Can Alternative Meat take the Heat?

Grilled Seitan with Chimichurri Sauce

While most grillers are committed carnivores, it’s a fair bet that not all your friends and family are. That’s why it’s a good idea to be familiar with vegan dinner options. It will enable you to cater to a variety of preferences or those with health restrictions. Grilling veggies and even fruits is nothing new to most cooks, but what to serve for the main course? These days there are quite a few vegan protein options out there. Seitan, tempeh, tofu, veggie sausage and veggie burgers are your best bets for cooking on the grill. Here is a quick breakdown of these meat alternatives and some recipe ideas that are sure to leave everyone satisfied at your next grill out.

Seitan is a high protein food made from wheat gluten. Seitan is the most “meat like” of all the meat substitutes out there. It is ready to eat, so it requires little prep. Precooking it for a few minutes to soften it slightly before marinating is a good idea. Turn every few minutes on the grill for a total of 6 to 10 minutes, depending on what the recipe calls for.

Try these spicy Seitan Skewers
or Seitan BBQ Ribs

Tempeh is a fermented soy cake. Unlike tofu, it is a whole soybean product with which gives it more texture and health benefits. It is very firm and has an earthy flavor. Like Seitan, precooking tempeh by steaming it for ten minutes is a good idea before you season and throw it on the grill, cooking each side for around 7 minutes or as called for.

Try out these tasty options:

Basic Barbecue Tempeh
Traditional Indonesian Tempeh

And last but hardly least, tofu. Tofu is made from soy milk, and is one of the first substitutes people think of with vegetarian or vegan dishes. Like seitan and tempeh, it is ready to eat as is. It is perhaps the blandest of the three options as far as consistency and flavor goes, which means it is a great candidate for absorbing the flavors of the grill. Always use extra firm tofu, and press as much liquid out before cooking as possible (don’t be afraid to put something heavy on it and let it sit!), this allows it to absorb more of the marinade and smoke flavor.
Siriracha Tofu Bites
Grilled Sesame Tofu

Veggie Sausages and Veggie Burgers
Veggie Burgers and Sausages use a mixture of fine chopped/blended vegetables and legumes to make a flavorful patty, and are probably easiest to whip up in a pinch. Many recipes use beans, chickpeas, quinoa, and a variety of other ingredients. Veggie Burger recipes work great on the grill, just be sure to use oil and press them together firmly.
Homemade Spicy Italian Sausage
Sesame Carrot Chickpea Burger
And our own Memphis Black Bean Burger


Next time you are cooking for a vegetarian, or just want to add some delicious variety to your own cooking, try one of these tasty alternatives!