What once seemed like a trend many years ago is now commonplace for many people: grilling vegetarian! While many grill enthusiasts cannot imagine grilling without meat, vegetarians strictly oppose this, which can quickly become a problem for you as a host. However, those who enjoy grilling should address this issue, especially since vegetarian dishes from the grill taste excellent and varied thanks to good recipes. Vegetarian dishes also pair very well with meat, poultry, and fish, offering a change from the obligatory salad. Dairy and cheese products, fruits, and vegetables are a real asset to grilling. Those who choose a vegetarian diet have made this decision for good reasons. Eating meatless is always also related to one’s attitude towards animals. When the lives of animals are considered almost or exactly as valuable as ours, it becomes difficult for many people to bring meat to the table, let alone eat it themselves. We’ll give you an insight into the culinary delights of vegetarians.
Reasons for a Vegetarian Lifestyle
Today, meat production is essentially about maximizing profit. For many years, terrible images of animal husbandry from many factory farms have been seen on TV and in the press. Offering animals dignified conditions to grow, as is usually the case in traditional agriculture, is unfortunately no longer a matter of course. Factory farms fatten animals and add antibiotics to counteract profit losses. Meat is often cheaper than vegetables, which, in principle, should not be possible with humane animal husbandry. All good reasons for a committed vegetarian to abstain from meat. Additionally, it should be mentioned that factory farming is responsible for a tremendous amount of CO2 emissions. However, many people also choose this lifestyle for health reasons. People with MS, for example, are advised against eating sausage and meat, but living meatlessly has also proven effective for those with very high cholesterol levels.
Basics of Vegetarian Nutrition
Pak Choi Grilling Just like for any person, it is important for vegetarians to provide the body with a balanced diet. Protein, fats, and carbohydrates must be present in sufficient quantities for energy production. Vitamins, nutrients, minerals, and fiber are supplied to the body through the consumption of fruits, juices, and vegetables. Beans, lentils, and soy products provide the necessary protein. Healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, and proteins are present in seeds and nuts. However, what is often forgotten is the daily water requirement. With 2-3 liters of water, the body is usually relatively well hydrated. However, the amount also depends on body weight and activity level. This results in the following:
Water and other beverages
Fresh vegetables and fruits
Bread, potatoes, and other wheat products
Animal protein, e.g., cheese and dairy products, eggs, and milk
Choosing the Right Foods for Vegan Grilling
As with any other grilling, the quality of the food plays a crucial role. What good is the best grill if the food doesn’t taste good? Therefore, be sure to pay attention to good quality. The attitude of buying food regionally and seasonally is becoming increasingly common. Many farm shops, farmers, and weekly markets sell fresh quality products. Prices are usually slightly higher, but you are also making a statement regarding environmental protection and sustainability. Small agricultural businesses are struggling to survive, and by buying their products, you effectively support them.
Of course, you won’t always find what you’re craving for in these businesses all year round. Supermarkets offer vegetables and fruits all year round. However, you should consider that these products from distant countries have a long transportation route. They are often harvested unripe to be able to sit on the grill, affecting taste and vitamins. You may also be tempted to buy frozen vegetables, but this is only recommended to a limited extent for vegetarian grilling. Frozen vegetables are only suitable for dishes from the wok (on the grill) or grilled dishes from the grill pan. If you need finely chopped vegetables for a grilled dish, frozen vegetables are not to be underestimated. Since it is usually frozen in the ideal size, you save a lot of time in preparation. Quality-wise, frozen vegetables are not bad because vitamins and taste are preserved. The same applies to fruit, as vegetarians also enjoy it very much. There are many fruity grill recipes where fruit plays the leading and tasty role. For vegetables that are grilled as large pieces, prefer fresh vegetables. These are crunchier and easier to prepare, such as stuffed zucchinis and eggplants.
Vegetarian or Vegan – What’s the Difference?
It’s not uncommon for hosts to mix vegetarians and vegans into one “grilling pot,” which can lead to mistakes. However, a vegan rejects some foods that are perfectly delicious and acceptable for a vegetarian. Do you know the difference between a vegetarian and a vegan? We’ll explain it to you simply and straightforwardly so that you won’t make any mishaps.
