These 9 tips will turn up the heat on any vegan grilling experience

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Vegan grillen ©Enrique Díaz / 7cero

Grilling season is upon us! Nothing like getting outside for the May Bank Holiday, firing up the grill, and enjoying some much-needed warmer weather. Vegan grilling is more than just tofu sausages and dry bread, we promise. Here are our tips, tricks, and recipes to give vegan grilling an unforgettable kick. And, of course, if the holiday weather isn’t on our side, you can bring these ideas indoors and get going on a grill pan or stovetop.

What do vegans eat at a barbecue?

When you think of vegan food on the grill, do you think of dry tofu blocks, sandwich bread, and salad? Well, there’s so much more to it! Delicious marinades for tofu and vegetables, ready-made food for the grill, sophisticated sides, and tasty salads will make your BBQ unforgettable.

In a nutshell: By and large, when it comes to having a BBQ, folks who prefer a vegan diet can enjoy pretty much the same dishes as everyone else. The only exception is that instead of meat, they throw vegetables and plant-based alternatives on the grill.

Interested in understanding vegan diets, how healthy they are, and what to look out for? To get the facts straight, here’s three veganism myths, debunked!

9 tips for your vegan grilling

It isn’t simply about subbing out the sausage, so don’t worry that you’ll be missing out.  It’s easy to get excited by the variety, diversity, and fresh spin that veggies, tofu, tempeh, and seitan can bring to the grill. See for yourself, vegan grilling is anything but boring.

#1 Give your grilled vegetables a little zest

It’s all in the marinade. This is true not only for steak, but also for vegetables, seitan, and other options. Using different marinades brings something new and fun to the grill.

The ideal base is heat-resistant olive oil that can withstand the high temperatures of grilling. Don’t use too much salt, especially with any vegetable with a high water content. Salt draws the liquid out of them and might make them soggy as you grill.

Tip for pre-BBQ prep: cut your veggies the night before, sprinkle them with salt, and let the salt soak in for 1-2 hours. Then, rinse them and brush on the marinade. Use just enough to make sure the marinade doesn’t drip down into the grill.

If you don’t feel like making your own, you can buy ready-made versions at the supermarket, or rely on ready-made barbecue sauces. The shorter the list of ingredients and the less sugar, the better.

#2 Add something new to the mix

Zucchini and corn are probably the most popular grilled veggies. And rightly so: In summer, they are regional and seasonal, and even if you’re buying organic, you can often get them at a reasonable price.

But there are other veggies that go great on the grill: eggplant, mushrooms – which are especially tasty when stuffed, by the way! – peppers, tomatoes, fennel, artichokes, and green asparagus, as well as cauliflower. Broccoli, pumpkin, onions, (sweet) potatoes, and even avocado are all ideal vegan BBQ options.

Veg with low water content is particularly suitable for skewers. They lose less liquid when grilled and won’t overcook.

#3 Preparation is key

Do you just throw it on the grill and call it a day? Time to step it up a notch!

Familiarize yourself with the prep needed for different vegetables beforehand so you can amaze the masses on the day.

If you have a small grill, pre-cooking your solid vegetables can help. These include (sweet) potatoes, corn on the cob, carrots, or pumpkin. Softer ones such as eggplant, avocado, peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes, zucchini, and onions taste best right off the grill.

With broccoli, fennel and the like, you can decide for yourself. They are especially crunchy right off the grill and are great for serving with various dips, like hummus.

A bowl with mauve patterns painted onto it holds a scoop of hummus drizzled with olive oil and green herbs. It sits on a wooden cutting board with a handful of cucumber and celery sticks next to it.

A few tips: Eggplant gets dry without oil. Help your peppers shine: cut into strips, cook until the skin turns black, then slide the skin off before eating.

