20 Plant-Based BBQ Ideas to Cook on Your Grill This Summer
It’s summer, baby! And you know what that means. It’s barbecue season! When the weather gets hot, we gather up all of our friends and family to enjoy the blue skies with a good old-fashioned BBQ. But when it comes time to gather around the grill, things turn into a bit of a meat-fest. Not exactly a vegan’s dream.
Luckily, there are tons of great plant-based alternatives that you can grill up that won’t leave you eating an entire plate of potato salad. After all, the barbeque isn’t really about the hot dogs and hamburgers; it’s about quality time spent with friends and family. So today, we are servin’ up some killer vegan and vegetarian options for your next backyard shindig. So gather up your fam and get ready for some seriously delicious plant-based eats.
Side Dishes That Slap
If you are a vegan or vegetarian, you are probably sick of eating side dishes and nothing else. Nonetheless, you can’t have a proper BBQ without some tasty sides. Don’t worry! At this cookout, you’ll get some real food too. Plus, we can’t let the side dishes just be side pieces; they’re important too.
1. Potato Salad
You can’t have a cookout without potato salad. No, seriously, it’s illegal. Plus, this is one of the easiest BBQ sides to vegan-ify. Simply take your family’s top-secret potato salad recipe and swap out the mayo for a plant-based mayo. Plant-based mayo is tangy, creamy, and surprisingly super easy to find. In fact, they carry it at most grocery stores right next to the real stuff.
2. Chickpea “Chicken” Salad
Want a tasty, protein-filled side dish? Forget chicken salad! Try out a chickpea “chicken” salad instead. Simply drain and mash a can of chickpeas and add fresh dill, salt, pepper, chopped-up pickles, red onion, and a little vegan mayo. Mix it up, and you will have a tasty and nutritious side dish that the whole fam can enjoy.
3. Fruit Skewers
Fruit salad is for grandmas—spice things up a bit with some Instagramable fruit skewers. Simply chop up your favorite fruit and then slide it onto a skewer. This one is super easy, so if you’re not a cooking expert, then this is the perfect side for you. For a spicy twist, try adding some chamoy and spices.
It’s a freakin BBQ; why not put that grill to use by making up some tasty roasted corn. If you’ve never had eloté before, then you are missing out! Simply roast up your corn on the grill, then brush on some vegan mayo, sprinkle it with some plant-based cotija cheese, and then hit it with some chili powder. This tasty treat is the perfect way to get that grill flavor up in your plant-based BBQ.
5. Baked Beans
What BBQ or Fourth of July party is complete without a side of sweet, sticky baked beans? While this classic dish can include meat, its most basic form is actually vegan right from the start—just beans and that brown sugar tomato sauce that has us all craving more. You might not be cooking these beans on the grill, but they’re an absolute must when you’re grilling, so we’ll leave it at that.
6. Grilled Potatoes
You know French fries, you know oven-roasted potatoes, and you can’t get enough of creamy mashed potatoes. But have you ever thought about tossing those potatoes on the grill? Because you absolutely should be thinking about that.
There are two schools of thought here. First, you can wrap your potato slices in aluminum foil so they get soft and tender without experiencing direct heat from the grill. Or, you can walk on the wild side of the BBQ jungle and choose sturdy Idaho potatoes, slice them into wedges, and get some glorious grill marks on those suckers.
Plant-Based Mains To Stick In A Bun
Okay, enough sides. It’s time to get to those plant-based mains we promised. It’s time to get lit (What? We’re talking about the grill)! Leave the chickens and cows alone and try grilling up some of these killer vegan alternatives.
7. Veggie Burgers And Dogs
If you are an OG vegan, then you might remember a time where veggie burgers and dogs were hard to find and not that good, but things have changed. Since the rise in popularity of plant-based diets, there are tons of tasty, grillable options available at most grocery stores. So pick your favorite, and then grill them up as usual. Plant-based alternatives are so good, you might even be able to fool some meat-eaters.
8. Mushroom Burger
If you want to take a less processed route, try grilling up some tasty portobello mushroom burgers. Simply clean out your mushrooms, pop them in your favorite marinade the night before, and then grill away on BBQ day. Top with your favorite vegan cheese, and you’ve got yourself a tasty mushroom burger.
9. Shish Kabobs
Are you a total veggie head? Then you should grill up some shish kabobs. Simply chop up the veggies you want to grill into big chunks and then slide them onto a skewer. When you’re ready to grill, brush them with a little bit of olive oil and then season them with salt and pepper before popping them onto your piping hot grill. Serve them with BBQ sauce and a slice of lemon. These tasty bobs will have you goin’ “Sheeeeeesh (kebab)!”
10. Jackfruit “Pulled Pork”
So, you’ve got all your delectable sides chilling on the grill, and you don’t have space for the main course? Never fear, the slow cooker is here!
Nab yourself a jackfruit (or a can of the stuff, if you want to make it easier on yourself) and some vegan BBQ sauce, and let your slow cooker do the rest. When it comes time to eat, toast your buns on the grill and top with avocado, sliced onion, and maybe a bit of slaw if you’re feelin’ fancy. Get jacked on jackfruit, fam.
11. Grilled Tofu Steaks
Among non vegans and vegetarians, tofu has a rep for being bland and moist (and yes, we hate that word too)—but it truly is our best kept secret.
With a little pressing, freezing, and the right seasonings, a tofu steak will be chewy and savory, and it’ll convince even the most hardcore meat eater that maybe the plants have something good in store, too. So brush on the barbecue sauce and get ready to see some glorious grill marks.
12. Cauliflower Steaks
We know what you’re thinking: cauliflower steak? How can these two words even exist next to each other? But this dish is a plant-based eater’s wonderland.
