Once upon a time, the Fourth of July and its cousins, long summer weekends, left this vegetarian staring sadly at the sunscreen and bug spray taking up time and space beside me on the couch. What did I need them for? No one was grilling anything worth my while, so I might as well spend my holidays indoors anyway.
You know that got really old really fast, didn't it? After 14 years of being the only vegetarian at the party, I've got my own section of the grill staked out, and my own vegetarian July Fourth menu. I even make enough to share:
1. I'm hard-pressed to remember any barbecue I've ever been to that hasn't had some Pasta Salad on hand, but you won't find any chicken or bacon among my noodles. Fresh tomatoes, basil leaves, and finely chopped onions with fresh goat cheese crumbled up and tossed in olive oil work just fine. Or how about skipping the cheese and going with a balsamic vinegar and oil mixture on top?
2. Tired of putting out the same old raw veggie platter? Serve up your vegetables fresh from the grill as Veggie Stackers instead. Cut zucchini, yellow squash, red onion, and whatever other veggies you have lying around into chunks, slip on a skewer, and marinate on grilling day in a little balsamic vinegar and olive oil with some garlic, salt, and pepper. Throw on the grill until they're soft, then serve.
3. Stave off the sweet tooth with some fresh sweet corn. Throw it on the grill, or eat it as is. If it's sufficiently sweet, it tastes just as good raw.
4. And for the main course, meaty Portobello Burgers are so substantial, meat-eaters tend to be converts after they've eaten just one.
- 1 tablespoon vinegar
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- Salt and pepper (to taste)
- 4 large portobello mushrooms, remove stems
- 4 slices of your favorite cheese (an aged cheddar is perfect)
- 4 hamburger buns
- Ketchup/mustard/other preferred condiments
1. Whisk together vinegar, olive oil, and garlic, adding salt and pepper to taste.
2. Marinate mushrooms in liquid mixture for 15 minutes.
3. Drain excess liquid (done by letting the mushrooms rest on a flat surface with the cap pointing up), then place on heated grill for about 6 minutes per side.
4. Top with cheese, allowing it to melt while mushrooms are still on grill. If preferred, toast buns on open grill space. Serve them up.
Image via WordRidden/Flickr