Throw a Vegan-friendly BBQ!

First of all, you want to clean the hell out of your grill. It’s a good idea to do this at the beginning of summer anyways. Then get plenty of aluminum foil. Sure, you won’t get the cool grill-marks, but it is vegan etiquette for everyone to cook their big, beefy burgers and tofu dogs on separate pieces of aluminum foil. Luckily, with the profusion of veggie hot dog, burger and even bratwurst substitutes, main courses aren’t much of a challenge. Just double-check to make sure the buns are vegan. There are a number of websites listing vegan products, including Remember, there are often hidden animal products in food that are not that obvious, and gelatin is everywhere, so if someone is really strict, it’s best to check.

After the grill is taken care of, the second most important component of a barbecue is the ice chest. Luckily, most beer is vegan, with the notable exception of honey beers and Guinness. But some beers and wines are filtered with isinglass, a fish product. With liquors, you want to watch out for red food coloring #4, cochineal, also known as carmine or carminic acid (trust me, you really don’t want to know). It is most notably found in Campari. If you want to double-check, here is a vegan beer and wine guide.

(Delicious vegan recipes after the jump!)

These are some of my favorite summer recipes that just happen to be vegan:


1 (16-oz) package frozen corn (preferably shoepeg), thawed
2 small zucchinis, diced
1/4 large red pepper, diced
1/2 small onion, chopped
1 (4-oz) can diced green chiles, drained
1/4 cup olive or vegetable oil
2 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1/2 Tablespoon cider vinegar
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt

Toss together corn, zucchini, red pepper, onion, and chiles in a large bowl.

Measure remaining ingredients into a jar or bottle with a lid. Shake well.

Pour liquid over salad and stir gently. Refrigerate overnight.



1 cup olive oil
1 Tbsp. each: Garlic powder, Dried basil, parsley, oregano, Herbes de Provence
Salt and pepper to taste
4 – 5 pounds mixed vegetables (Zucchini, Red bell peppers, eggplant, onion)
1/4 cup red wine or red wine vinegar

Mix olive oil and spices together, preferably the day before.

Halve smaller vegetables lengthwise. Quarter onions and bell peppers. Cut larger squashes crosswise.

When coals are ready, dip vegetables into olive oil mixture. BBQ until just soft. Arrange on a platter.

Mix remaining marinade with balsamic or wine vinegar, and pour over vegetables.


1 (12 or 16-ounce) package mini-penne or bow-tie pasta

1/4 cup pine nuts
2 cups fresh basil, firmly packed
1/3 cup fresh parsley
14 garlic cloves (yes, really. Fourteen)
1/4 cup white wine
1 slice roasted or fresh red bell pepper
Pinch sea salt
1/2 – 1 cup olive oil

2 cups sliced shiitake mushrooms
3/4 cup frozen edamame
8 sun-dried tomatoes in oil.

In a large pot of boiling water, cook pasta according to package directions. If the pasta is done before you finish making the pesto, toss with a little olive oil and set aside.

Meanwhile, toast pine nuts in a toaster oven or in a pan over the stove for 3-4 minutes, watching not to burn them.

In a blender or food processor, combine pine nuts, basil, parsley, garlic, wine, bell pepper and salt with 1/2 cup olive oil. Blend. Keep blending and adding olive oil until pesto has reached its desired consistency.

In a medium pan, saute the mushrooms in a tablespoon of olive oil until they begin to change color to a light tan, about 4 minutes.

Put the edamame in a bowl with a few tablespoons of water and microwave for 2 minutes, then drain (If you have your timing down you could just add them to the pasta a few minutes before it is done).

Slice the sun-dried tomatoes carefully into thin strips (they are slippery).

Toss everything together in a big bowl and refrigerate.



1 red onion

1 green bell pepper

1 red or yellow bell pepper

3 cloves garlic

1 (15-oz) can diced tomatoes

1 tall can kidney beans, drained

1 (15-oz) can black beans, drained

1 (15-oz) can garbanzo beans, drained

1 (15-oz) can chili beans, not drained

1 (15-oz) can corn, drained

1 envelope Schilling Chili Mix

2 Tbsp Gebhardt’s chili powder

Cayenne to taste

Optional: Add whatever you like: Lentils, zucchini, or serve over macaroni or rice

Roughly chop onion and peppers into chunks. Mince garlic. Saute vegetables in a little oil until the onions are clear.

Add vegetables to a large soup pot. Add tomatoes, beans and spices. Go easy on the cayenne. You can add it a little at a time until the heat is right for you. Stir well.

Cook over a medium heat, stirring often. Thin with tomato sauce or vegetable broth if it’s too thick. If you add lentils, you will need more liquid.

Elise Thompson

About Elise Thompson

Born and raised in the great city of Los Angeles, this food, culture and music-loving punk rock angeleno wants to turn you on to all that is funky, delicious and weird in the city. While Elise holds down the fort, her adventurous alter ego Kiki Maraschino is known to roam the country in search of catfish.
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