Let’s face it, outside of vegan or vegetarian circles the phrase “plant-based grilling” doesn’t exactly inspire excitement in most people. For a lot of people, grilling equals meat, and a portobello “steak” isn’t fooling anyone into thinking it’s a rib-eye.
But that doesn’t mean plant-based grilling is boring! In fact, the vegans and vegetarians amongst us are totally on to something here. The diversity of vegetables makes for a more interesting grilling experience than if you limit yourself only to grilled meats — or to vegetables trying to replicate meat flavor and texture.
Trying to replicate meat too often only leads to disappointment. Instead, focus on creating dynamic flavors and textures that highlight the best elements of each vegetable. Here’s what we recommend trying on the grill this summer.
To some people, the humble eggplant is a bitter and bland veggie, more spongy mess than tasty treat. But that reputation couldn’t be further from the truth. When properly grilled, the versatile eggplant becomes creamy and smoky, producing a hearty flavor that’ll satisfy any meat eater (and might even convert eggplant haters).
How-to: If roasting whole, blister the eggplant thoroughly on the grill until the skin has collapsed. After it’s cooled, peel the skin and mash the flesh with tahini (sesame paste), lemon juice, and olive oil for a delicious Middle Eastern baba ganoush dip. For a Chinese-inspired dish, grill thick eggplant slices directly on…