So you’ve decided to go vegan, or eat mostly vegan, so what do you do with the grill on the back porch? The grill is an iconic symbol of summertime in America and a great cooking tool when it’s hot outside and you’re trying to keep your home cool, but it is supposed to be used to cook meat. Or is it? Vegans can find the grill to be just as fun without cooking flesh at all.
For the vegan griller, there are countless options, even if you don’t eat any of the “transition foods” such as veggie burgers or vegan sausages, although the Examiner has found some worthy options. Plenty of plant-based culinary treats exist, and here a few just a few easy items to start with.
Grilled squash is a great choice and allows for an easy introduction to grilling of vegetables. Grocery stores in Metro Denver usually stock plenty of yellow summer squash and Italian squash, better known as zucchini, year round.
Both types of squash are good for the grill because they hold enough moisture and stay firm when grilled at a low to medium heat; it is better to grill for ten or twelve minutes on low-medium rather than medium heat, but grilling at medium for the same duration is desirable if you are going to dip spears of squash into thick sauces because less moisture makes the squash cuts more firm.
It is best to cut the squash in spears about three inches long and a quarter to a half inch wide. Once you’ve cooked grilled squash a few times and get to know the characteristics of the process, you can experiment with different shapes and sizes of pieces. Spears make for convenient dipping in a casual dining setting.
Eggplant is another excellent grilling vegetable whose strong flavor won’t be easily overpowered by any sauce or coating. If you enjoy a flavor grilling sauce, eggplant is a good choice because you’ll be able to taste both the vegetable and the sauce.
Create an easy dipping sauce with oil, vinegar and a few common household seasonings. The following recipe works well for squash and also for eggplant. Use it as a sauce to dip the finished grilled vegetables in, or coat the vegetables before grilling for a stronger flavor.
Ingredients for easy dipping sauce include: a half-cup of balsamic vinegar; a cup of olive oil; a teaspoon a salt; a teaspoon of pepper; a half teaspoon of garlic powder; a quarter teaspoon of onion powder; two teaspoons of dried basil.
Place the dry seasonings in a small mixing bowl and blend them together by tossing with a spoon. In another bowl, blend the oil and vinegar thoroughly and then add the dry seasonings. Stir gently and steadily for about three minutes. Finish by pouring the mix into a cruet or jar that can be closed tightly and shaken. Shake thoroughly for two more minutes.
The dipping sauce can be modified to taste. Experiment with different types of balsamic vinegar and other herbs and spices. When using the sauce to pre-coat vegetables, you will want to apply a thin coat and re-coat as you grill your vegetables.