September 20, 2012

The vegan grillers ...

A couple of weeks ago we got our very first gas grill. After much Internet research into brands and sizes, we found a hardware store with the grill I was interested in, and went to see it in person. I quickly realized it was a lot smaller than I thought, and decided the next size up would work better for grilling copious amounts of veggies rather than skinny hot dogs and a few burgers. We bought one.

Oh, I know. Big deal you're thinking, so they got a grill. Everyone has a grill. Yes, but now WE have a grill, too, and we've been grilling just about every night. We've gone a little grill-crazy — maybe to make up for lost time. We purchased a Weber Q Series portable grill and a stand. We got the Q 220. The Q 220 is has an electronic starter (powered by a small battery) so you just turn it on and it lights — so far, anyway. Although the Q is considered a small grill, that doesn't mean it comes with a small price. I was kind of waiting for an end of summer sale before we bought the grill, but if I waited any longer, the summer really would end and I didn't think we'd want to be grilling in the rain and cold. But you never know — this grilling thing is very cool, and we're enjoying ourselves immensely, so maybe a little rain won't stop us.

First of all, I'm amazed at how quickly we can get a grilled meal on the table. I'm not talking about fancy marinated this and that, but a fabulous, basic grilled veggies and protein affair. For example, we grilled zucchini, eggplant, hatch chile pepper, portabella mushroom slices, sweet potato and tofu in 40 minutes start to plate.

We cooked the sweet potato in slim slices (about 1/2" thick), then sliced the slabs to look like fries, after they were cooked. The eggplant and summer squash were sliced lengthwise into steaks. (Other times I've cut the squash into chunks and skewered them with onions and mushrooms.) I gave the veggies a very light coating of olive oil before grilling. While my husband attended the veggies on the grill, I made chipotle coleslaw using a very thinly sliced small cabbage, shredded carrot and chopped scallion. I made a dressing with a small amount of vegan mayo, chipotle in adobo, cider vinegar and a little sweetener, and a dash of herb salt. I don't like my coleslaw oozing dressing so I used a pretty small amount — about a tablespoon of mayo and a teaspoon of chipotle in adobo.

We bought the mushrooms already sliced because the cost was almost the same as the whole ones, and they were grill-ready. The tofu was fried tofu from a tofu shop that we were basically just heating on the grill, not cooking.

The veggies taste so amazing right off the grill, we almost never even add salt — though sometimes I remember to add a little herb salt.

In addition to what I've already mentioned, we've grilled onions, yellow potato slices and tempeh. The tempeh was blanched and marinated because my husband made it, and he was following a recipe, but I probably would have just tossed it onto the grill. I've got some super-firm Wildwood tofu in the refrigerator waiting for me to decide how to grill it. Any suggestions? After the thrill of our new toy wears off, I may opt for some fancier preparations, but for now, we're really enjoying our fast and easy grilled suppers. One thing I do want to try, though, is grilling a whole eggplant to make a traditional, smoky version of baba ghannouj. It's got to be easier than grilling it on the stovetop.

21 comments:

  1. There's just something about grilled food, isn't there? We mostly make the tinfoil dinners that I posted about recently, but Mike's also grilled corn on the cob, weiners & burgers. Mostly, though, we keep it pretty simple when it comes to the grill.

    The chipotle coleslaw sounds so perfect & delicious.

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    1. I don't know why exactly the food tastes so much better, but it does. It looks better, too, with the sexy grill marks. The slaw took about five minutes to make and was the perfect accompaniment to the grilled veggies and tofu.

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  2. I am so jealous, our summer has been so lousy we haven't had a single bbq :(

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    1. I feel for you. Our summer has been highly unusual — sunshine and pleasantly warm temperatures every day. Maybe our summers got switched somehow. :)

      If it makes you feel any better, it's gloomy out today. Tsk.

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  3. Isn't grilled food awesome? Veggies are the best, so simple and quick! and the flavor is just amazing! :-)

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    1. I knew you'd understand my excitement. See, we did finally get a grill, and it's better than I thought it would be. Easier to do, too. Now I may have to look for the book you reviewed!

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  4. wow this looks amazing! my man is a big meat eater. he promised me that when we move in together and we buy a grill that he will leave a corner just for me that he wont even cook meat on :-p

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    1. Only one corner? Veggies take up a lot of space — you should leave a corner for him. Surely he'll want to share in the wonderful grilled veggies. Maybe you could each take half, though I think you'll need most of the space. :)

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  5. Mmmmmm, looks delicious! We're still grilling off and on but it's getting cold here. there's a delicious marinated salad on the Vegetarian Times website that uses a balsamic vinegar reduction and we serve it on rice or millet.

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    1. I suppose you could put a coat on to grill ... :) Thanks for the tip about the marinated salad. I'll take a look.

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  6. It all looks good. There's something special about a grill that's never been used for meat I think. I haven't had grilled sweet potatoes! They sound really good. Hope the babbaganoush works out.

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    1. Yes, a virgin grill is a rare thing. It's much easier to clean, too.

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  7. It all looks so good! I was slow to start grilling this year, but now I'm hooked again. Like you said, it's amazing how quickly it's all done, and the grill adds so much more flavor than most other cooking methods. I love grilled tofu, and I use any of my favorite marinades like lemon rosemary, red wine marinated, or the Latin Baked from Viva Vegan.

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    1. I never knew what I was missing by not having a grill. Now I guess I just have to make up for lost time. :)

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  8. yay grilling! oh my gosh, your meal looks WONDERFUL!

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    1. Thanks! We've been enjoying our grilled veggies so much.

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  9. Well, it looks like I'm the only person without a grill now! Since we live in a townhouse with 2 small balconies and no private yard, I have no clue where we'd put it. I like yours, though, and I love seeing all the goodies you're grilling up! Keep 'em coming! I'll live vicariously through you. :-)

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    1. I waited a long time for our grill, Kristy, maybe there's a grill for you somewhere in the future.:)

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  10. Mmmmm, grilled veggies. This all looks so delicious!

    <3 Melissa
    wildflwrchild.blogspot.com

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    1. I agree! I went from no grill to grill-crazy overnight. Grilled eggplant is my favorite.

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  11. Do you ever buy "soy vay"? Its the most amazing multi purpose marinade/sauce with sesame and soy and magical yumminess- trader joes has it for like $2 less than whole foods, but ive just brushed onto stuff while its on the grill and it makes magic.
    Ttrockwood@yahoo.com

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