Delicious Recipes and Tips for Grilling Plant-Based Meals

As the popularity of plant-based diets continues to rise, more vegetarians and vegans are looking to enjoy the time-honoured tradition of barbecuing. Fortunately, the versatility of vegetables, fruits, and plant-based proteins makes them perfect for the grill. Here are some delicious recipes and essential tips for hosting a vegetarian or vegan barbecue that will impress all your guests, regardless of their dietary preferences.

Essential Tips for Vegetarian and Vegan Barbecuing

1. Prevent Sticking: Plant-based foods tend to stick to the grill more than meats. To prevent this, make sure your grill is clean and properly oiled before you start cooking.

2. Use Indirect Heat: Some vegetables and plant-based proteins are best cooked using indirect heat to avoid burning. Consider using a two-zone setup on your grill to manage cooking temperatures more easily.

3. Marinate for Flavour: Vegetables and vegan proteins greatly benefit from marination. Not only does it add flavour, but it also helps in caramelizing the outside nicely. Use ingredients like soy sauce, lemon juice, garlic, and herbs.

4. Invest in a Grill Basket: Small items may fall through the grill grates. A grill basket can keep your ingredients contained and make them easier to turn and serve.

5. Keep It Separate: If you're hosting mixed dietary preferences, use separate tools and areas of the grill to avoid cross-contamination with meat products.

Vegan and Vegetarian BBQ Recipes

Grilled Tofu Steaks

These hearty tofu steaks are marinated in a blend of soy sauce, maple syrup, garlic, and smoked paprika, infusing them with a rich, smoky flavor complemented by a hint of sweetness. The tofu is grilled until perfectly charred on the outside while remaining tender on the inside, making it a satisfying main dish for any plant-based barbecue.


  • 400g firm tofu, pressed and sliced into steaks
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • Juice of one lime
  • Olive oil for brushing


  1. Combine soy sauce, maple syrup, garlic, smoked paprika, and lime juice to create a marinade.
  2. Marinate the tofu steaks for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Preheat the grill and brush each steak with olive oil.
  4. Grill over medium heat for about 4-5 minutes on each side or until charred and hot through.

Zesty Grilled Veggie Skewers

This vibrant array of bell peppers, onions, mushrooms, zucchini, and cherry tomatoes makes a colourful addition to any barbecue. The vegetables are seasoned with Italian herbs and grilled until they're tender and bursting with flavour. Served with a squeeze of fresh lemon, these skewers are not only delicious but also a healthy side or main that will brighten any plate.


  • Selection of capsicums, onions, mushrooms, zucchini, and cherry tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Lemon wedges, to serve


  1. Chop vegetables into chunks and thread onto skewers.
  2. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper.
  3. Grill on medium heat, turning occasionally, until vegetables are tender and lightly charred (about 10-15 minutes).
  4. Serve with fresh lemon wedges for squeezing.

Vegan BBQ Options

Sweet and Smoky Grilled Pineapple

Grilled pineapple rings, coated in brown sugar and cinnamon, offer a sweet and smoky taste that's irresistibly delicious. The sugar caramelises on the hot grill, creating a delightful crust that contrasts beautifully with the juicy, warm pineapple inside. This simple yet decadent dessert or side dish brings a tropical flair to your barbecue, enchanting guests with its bold flavours and aroma.


  • 1 pineapple, peeled, cored and cut into rings
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon


  1. Sprinkle pineapple rings with brown sugar and cinnamon.
  2. Place on a hot grill and cook for about 2-3 minutes on each side or until you see grill marks and the fruit starts to caramelise.

Grilled Haloumi with Lemon and Herbs

Haloumi is a unique grilling cheese that retains its shape when heated, making it perfect for the barbecue. This recipe features thick slices of haloumi grilled until they have a beautifully crispy exterior and a warm, soft interior. Brushed with olive oil and sprinkled with fresh herbs and lemon zest, this dish offers a delicious blend of tangy and savoury flavours, making it an irresistible choice for cheese lovers.


