope while everyone else ate the meat. My dad grilled a healthy (pun intended) amount of veggies (including romaine lettuce – which is underratedly delicious on the grill!), as well as some tofu that I marinated. I must say, I was pretty pleased with my colorful plate. Check it out:
And dessert was the best part of the meal! My mom sliced pineapple, and we threw it right on the grill. The result: warm, sweet, grilled deliciousness that tasted better than candy (at least according to this dietetics major 🙂 ).
Here are the recipes from this veg-friendly BBQ! Whether you’re vegetarian or not, these are healthy favorites that everyone is bound to enjoy. And that is not an empty claim – I say that sincerely since even my dad – who has yet to fully accept my vegetarianism (despite its eight years in the making, FYI) – devoured this tofu. And the lettuce. And every other veg-approved dish at this BBQ. Check and check.
Sweet and Savory Tofu Recipe
-1 block extra firm tofu, pressed and cut into 1/4 inch slices
-2 tablespoons sesame oil
-3 tablespoons coconut aminos
-1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
-1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
-1/8 teaspoon thyme
-1/8 teaspoon sea salt
Wrap the tofu in two paper towels and press for at
least twenty minutes (read how to do that here).
While the tofu is pressing, prepare the marinade: In a small bowl, mix the wet ingredients together, then whisk in the garlic powder, thyme and sea salt. After the tofu has been pressed, slice it into 1/4 inch slices and place in a tin. Pour the marinade over the tofu and allow it to sit in the tin for at least a half hour (don’t rush this – if you do, the tofu can come out flavorless and dry). Flip tofu over after fifteen minutes to allow the marinade to soak evenly. Place the tofu on the grill and allow to cook until desired doneness is reached (warning – tofu cooks much faster than meat, so watch it carefully!).
*Helpful winter note– This tofu can also be made in an oven. After marinating the tofu, bake at 350 degrees Farenheit for about 30-35 minutes, flipping over after 15 minutes.
Vegetables on the Grill
The grilled vegetables (mushrooms, peppers, onions and zucchini) featured in this blogpost were prepared using nothing more than a drizzle of either avocado or olive oil, sea salt, and pepper – simple and easy.
Hey, if this is how a vegetarian enters a BBQ, I may be more open to the idea 🙂
*PS- Want to stay healthy in college? Subscribe to The Artsy Palate by entering your email address below so you can keep up with my latest tips!