For many years, I’ve been the sole vegetarian at the barbecue. It’s a tricky position to be in. For one, it can make your hosts feel guilty or uncomfortable that they didn’t think to buy anything beyond burgers and hot dogs. It can also make you feel guilty for causing an inconvenience. And then, of course, there’s the hunger when coleslaw and corn on the cob just don’t fill you up. But all of these feelings are preventable when you have a few choice vegetarian (or even vegan!) barbecue recipes in your repertoire. Your rare-burger-loving friends might just appreciate them, too.
Read on for 13 recipes that will guarantee everyone at your cookout leaves with a smile on their face—and a full stomach, too.
The Main Course
From-the-box veggie burgers might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but Evergreen Kitchen’s homemade black bean version is a surefire crowd-pleaser. You’ll need to pull out the food processor to perfect the texture, but the effort is well worth it. Be generous with the chipotle mayo.
You could easily throw some portobello caps on the grill, but Minimalist Baker proves that a little extra prep (in the form of a smoky, garlicky balsamic marinade) goes a long way.
These sweet potato burgers by Half Baked Harvest have a delicious secret: They’re filled with a hearty sprinkle of grated Cheddar cheese. Refreshing avocado ranch (made with Greek yogurt) tops them off.
The Make-Ahead Sides
Root and Revel’s Paleo potato salad sneaks in an extra serving of vegetables with the help of cauliflower. The addition of both capers and cornichons gives this recipe a delightfully sour twist.
Corn on the cob isn’t your only option. Minimalist Baker pairs grilled corn with zucchini, crispy chickpeas, and a light dressing for a salad you’ll actually be excited to fill your plate with.
Not all potato salads need to be tangy and mayonnaise-heavy. Playful Cooking’s Indian-spiced take on the cookout staple is perfectly crispy and seasoned to perfection with cumin and coriander.
Consider swapping your usual coleslaw for Cookie and Kate’s vegan version. Mixed seeds (like pepitas) give it a satisfying crunch.
If you want to make the most of your herb garden, look to this Half Baked Harvest recipe. The potato salad is brightened with plenty of dill and basil, and that’s not even the best part—it’s completely vegan, too.
While mayo-rich macaroni salad may be a barbecue mainstay, this easy pasta salad is one even the pickiest of eaters will love. Eating Bird Food’s recipe features a homemade walnut pesto that comes together in mere minutes.
The Grilled Sides
Yes, you can simply serve your grilled corn with a generous pat of butter. But How Sweet Eats makes a very compelling case for going the extra mile with an über-flavorful compound butter. This one is made with blue cheese, basil, sweet mustard, and a few other add-ins.
Ever thrown some fruit on the grill? Now’s your chance. This simple watermelon side by Boulder Locavore can be made in under 10 minutes—don’t be surprised if guests demand another round.
Veggie skewers are a classic vegetarian-friendly barbecue dish for a reason. The Forked Spoon’s advice for skewers that turn out great every time: Not every vegetable cooks at the same pace, so be careful what you pair!
To further satisfy each and every sweet tooth, make Cook Republic’s easy pineapple skewers. They can work as a side dish, but if you want to serve as dessert, pair them with ice cream.