The Best Things to Grill This Summer If You Don’t Eat Meat

Philly nutritionists and wellness pros share their fave meat-free items to throw on the grill.

grilled veggie recipes

These grilled veggie recipes will make you forget all about burgers and hot dogs. Photograph by Kelly Bakes.

Just because you don’t like eating meat, doesn’t mean you have to miss out this grilling season. We asked our favorite Philly nutritionists and health experts for their go-to plant-based items to toss on the BBQ, and we were not disappointed. Here are their six nutritiously delicious grilling recipes, sans meat, that are going to blow your mind.

Grilled Grapefruit

This grilled grapefruit recipe from dietitian Julie Lichtman is a perfectly light dessert option — ideal in the summer heat!

“One thing that I LOVE to grill is grapefruits. I cut a grapefruit in half and grill it on the flesh side for one to two minutes until it caramelizes. Then I top it with plain greek yogurt and a mint leave. It’s such a refreshing, low calorie dessert ….especially after enjoying a hot dog (or two)! ” says Lichtman.

2 Whole Grapefruits, halved
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup plain or vanilla Greek yogurt
8 fresh mint leaves

Brush halved grapefruit flesh with olive oil. Heat on the grill for 1-2 minutes. Top grapefruits with a dollop of yogurt and fresh-cut mint leaves. Enjoy hot or chilled. Recipe yields four serving.

Jalapeno Black Bean Burgers

Who needs meat? Black bean burgers are a fave of OnPoint Nutrition dietitian Gal Cohen.

“These spicy plant-based burgers are full of protein and go so well on top of a salad or on a bun with all your favorite toppings,” says Cohen. “The black beans take the spotlight in this traditional meat-based recipe, packed with a healthy does of fiber, B-Vitamins and potassium.”

1 can of black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 white onion
Grated 1/2 cup oat flour (3/4 cup oats ground into flour)
Handful of spinach
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 1/2 tablespoon cajun spice
1 small jalapeno, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

Mash the black beans with a fork. Mix everything together in a large bowl until well combined. Form into burgers (makes 4 regular sized). Grill until brown on both sides. Can be stored in freezer for up to six months.

Grilled Peaches

OnPoint Nutrition founder Britney Kennedy loves to grill up some juicy peaches for a tasty side dish or dessert.

“Peach season is one of our favorites here in the Northeast,” says Kennedy. “Peaches are packed with soluble fiber, potassium, and vitamins A and C.”

Toppings (such as Greek yogurt, hemp seeds, nuts, nut butters, or cinnamon)

Turn grill on medium high heat. Cut peaches in half and remove pit. Brush with honey. When grill is hot, place flesh side down, leave for four minutes. After four minutes, check tenderness of peach. If it has softened, it is ready to eat! Place in bowl with desired toppings and enjoy!

Grilled Veggies

Wayne Nutrition LLC’s Kelly Bakes is a big fan of grilled veggies. Mushrooms, bell peppers, and zucchini are just a few of our veggie friends that taste great tossed on the grill.

“I am OBSESSED with grilled mushrooms, but also grill up almost every veggie imaginable!”

Button or baby portobello mushrooms, or any other veggie of your choice
Olive oil
Balsamic vinegar

Method 1: Take button or baby portobello mushrooms and toss in a bag with a little olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and salt. Then place on skewers. Put on hot grill (medium heat) rotating until mushrooms are browned and look cooked (about five minutes each side)
Method 2: Take large portobello mushrooms and drizzle with a little oil and balsamic vinegar, and dash of salt. Put directly on a medium heat grill and cook until browned — about 10 minutes per side. The same cooking method works with eggplant (slice into 1/2-inch slices, drizzle with the ingredients mentioned above, place on hot grill, then flip after about eight minutes after grill marks appear). For other veggies, slice up the veggies of your choice — like bell peppers, asparagus, zucchini, onions, or broccoli — toss in oil, vinegar, and salt. Place on a grill pan, stirring occasionally until they are all cooked and slightly charred.

Grilled Romaine

Yes, you can totally grill a salad. And yes, you totally should. Nyree Dardarian, registered dietitian with Drexel University’s Department of Nutrition Sciences, loves heating up her salads.

“I like salad, but sometimes, I feel like eating something warm, with a deeper savory flavor,” says Dardarian. This is my go-to when I am craving healthy, without the frigid bite of a conventional salad. Grilled Romaine. It is so easy.”

Romaine lettuce
Flaxseed or Canola oil
Himalayan sea salt
Pinch of Cayenne

Purchase a lovely head of romaine lettuce and cut in half. Heat the grill. Make sure the grill is clean, and that the grates are brushed with flaxseed oil (can substitute with canola oil). Brush the romaine with a bit of oil, sprinkle with pink Himalayan sea salt, and a pinch of cayenne pepper. Once charred, remove from the grill, and add a squeeze of fresh lemon, and fresh shaved parmesan. Add grilled shrimp, scallops, or lobster for some protein and a summer feel. Dardarian also likes to add grilled apricots.

Jerk Mushroom Skewers

Spicy mushrooms on a stick? Hell yeah. This recipe from Adjua Fisher of REAP Wellness is a total winner.

“This recipe is the best of both worlds: You get tons of flavor with very little effort,” says Fisher. “And while there are a good amount of ingredients in the marinade, chances are you have half of them in your pantry already. We like to serve this with a simple limey, herb-filled rice or a rich coconut rice for a super easy weeknight dinner that doesn’t heat up the house.”

8 trumpet mushrooms
Zest of 2 limes
1 bunch scallion, roots and tops trimmed
3 tablespoon thyme
2 tablespoon fresh ginger, microplaned
6 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon allspice
2 tablespoon maple syrup
2 tablespoon tamari
1 habanero pepper
1/2 cup pineapple

Put all ingredients except for pineapple in a food processor and blend. Once blended, add pineapple and continue blending until smooth. Place trumpet mushrooms, split lengthwise and scored on the cut side, into a bowl and pour enough marinade to cover. Let sit for two hours. Reserve the rest of the marinade and keep covered in the fridge for another grilling session later in the week. Skewer the mushrooms lengthwise and grill on center of the grill to char, about three minutes. Turn over and move to the outer edge of grill to finish cooking at lower temp, about five minutes. Makes four skewers.