Plant-Based Summer Grilling

by Lisa Shettle, RDN, CD-N | Jun 06, 2020

The beginning of summer brings the unofficial start of grilling season. For some vegetarians and vegans, this can mean the same boring celery and carrot sticks, green salads, or chips and dip; barbecues don’t have to be boring for those who don’t eat meat. Classic cookout foods can easily be transformed into vegetarian and vegan options.

Main Dishes

Be sure to include some sort of plant-based protein, which can be as simple as a cold bean salad. You’ll also find meat-free burgers and hot dogs in most grocery stores. A homemade vegan burger can be made out of beans, quinoa, rice, or tofu. If you’re making chili for meat eaters, simply make a batch without the meat by adding extra beans and tomatoes.


Plant-based side dishes can range from chickpea pasta salad (for added fiber), quinoa salad, pickled veggies, or pico de gallo.

Lisa Shettle, Dietitian Nutritionist

Grilled vegetables are a crowd-pleaser! Marinated and grilled portobello mushroom caps are not only tasty, they offer a savory, meaty texture that’s appealing to meat-eaters and vegans. Mushrooms, peppers, squash and tomatoes can be skewered and grilled until slightly charred.

Vegans can substitute dairy-free and egg-free products when making deviled eggs, potato salad, and pasta salads. An oil and vinegar-based dressing is another option and can also be used in a cold broccoli or green bean salad. A chopped salad with canned or roasted chickpeas ,tomatoes, cucumber, and red bell peppers is a tasty alternative to a green salad. Instead of traditional chips, homemade kale chips can be are a more nutritious option.


Fresh seasonal fruit like watermelon slices and an assortment of berries are naturally sweet and can be topped with dairy-free whipped topping. If you are looking for a cold delicious dessert try soy, almond, cashew and coconut milk-based ice creams! Grilling? Try peaches, pineapples, bananas and other fruit. The heat will caramelize their natural sweetness!