From the National Concert in Washington, D.C., to Fleet Week activities in New York City, Memorial Day, of course, is a day of remembering the men and women who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces. At the same time, Memorial Day marks the start of summer, and as sure as towns across America will host parades, there will be countless family gatherings, picnics and BBQs. It is officially grilling season.
All winter long, we’ve been in the kitchen, slow roasting, sautéing and steaming. But starting today, it’s time to simply drizzle everything with a bit of olive oil, drop it over hot flames, and give your favorite veggies the sweet, smoky flavor that only grilling can produce. To mark the first Meatless Monday of summer, here are dozens of ways to bring your love of Meatless Monday out of the kitchen and take it to the grill.
The first thing you’ll need are ideas, and we have plenty of them. On the Meatless Monday Summer Cookout Pinterest Board, you’ll find recipes from Meatless Monday’s own recipe collection, in addition to a wide range of recipes from bloggers and other websites. Definitely the place to start planning your cookout.
If a BBQ just isn’t a BBQ without a burger, then check out One Green Planet’s 10 Epic Veggie Burgers. Summer is also the time for bright salads, and Craving Something Healthy’s Mediterranean Grilled Vegetable Salad, CookingPlanIt’s Bow Tie Pasta Salad with Sun Dried Tomatoes, and The Salty Tomato’s Carrot Mint Salad fit the bill. And for the procrastinators, last year our friends at NoshOn.it published this collection of Last Minute Memorial Day Recipes.
Quite possibly, the best part of summer grilling is the endless creativity; almost anything can go on the grill. One of our favorite writers, Joe Yonan, Food & Travel Editor of The Washington Post, has this excellent piece about the “glory” of grilling a head of cabbage for first time. If you want to skip the cole slaw and impress your friends with something new, then this is for you.
Ready to take the cover off the grill? Then get your apron on, get a copy of Meatless Monday’s Monday Burgers Cookbook, and eat well all summer with these 10 easy summer grilling tips:
1. Many vegetables can get grilled with just a light brushing of olive oil. Fresh corn, tomatoes, asparagus, eggplant, zucchini, squash, bell peppers and jalapenos are just a few to try.
2. Kabobs are a BBQ staple that make the perfect meatless entree. Add tofu cubes, cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, roasted potatoes or just about any other vegetable that strikes your fancy.
3. For a sweet side dish or dessert, grilled fruit is amazing. Try peach halves, pineapples, plums, melon, kiwi, bananas, pears or figs with a touch of honey marinade.
4. Swap the hamburger for a Portobello Mushroom Burger or grilled eggplant slices. Grab a bun and add your favorite toppings, like avocados, caramelized onions, roasted red peppers or an olive spread.
5. Make your own veggie burgers packed with hearty ingredients like black beans, lentils, quinoa and chickpeas. You can also find healthy pre-made patties at supermarkets and natural food stores.
6. Turn up the creativity and make delicious, smoky pizzas right on the grill. All you need is pizza dough, sauce and your favorite vegetables thinly sliced or pre-grilled.
7. Use your favorite marinade recipe to add flavor to extra firm tofu cubes. Grill them up and add them to a salad, serve them with veggies or enjoy them on their own.
8. Add grilled vegetables to a filling summer salad. Garnish fresh lettuces with a bit of fruit, feta cheese and olive oil to complete the dish; or think beyond lettuce and whip up a bean or grain salad.
9. Consider your sides when planning a meatless BBQ. Pasta salads, raw vegetables and hummus dip are great ways to turn your plant-based dishes into a full meal.
10. End the meal on a healthy note: include a tray of fresh fruit, a parfait or homemade smoothies.