Grills Gone Vegan is a very comprehensive guide to all you need to know about vegan grilling. I mistakenly thought it was just about cooking on an outdoor barbecue, but I was wrong. Tamasin Noyes covers all the options from a stove-top grill pan or an electric indoor grill, to an outdoor charcoal or gas barbecue. Once you get the tools and techniques down, you're free to grill in the heat of summer or during the worst blizzard of winter.
The book starts with advice on buying outdoor and indoor grilling devices, and essential utensils to make grilling more convenient. She then explains how to maximize grill flavors with marinades, wet and dry rubs, and smoker boxes. Next is a short course on how to grill — preparing the grill, choosing and prepping the ingredients, and stocking the pantry. There's also a section at the back filled with amazing-sounding sauces and dressings.
I have to admit that when we barbecue at our house, it's usually a simple affair of slapping various veggies, tofu or tempeh on the grill — nothing fancy. We love the taste of grilled food in all its simplicity, but the idea of spiffing up our grilling and finding new ways to enjoy our beloved barbecue was very appealing. Since my husband usually wields the barbecue tools, he picked out the first recipe to try — portobellos smothered in ratatouille. Doesn't that sound good? I don't know exactly what went wrong but though he worked at it for 1-1/2 hours, the end result was not good. Neither of us enjoyed the meal and it didn't look good enough to photograph. Bummer. I think maybe it had too many steps for someone used to keeping things simple.
After a certain amount of resting from the exhaustion of grilling, he tried again, this time with a simpler marinated and grilled tofu — five-spice tofu. (He probably chose it because the marinade contained sriracha.) I wish the cookbook had pictures to reinforce the recipes — it helps a lot to see what a food is supposed to look like. Perhaps if my husband had been looking at a photo of glistening tofu slabs searing on the grill, he wouldn't have chosen to cut the tofu into cubes and skewer it with mushrooms.
In spite of his efforts to foil Tamasin's excellent recipe, the tofu was delicious, and we enjoyed our meal. He even managed to get the requisite grill marks on some of the cubes. Although the tofu was tasty, the amount of time it takes to marinate (eight hours to three days) will probably keep it off our grill list unless we learn how to plan ahead instead of being the last-minute grillers that we are. Potato slices are more our speed. But don't let our sloth-like ways inhibit your creative grilling impulses.
For the last recipe test, I took over, and decided to grill in the kitchen, the fresh bunch of asparagus we had just purchased at the farmers market. Although the recipe is presented as a salad with Chinese cabbage, I chose to make Tamasin's side dish variation of Asian asparagus spears.
I don't own a bona fide grill pan with ridges, but I do have a round cast iron griddle, and took some liberties with the definition of indoor grilling, to use it. The recipe was easy, and basically involved tossing the grilled asparagus with a light sauce. The result was delicious and visually appealing — something I would be proud to serve to guests. Although it was supposed to serve four, it was so good the two of us gobbled it up ourselves — along with pasta and soy curls with marinara sauce.
This is not a grab-a few-things-from-the-pantry-and-slap-them-on-the-grill kind of book. The recipes, for the most part, require a bit of thought and planning, but if you are looking for creative and delicious ways to make the most out of your grilling experience, you might want to take a look. "Grills Gone Vegan" will elevate your grilling skills into the realm of gourmet cooking, and you will discover new and unexpected ways to enjoy grilled foods.
I focused only on gluten-free recipes, but there are many recipes for seitan, and even desserts you may be interested in. Here's another review by Chow Vegan with different recipe selections.
- 8 ounces asparagus
- 1 teaspoon canola oil
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon ground pepper
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
- 1 teaspoon reduced-sodium tamari
- 1 teaspoon seasoned rice vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- Preheat a grill, grill pan or electric grill to medium heat.
- Put the asparagus in a medium bowl. Drizzle with canola oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss gently until the asparagus is evenly coated.
- Put the asparagus on the grill and cook, turning occasionally until marked, tender and bright green, about eight minutes. (If using an electric grill, keep it open and cook a few minutes longer if necessary.)
- Toss the spears with the sesame seeds, tamari, vinegar, and sesame oil as soon as they come off the grill.
The recipe was reprinted with the permission of the publisher, Book Publishing Company.
Full disclosure: The book was sent to me free of charge. All opinions are my own. I was not paid to review the book.