#4 Discover the variety of meat alternatives

Grilling vegan doesn’t automatically mean shelving the steak and sausage. The world of meat alternatives is vast: from ready-marinated soy steaks to tofu sausages, seitan steaks, or fermented tempeh. Even simple tofu can turn into a real treat with the right marinade. If you want to save time, go for ready-marinated tofu.

Seitan steak is the ideal alternative to its animal-based relative when it comes to plant-based grilling. Seitan, which is made from wheat protein, has a very meat-like consistency, and thanks to its neutral taste, it’s ideal for marinating. You’ll even convince the hardcore carnivores at your next summer get-together.

#5 Dare to try cheese alternatives

Tofu is a great vegan alternative to grillable cheese. Marinate it the night before the barbecue: use a heat-resistant oil and the herbs of your choice. Garlic, thyme, and rosemary with a little paprika, salt, and pepper works great.

Tip: Some supermarkets carry fermented tofu, which is very reminiscent of feta, available either plain or pre-marinated.

#6 Change things up: Put some fruit on the grill!

Grilled fruit? Yes, it’s the best! Bananas, figs, pears, watermelons, and pineapples are perfect to grill. They taste delicious and make the ideal sweet dessert. With the right spices and maybe a few roasted nuts, fruit cooked on the grill rounds out your vegan BBQ perfectly.

A black bowl holds bright, refreshing fruit salad with a spoon stuck into it

#7 Create clever combinations

The sky’s the limit when it comes to creative vegan grilling. Try wrapping different foods in parcels of baking paper or banana leaves. Tomatoes and potatoes go great with pickled tempeh.

A portobello mushroom stuffed with tofu and herbs will be nice and juicy. Sweet potato, asparagus, and wild garlic are standout vegan dishes to kick off the BBQ season.

#8 Make the side dishes colorful

Focus not only on what’s going on the grill, but also on what’s served with it: sauces, dips, bean spreads, tomatoes, salads, homemade Vegan Protein Bread, crunchy toppings, grilled and cold desserts, fun summery drinks to match, infused water, and so on. The beauty is in the details. Promise!

a hand with medium skin tone holds a sealed Mason jar of infused water. Inside the jar are a few lemon slices and mint leaves. Behind the jar, a can of foodspring's Sparkling Vinegar Water can be seen.

See the recipes

#9 Gains go vegan

Going to a barbecue after your workout and want to make sure you get your protein in? Plant-based BBQ recipes hit the spot. Tempeh, tofu, and seitan score high in protein, and the right side dishes like chickpea salad, hummus, or other legumes provide you with high-quality plant protein.

A white plate holds a bright chickpea salad with tomatoes and cubed cucumber and red onions

Vegan Recipes: Ideas for your BBQ

There are tons of vegan recipes for barbecues, and most of them are creative and easy to follow.

a beet burger overflows from a bun, drizzled with turmeric-yellow sauce

Many of our favorite vegan recipes are also great for grilling. Beetroot burgers are not only delicious, but also a visual highlight. Falafel is always a hit, too, and it’s perfect for grilling.

Incorporate the falafel balls into Middle Eastern-inspired grilled vegetable skewers with eggplant. This pairs beautifully with our recipe for vegan couscous salad.

Our tip: You can’t do without bread, of course! We recommend our delicious Vegan Protein Bread – best enjoyed warm with your freshly grilled veggie burgers and treats.

two slices of vegan protein bread rest against the baked loaf of bread

Taste our Vegan Protein Bread now

If you’re not convinced yet, test out cauliflower steaks or these tangy BBQ cauliflower wings – they’re sure to spice up the party!


  • Vegan grilling is versatile: discover new veggies, new marinades, create your own sauces, and dare to put some fruit on the grill.
  • It’s easy, too: once you’ve figured out what tastes best to you, you won’t waste a thought on whether it’s vegan or not.
  • Plus: With the decision to grill vegan recipes you are making a contribution to environmental, climate, and animal protection – even if not every BBQ party is totally vegan.

Sources for this article

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