What Does a Vegetarian Eat?
Grilling Vegetables Over Charcoal The vegetarian eats much more than the vegan. In addition to plant-based products, dairy products also make it to the table, such as cottage cheese, yogurt, and cheese. Cheese, in particular, offers many great opportunities for vegetarian grilling. Also popular is grilled cheese in various variations. Honey and eggs are also among the foods that vegetarians do not do without. However, over time, various groups have formed. So a vegetarian is not just a vegetarian!
Which groups are we talking about here?
The semi-vegetarian only abstains from dark meat. Fish and poultry, however, are acceptable to them.
The ovo-vegetarian abstains from dairy products, meat, chicken, and fish. Eggs are acceptable to them.
As a lacto-vegetarian, dairy products are always on the menu. Any meat, poultry, fish, and eggs are unacceptable.
An ovo-lacto-pesce-vegetarian also consumes fish. All meat and poultry are generally not eaten.
An ovo-lacto-vegetarian neither eats poultry, meat, nor fish.
What Does a Vegan Eat?
The vegan strictly avoids food of animal origin. This includes eggs, dairy products, flavorings from whey, and honey. They generally eat completely plant-based. But even with this diet, the vegan cannot be characterized solely. Their attitude and love for animals extend into their everyday lives. Products of animal origin are just as strictly rejected as animal foods. Products such as down, leather, and wool are an absolute no-go for a true vegan. However, this also extends further! Animal testing is still carried out, especially for cosmetics and cleaning products. Of course, the vegan bans these products from their shopping list.
However, the flexitarian should also be mentioned. They do not fundamentally reject meat, but the origin, breeding, and quality play a significant role
here. However, they mainly eat like vegetarians. Perhaps not quite as important for you personally but very interesting are the fruitarians. With them, grilling becomes a bit more challenging because they prefer to eat nuts, fruits, and seeds. It is always important to ensure that the plant on which fruits and vegetables grow is not destroyed. This is difficult because much of the vegetables are tuberous plants, such as kohlrabi. Therefore, fruit is also only accepted as so-called fallen fruit.
Different Grilling Techniques for Vegetarian Grilling
Grilled Potato Gratin Depending on the grill, you will have to decide whether to use direct or indirect grilling for the grill ingredients. The recipe is also crucial here, but you will find fewer differences compared to conventional methods with meat.
Indirect Grilling for Vegetarians
With this grilling method, the grill ingredients are exposed to direct heat on the grill. Therefore, it is not a good choice to place vegetarian grill ingredients directly over the fire, as they could burn too quickly and not cook through. A closed lid creates air circulation, which distributes the heat particularly well. This way, the grill ingredients are prepared gently. Regulators on gas grills are very helpful for indirect grilling. Ventilation slots ensure good circulation when grilling with charcoal. Indirect grilling can also be excellently achieved with grill pans and grill plates.
Direct Grilling for Vegetarians
There is hardly any difference between real meat and vegetarian products on the grill, except for the preparation time. With direct grilling, crispy grill ingredients are quickly prepared directly over the heat. However, there are taste differences compared to indirect grilling. Grilling often influences the taste of vegetables. With this grilling method, vegetables usually remain crunchier and more flavorful. Properly marinated, even rather tasteless vegetables suddenly get a completely new flavor.
Sous Vide as a Gentle Cooking Method
Those who want to prepare their grill ingredients particularly gently can also use the sous vide method. Here, the grill ingredients are placed in a vacuum bag, from which the air is removed. By sealing the bag, the grill ingredients are hermetically sealed. A sous vide device contains a water bath that heats the bag and its contents to the desired temperature, thus gently cooking the grill ingredients. With this method, the grill ingredients (fruit, vegetables, or meat) are truly cooked only in their own juices. Therefore, oils or spices can also be added directly to the bag at the beginning of the cooking process, creating a special flavor. After it is cooked, the grill ingredients can be briefly seared. Separate cooking makes it easier to cook different grill ingredients simultaneously. In addition to the sous vide device, you also need a vacuum sealer and vacuum bags.
Cooking Times in the Water Bath
Unfortunately, we cannot provide you with exact times, only average values.
