It’s the middle of summer and outdoor activities are happening everywhere. For many, this includes some backyard grilling with family and friends. Such gatherings are being scaled back right now because of the pandemic, but they’re still happening. Burgers are still sizzling, chicken is still BBQing, hot dogs are still browning. Those are all great options. But what about those who enjoy other, less traditional foods?

For vegans (and vegetarians), backyard barbecues can be tough. Sure, there are typically non-meat, non-dairy selections (vegetables, salads, etc.), but often the options are very limited. It’s simply not fair. All is not lost, however. Now, there are so many more non-traditional food options than ever before to choose from. Here are some simple recipes that can level the backyard barbecue playing field.

Vegan Cobb Salad

(mydarlingvegan.com/vegan-cobb-salad)

Ingredients

  • 1/2 head of romaine lettuce, chopped
  • 4 strips Tempeh bacon, homemade or store-bought
  • 4 oz. eggy tofu (see recipe below)*
  • 1/2 cup poultry-spiced chickpeas
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomato, halved
  • 1/2 avocado, cubed
  • 1/4 small cucumber, cut into slices pinch of salt
  • vegan ranch dressing, homemade
  • or store-bought

*Eggy Tofu

  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 4 ounces firm tofu, drained and cut
  • into cubes
  • 1 tsp nutritional yeast
  • pinch of black salt
  • poultry-spiced chickpeas
  • 1/2 cup cooked chickpeas
  • 1/2 tsp. poultry spice
  • pinch of salt

Instructions

Start by making the eggy tofu. Heat a griddle over medium heat and add 1 tbsp of oil. Add tofu and sauté for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring often, until a light crust begins to form. Stir in the nutritional yeast and black salt. Remove from heat and set aside. In the same sauté pan, heat up the chickpeas. Add poultry seasoning and salt and stir to combine. Cook until heated thoroughly. Remove from heat. Cut the tempeh bacon into half-inch slices. Heat it up bacon according to package instructions. Set aside. To assemble the salads, spread romaine lettuce evenly between two plates. Add the remaining ingredients in rows. Top with vegan ranch dressing and enjoy!

Grilled Portobello Mushroom Burgers with Basil Aioli

(wellvegan.com/recipe/grilled-portobello-mushroom-sandwiches-with-basil-aioli)

Ingredients

Portobello Burger:

  • 4 large portobello mushrooms, wiped clean
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tomato, cut crosswise into half-inch slices
  • 1 bunch arugula, washed and spun dry
  • 4 hamburger buns
  • salt
  • fresh ground pepper

Vegan Aioli:

  • 1 cup vegan mayonnaise
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 24 fresh basil leaves, thinly slivered
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • salt
  • fresh ground pepper

Instructions

Make the basil aioli by combining vegan mayonnaise, garlic, basil and lemon juice in a small bowl. Use a whisk or food processor to mix. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside. Remove portobello mushroom stems. Using the tip of a paring knife, make tiny holes in the caps. Combine the olive oil and balsamic vinegar in a small bowl and whisk to mix. Generously brush the portobello caps and tomato slices with some of the oil and vinegar mixture and season them with salt and pepper. Grill on high heat until browned and soft (about 3 to 6 minutes per side). Spread the basil aioli inside the rolls or buns. Add the grilled mushrooms, tomato slices and arugula. Serve and enjoy