Vegetarian Cookout Menu

See, I told you I would have grilling ideas for vegetarians! 🙂 Everyone knows that vegetables are yummy grilled, but most people think they are for side dishes, only. Today, I’m going to share a great way to put grilled veggies front and center. Now, vegetarians might see these recipes and say, “Scout – duh! This is what we have been doing for years.” But there are a lot of people who have vegetarian friends, or are trying to cut out some meat for health or financial reasons. Here is a great meatless take on the classic Memorial Day cookout: burgers, with 2 side salads.

Baby Portabello Sliders
4 servings, 20 minutes

8 baby portobello mushrooms
1 T. olive oil
2 T. seasoning (your favorite: steak, Cajun, Italian, etc.)
2 oz. cheese
8 dinner rolls
4 leaves lettuce
1 roma tomato

1. Rub olive oil all over mushrooms, and toss with seasonings. Split rolls to make mini hamburger buns. Slice tomato thinly to make 8 slices.

2. Heat grill over medium heat, and wipe grate with oil. Place mushrooms stem side down, and grill for 3-4 minutes. Flip and grill for 3 minutes more. Toast rolls on grill. Place pinches of cheese in stem hole of mushroom and grill one minute more to melt cheese.

3. Serve mushrooms on toasted rolls topped with a little lettuce and thinly sliced tomato and your favorite condiment.

This recipe originally came from the Vegetarian Times website, but I have changed it up to be more “All-American Cookout” and less “Fancy European Bistro”.

Modular Macaroni Salad
4 servings, 20 minutes + 1 hour

1 1/2 c. macaroni (whatever shape you like)
1/4 c. mayonnaise
1/4 c. fat-free plain greek yogurt
1 T. dijon mustard
1 t. dill
1 t. garlic powder
1 t. onion powder

1. Cook macaroni according to package.

2. While the macaroni is boiling, mix mayonnaise, yogurt, and seasonings in a large bowl. Then start chopping veggies into 1/4″-1/2″ cubes (or as close as you can get), and dropping them in the bowl as you go. Mix to coat veggies.

3. When macaroni is done cooking, drain, and cool either by running some cold water over it or by putting some ice on top or by waiting. I am not good with waiting, so I use the water or the ice. When the pasta is cool-ish to the touch, shake in the colander to get the rest of the water out, and add to the bowl of dressing and veggies and mix well.

4. Chill for at least an hour before serving. Leftovers are awesome in lunchboxes.

A note on the “vegetables” ingredient: These can be anything that your family likes, in the quantity you prefer. I prefer the salad to be 50% veggies or more; and use a combination of celery, cucumber, tomatoes, bell peppers, onions, green onions, carrots, and broccoli.

Chopped Tomato Salad
4 servings, 20 minutes

4 tomatoes
1 T. olive oil
1 t. vinegar (red wine or balsamic)

Chop tomatoes into big bite sized chunks. Toss with salt and let drain for 10 minutes onto paper towels. Place in a serving bowl and toss with oil and vinegar. Do not refrigerate, as the cold kills some of the flavor-containing compounds in tomatoes (Thanks, Alton!)

If your tomatoes are tasty homegrown or Farmer’s Market ones, then don’t drown the flavor in balsamic. But if all you can get are “bulletproof” flavorless tomatoes from the grocery store, by all means – add some flavor! 🙂 This salad can be amped up in any number of ways, but a good tomato is so good, it hardly needs any help to be delicious.

Most efficient way to make this menu? Make the pasta salad in the morning, or even the night before. Make the tomato salad right before the cookout, and let it sit and make a yummy tomato-ey sauce while it sits (the salt will continue to draw out the juice and mix it with the oil and vinegar). Then cook your sliders, and serve everything! If you are planning on taking this to a park instead of your backyard, I would bring the mushrooms already seasoned in a ziptop baggie, rather than dealing with oiling and seasoning them there.

What meatless goodies do you grill?


2 thoughts on “Vegetarian Cookout Menu”

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