The barbecue is a summer tradition. It’s the perfect opportunity to get your friends and family together while enjoying delicious grilled food.

It’s the 4th of July, and you want to have a delicious barbecue for your friends. But what about vegetarians? What if they want to join in on the fun? Luckily, there are many ways to make a barbecue that everyone will enjoy. Here are some tips and tricks that can turn your meaty barbecue into a veggie-friendly one.

Barbecue Meal Ideas and Meatless Grilling How-to

Meat isn’t the only thing that performs well on a grill. You can cook full, savory vegetarian and vegan meals on the grill. Don’t limit yourself to veggie burgers and meat substitutes; many vegan foods are ideal for grilling.

Get the Grill Ready: Tips for prepping your grill.

Summertime is perfect for breaking out the grill and cooking some delicious food. If you want to make sure your grill is ready for summer, follow these tips:

  1. Clean the grill thoroughly. Use a wire brush to clean off any built-up gunk, then give it a good scrub with soap and water.
  2. Re-season the grill. Apply a thin layer of vegetable oil to the grates, then heat the grill for 10 minutes.
  3. Inspect the grill parts and replace any that are worn or broken.
  4. Make sure you have plenty of propane or charcoal on hand!

General Tips for Vegetarian/Vegan Barbecue Meals

  • Reserve a section of the grill clean of meat and products/juices. Vegetables may become non-vegetarian if they’re exposed to non-vegetarian items.
  • Don’t assume vegetarians will be satisfied with grilled vegetables or salad. Cook something that is filling and hearty for vegetarians too. Need ideas? See the list below.
  • If there are meat and non-meat options offered at a gathering or party, ensure the vegetarians get first dibs on the meatless offerings.
  • When barbecuing both meat and vegetarian meals, plan and choose appropriate foods to avoid cooking entirely separate meals. For example, don’t grill falafel to be served with pita bread and salad if you’re also grilling steak to be served with rice and potatoes.

Tips for Cooking Vegetarian/Vegan Barbecue Foods

  • Vegetarian foods don’t generally need to be cooked to a certain temperature like meats do. It can be difficult to tell when they’re done. Most need to be heated through and crisped on the outside.
  • Cook dry, hearty, or winter vegetables wrapped in tinfoil (e.g., carrots, potatoes)
  • Cook moist, delicate summer vegetables directly on the grill (e.g., eggplant slices, zucchini, mushrooms)
  • If you use wooden skewers, soak them in water for 30 minutes before using them so they don’t burn on the grill.

Grill Time: How long does to grill vegetables?

Grilling vegetables is a great way to cook them. They come out with a delicious flavor that can’t be beaten. You need to know a few things to grill your vegetables perfectly every time. The first thing you need to know is how long to grill them.

When grilling vegetables, you can definitely get away with cooking them for a shorter amount of time. If the grill is too hot, your vegetables will cook before they are done. They’ll be very soft and mushy when you remove them from the grill.

The best way to determine how long to grill your vegetables is by using a thermometer. If the grill temperature is too high, check it often and ensure it doesn’t get too hot. When you add them to the grill, cook them for 20 minutes.

Vegetarian/Vegan Barbecue Meal Ideas

  • Falafel or chickpea patties (homemade or store-bought)
  • Shish kebabs (try the tofu and vegetable shish kebab recipe)
  • Baking potato stuffed with melted cheese and refried beans
  • Pizza or other bread with toppings (garlic bread with cheese, bruschetta, flatbread)
  • Stuffed peppers, zucchini, or tomatoes (filling is cooked on the stovetop)
  • Marinated, thickly sliced tofu (marinate at least one hour and use firm or extra-firm tofu only)
  • Meat substitutes (veggie burgers, dogs, sausages, faux chicken cutlets, bean patties, etc.)
  • Grilled eggplant stacks with portabello mushrooms and ricotta cheese (try the eggplant stacks recipe)
  • Vegetables: sweet potato, potato, carrots, parsnip, mushrooms, eggplant, zucchini, asparagus, corn (note: special instructions for grilling corn on the cob)

Vegetable and tofu seasoning ideas:

  • Favorite spice blend
  • Italian or favorite salad dressing
  • Salt and pepper, and serve with sauce or dip (try sesame tahini dressing for creaminess and protein)

Barbecue and Outdoor Dining Side Dish and Dessert Ideas

Side Dishes

  • Green salads with fresh, seasonal ingredients
  • Potato salad or pasta salad without tuna or other meat
  • Roasted hot mushroom salad
  • Sliced tomato and bocconcini salad
  • Fresh bread or rice
  • Grilled flatbread or garlic bread
  • Bean salad


  • Grilled fruit (halved peaches, plums, pears, or sliced pineapple) with vanilla ice cream or non-dairy cream
  • Seasonal fruit crisp or cobbler
  • Banana boats (grilled bananas stuffed with chocolate chips)

Conclusion: Vegetarian grilling made easy!

There is a common misconception that vegetarian barbecues are not as delicious as meat-based barbecues. This could not be further from the truth! Vegetarian barbecues are just as delicious, if not more so than their meat-based counterparts.

There are many great vegetarian barbecue recipes released, even the most die-hard carnivore. So next time you’re planning a barbecue, forget the burgers and dogs and try out some of these amazing recipes instead!