Its sturdy texture means that a fat slice of cauliflower is a solid match for the high heat of your grill, and the temps will ensure that your veg comes out juicy, caramelized, and just a little smokey. Hit it with a lemon garlic sauce, and you never knew that veggies could taste this good.
13. Grilled Eggplant
Do you want to add a pop of freshness to your barbecue? Grilled eggplant is the way to do it.
Slice your eggplant thinly and salt the heck out of it. You might be tempted to skip this step, but it’s absolutely vital to avoiding soggy eggplant—and we’re really not about that life. After an hour or two, season with garlic, olive oil, and fresh herbs, and toss the slices on the grill. You’re not ready for all the deliciousness coming your way.
14. Falafel Patties
We already touched on veggie burgers, but falafel is in a whole other country. Like, veggie burgers are hanging out in a backyard somewhere with a pool having a good time, but falafel is hanging out on a stunning white sand beach, Piña Colada in hand, with someone fanning you with a palm frond. Literally heaven.
The combination of chickpeas, spices, and fresh, bright herbs can’t be beat. And while you can choose to go the traditional method and deep fry your falafel babies, you can also yeet them on the grill for some extra flair.
15. Seitan “Ribs”
If you haven’t yet seen the TikToks about the magic of seitan (no—it’s not a trending dance), you are seriously missing out. Seitan is a protein made by washing the starch out of a flour and water mixture, leaving you with solid gluten. Sounds weird, but when we tell you that this stuff mimics the texture of meat like no one’s business, we’re being more serious than your dad defending his cargo shorts.
Form your seitan into a block, bake her, throw her on the grill, and then slice and coat with your sauce. You’ll never look back when you sample these seitan ribs.
Delicious Crispy Snackies
Is a barbeque even a barbeque without a large selection of delicious snacks? Nah, we didn’t think so. That’s why we’ve created the ultimate plant-based crispy pig-less pork rinds for your next BBQ.
Here at Outstanding Foods, we believe in two things: creating smarter, healthier, bomb.com snack foods and throwing a killer backyard barbeque. Ok, maybe we believe in our plant-based snacks more, but that doesn’t mean we don’t love to grill the house down.
16. Kansas City BBQ Flavored Outstanding Puffs
Drum roll, please. Introducing our newest puff flavor, Kansas City BBQ Flavored Outstanding Puffs! These plant-based puffs are, well, outstanding, but they are also packed with 21 grams of protein that will keep your body just as happy as your taste buds. So why waste your time with the empty calories of traditional snack food when you can eat a whole bag of Outstanding Puffs 100% guilt-free?
The BBQ flavor brings all the vibes of a backyard barbeque with its tangy, smokey, addictive flavor. Trust us. You’re gonna want to buy a couple of bags of this flavor so that your guests don’t eat all your tasty puffs. We also have four other outstanding flavors to round out your BBQ snack selection, including Pizza Partay, White Chedda, Chill Ranch, and Hella Hot. So treat your guests to the ultimate snacking experience with Outstanding Puffs.
17. Pigless Pork Rinds
If you’re trying to satisfy a stubborn meat-eater, then try serving them some Pig Out Pigless Pork Rinds. These crispy snackums are so good they might even be able to trick your carnivorous friends into thinking they are real piggy pork rinds. They have all the flavor and crisp of a pork rind without the actual oink oink. The best part is, these crispy dudes are packed with 25 grams of plant-powered protein. So you can snack on and snack strong!
No BBQ Is Complete Without Dessert
Vegans need dessert too. After all, what summer BBQ is complete without some indulgent fruity dessert? After you have devoured the rest of your plant-based grill feast, you need something to complete the meal that is both sweet and summery. Let’s dive in, shall we?
18. Fruit Popsicles
One of the easiest plant-based dessert options is fruit popsicles. There is something so nostalgic about eating a juicy popsicle on a hot summer’s day. Luckily, all you need to do to score some veg-friendly popsicles is to make sure you buy ones made with fruit juices and no cream. If you are feeling extra fancy, you can also make your own popsicles with the help of your favorite fruit juice and a handy popsicle mold. Just pour the juice into the mold and freeze!
Pro Tip: If you are wearing a fresh pair of white shorts, make sure you get some cupcake paper liners to slide up the stick at the bottom of your popsicle to prevent any drips. You don’t want drips ruining your drip.
19. Grilled Pineapple Or Peaches
Not ready to shut off the grill? Why not grill up some dessert? Chop up some pineapple or peaches and pop them on the grill to release all of their sweet juices. Pair this with some non-dairy ice cream, and you’ve got yourself a show-stopping dessert to finish off your epic BBQ.
20. Vegan S’mores
Yes, plant-based party people, we know that not all marshmallows are vegan. Neither is all chocolate, for that matter. But there are vegan versions of both out there, and do you know what that means? It’s time for s’mores, baby!
There’s nothing better than ending a fun day by toasting up a mallow over the fire—or the grill as the case may be. You can wrap up your ingredients in foil for an all-around melty vibe, or you can go the traditional route and rotiserize it over the grill.
Hot Grill Summer
See, we told you that you wouldn’t be stuck eating a plate of potato salad at your next backyard BBQ. With so many delicious plant-based options, you can serve up an entire BBQ using only plant-based foods. It will taste great and keep you energized for more summertime fun.
So, why not get rid of the non-meat vs. meat sides of the grill and make your entire BBQ a vegan affair? With the right dishes, your guests won’t miss out on the meat for a second. Besides, they will be too easy eating all of your BBQ Outstanding Puffs. Good thing you remembered to buy extra!