50 minutes = Artichokes
45 minutes = Raw corn cobs
35 minutes = Green beans
32 minutes = Leeks
25 minutes = Potatoes, pears
23 minutes = Celery, white cabbage
20 minutes = Mushrooms, cauliflower, bell peppers, apples
17 minutes = Broccoli, spinach, carrots, asparagus
15 minutes = Bananas
The cooking time naturally depends on the size and thickness of the vegetables and fruits. You should be careful and observe the grill ingredients during the first attempts.
Accessories for Vegetarian Grilling
Grilled Pineapple on a Skewer Preparing vegetarian dishes on the grill can certainly make some accessories useful. As a meat eater, it’s easier: the steak goes on the grill, and there are salads and various breads. For vegetarians, skewers with fresh vegetables are high on the list of vegetarian dishes. Therefore, the purchase of large skewers makes sense. Do not buy them too small because vegetarians who mainly eat vegetarian tend to go for slightly larger portions. Vegetarians also love vegetable pans from the grill, so grill trays as accessories also make sense, as well as for grilled cheese. One thing should not be forgotten: many vegetarians have problems eating from a grill grate where meat has been prepared.
Meatless Alternatives on the Grill
You have probably already noticed in the refrigerated shelves of supermarkets that vegetarians also enjoy a schnitzel, a hamburger, or sausages. If you’re wondering how it’s possible to consume these products without meat, we’ll gladly provide you with some information:
Soybeans play a significant role for vegetarians. Almost half of all meatless alternatives are made from soy. By soaking, crushing, and cooking the soybeans, soy milk and fiber are produced. If the milk is then coagulated, soy curd is produced, which is pressed into blocks. These blocks are known as tofu. To make vegetarian sausages from this soy mass, the fiber is added. Fermented soybeans are also used to make the very savory tempeh.
Wheat is also suitable for making products for vegetarians. To separate proteins and starch, it is washed until pure gluten remains at the end. The end product from wheat is known as seitan. Unlike products made from soy, seitan has a texture more similar to real meat. However, not everyone tolerates gluten well. In case of intolerances, seitan leads to painful and embarrassing gases in the intestines. Those suffering from celiac disease should also avoid these products for consumption. Minerals, vitamins, and high-quality protein are not present in the same extent as in soy.
Lupins are not only beautiful to look at in flower beds, but they are also used to produce vegetarian food. You may also know them colloquially as “northern soybeans.” The processing is similar to that of soybeans, but the bitter substances contained lead to a more complex production process.
Enriched milk protein with oat fibers can be pressed into shape and, for example, made into a schnitzel. The advantage of this starting product is that it is rich in B vitamins, iron, and calcium.
What Is Suitable for Vegetarians to Grill?
Until you become a vegetarian yourself, you probably have many ideas about it. If not, our advice will help you and inspire you to try new things. Even as a so-called meat eater, you can quickly be convinced not only when grilling vegetarian grill ingredients. Basically, vegetables are one of the main actors on the grill for vegetarians.
Vegetables in all variations belong on the grill for vegetarians. Flavor can easily be varied here through marinades and grilling techniques.
Salads should not be missing under any circumstances. They taste fresh, and especially potato salad and pasta salad without sausage and meat have an enormous satiating effect.
Side dishes such as various breads should not be forgotten either. Fresh bread, baguettes with herb or garlic butter, or ciabatta taste excellent. Briefly placed on the grill, they taste crispy and delicious – not only for vegetarians.
Don’t forget to offer various dips. They taste varied with grilled vegetables, bread, and jacket potatoes. Potatoes are generally popular on the grill.
For many vegetarians, meat substitutes such as tofu or seitan are important. However, clarify beforehand what vegetarian guests like to eat and tolerate.
Grilled cheese is truly tasty and versatile. Make sure not to miss it when grilling.
forget to grill fruit. There is a wide selection of fruity delicacies from the grill.
Conclusion: Vegetarian nutrition is simply part of grilling. There are many recipes that can easily be used as side dishes for meat. Both sides’ acceptance at the grill is important. Everyone should be free to eat what they like and why they like it.