  • 250g haloumi cheese, sliced into 1/2-inch thick pieces
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Zest of one lemon
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh mint
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • Lemon wedges, to serve


  1. Preheat the grill to a medium heat.
  2. Brush each slice of haloumi with olive oil and lightly grill for about 2-3 minutes on each side, until golden brown and grill marks appear.
  3. Transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle with lemon zest, mint, and parsley.
  4. Serve immediately with lemon wedges on the side.

Vegan BBQ Burgers

These hearty vegan burgers are made with a savoury mix of black beans, quinoa, and spices, giving them a substantial texture and rich flavour that even meat-lovers will enjoy. Topped with fresh lettuce, tomato, and a creamy vegan garlic aioli, these burgers are served on toasted buns for the ultimate barbecue feast.


  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Vegan buns, lettuce, tomato slices, and vegan garlic aioli, to serve


  1. In a bowl, mash the black beans until mostly smooth but with some texture remaining.
  2. Add quinoa, onion, garlic, smoked paprika, cumin, salt, pepper, and breadcrumbs. Mix until well combined.
  3. Form the mixture into burger patties.
  4. Heat olive oil on a grill over medium heat. Grill the patties for about 4-5 minutes on each side or until they are firm and have grill marks.
  5. Serve the burgers on toasted vegan buns with lettuce, tomato, and a dollop of vegan garlic aioli.

Smoky BBQ Tempeh Strips

Tempeh, made from fermented soybeans, is a versatile and protein-rich ingredient that absorbs flavours wonderfully. These smoky BBQ tempeh strips are marinated in a homemade barbecue sauce, giving them a rich, smoky flavour that's perfect for grilling. They make a fantastic alternative to meat and can be served on their own or added to salads, sandwiches, or wraps.


  • 200g tempeh, sliced into 1/4-inch thick strips
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce or tamari
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional, for heat)
  • Olive oil for grilling


  1. In a bowl, whisk together soy sauce, maple syrup, apple cider vinegar, smoked paprika, garlic powder, black pepper, and cayenne pepper to create the marinade.
  2. Place the tempeh strips in the marinade and ensure they are well coated. Allow to marinate for at least 30 minutes, or for best results, leave them in the fridge overnight.
  3. Preheat your grill to medium heat and lightly oil the grates.
  4. Remove the tempeh strips from the marinade and grill for about 2-3 minutes on each side, or until they are nicely charred and heated through.
  5. Serve the tempeh strips hot off the grill. They can be enjoyed on their own, or you can slice them up and add them to salads, wrap them in lettuce, or include them in a hearty vegan burger.

These smoky BBQ tempeh strips are not only delicious but also a healthful addition to any meal, providing a good dose of plant-based protein along with that beloved barbecue flavor.

These vegetarian and vegan barbecue recipes offer a diverse and delicious array of options for anyone looking to expand their grilling repertoire beyond traditional meats. From the hearty Grilled Tofu Steaks and the colorful Zesty Grilled Veggie Skewers to the tangy Grilled Haloumi with Lemon and Herbs and the satisfying Ultimate Vegan BBQ Burgers, each dish is designed to cater to a variety of tastes and dietary preferences.

The addition of the Sweet and Smoky Grilled Pineapple brings a delightful dessert option to the mix, while the Smoky BBQ Chickpea and Veggie Kebabs and the rich Smoky BBQ Tempeh Strips provide protein-packed choices that are sure to satisfy.

These recipes demonstrate that vegetarian and vegan barbecues can be just as exciting and flavorful as any traditional barbecue. With a focus on fresh ingredients, creative marinades, and varied textures, these dishes ensure that all guests, regardless of their dietary choices, can enjoy a wonderful meal together around the grill. Whether you're a seasoned vegan or just looking to incorporate more plant-based meals into your diet, these recipes are perfect for any outdoor gathering and are sure to impress with their bold flavors and vibrant presentations.