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Grilling for the Non-Carnivore

Limiting your meat consumption doesn’t necessarily have to mean sticking to the cole slaw and potato salad at grill outs and barbeques!

Meatless grillables
Check out some of the many varieties of meatless grillables at the Co-op, from hotdogs to brats to burgers. Some are soy-based, others are wheat gluten-based, some are a mix of both. Still others are grain- and vegetable-based. A number of them are gluten-free and also vegan (of course, always double-check the ingredients if you are avoiding certain foods). The options vary from imitating the taste and consistency of meat (for example, Tofurky hotdogs) to grain and vegetable-based patties (Nature’s Bakery frozen veggie burgers, Sunshine frozen veggie burgers). What’s even better about these meatless grillables is they’re fully cooked; just place them on the grill until they’re heated through and have a nice grill marking on each side. Then you’re ready to pile on the condiments and side dishes.

Of course, many vegetables are excellent on the grill, too! Currently in season are asparagus, beets, bok choy, kohlrabi, romaine lettuce, portobello mushrooms, patty pan summer squash, and lots of greens. Make a foil pack to toss on the grill containing various chopped vegetables, and drizzle with oil, sea salt, and fresh herbs like thyme. Or grill up a few portobello mushroom slices and serve on a bun with tomatoes and fresh arugula.

Grilled salad
For something truly unique, try this recipe for grilled salad! Strawberries are in season, so here’s yet another use for them! I love the combination of the sweet strawberry, the pungent vinegar, and the smoky, grilled, crispy-yet-warm lettuce. For extra crunch (and protein), sprinkle some walnuts or pumpkin seeds on just before serving.

Grilled Salad with Strawberry Balsamic Reduction
Recipe adapted from

  • 2 hearts romaine lettuce

  • 2 Tbs. oil (olive, sunflower, etc..)

  • 1 1/2 c. sliced strawberries

  • 1 cup balsamic vinegar

  • 1/4 c. sugar

  • 1/2 c. crumbled goat or sheep cheese (I used Driftless Sheep Cheese from Hidden Springs Creamery Original; also available in different flavors)

Directions: Light your grill. While the grill is warming, slice the romaine hearts in half length-wise, keeping stems intact so leaves don’t separate (you can slice the tough stems off after grilling). Lightly drizzle the lettuce with the oil and set aside. Chop the strawberries. For the dressing: in a small pot, boil the vinegar, sugar and 1/2 cup of the strawberries. Once boiling, turn heat to medium and let it reduce by 1/3 so that it gets slightly thick.

To grill the lettuce, using tongs, place the lettuce on the hot spots of the grill so that it gets warmed and slightly charred. This only takes a couple minutes on each side. There’s a fine line between warm and charred, and limpy lettuce. Don’t cross the line into soggy salad territory!

To serve, place whole hearts of lettuce on a platter, drizzle with the dressing, the remaining strawberries and the cheese. Serves 2 as a main dish, or 4 as a side salad.

With all these options, you won’t have to stick to the periphery of the spread! Cheers to a great season of grillin’!

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