Your Ultimate Vegan Grilling Guide
Grilling is on the schedule for at least 60 percent of Americans this holiday weekend, but if you're eating a plant-based diet, that means finding the perfect substitutes for dogs and burgers that will satisfy your tastebuds and your dietary choices. Now you can have both tasty grillable vegan patties and dogs, and enjoy the thrill of the grill with the rest of the family. Just buy double, since they're going to love the taste of your plant-based options, too.
What is Vegan Meat Made Out Of?
This year, more choices than ever abound that offer realistic meat-like proteins made from pea, soy, and other plant-based sources, so we tasted the best sellers and discovered some new ones. For those who don't love the taste of meat (even in a plant-based alternative), there are delicious, healthy veggie burgers to add to the grill this year. No matter where your food preferences fall, this guide to vegan grilling has you covered.
20+ Vegan BBQ Products Perfect for Grilling
There is nothing more quintessential for grilling than a nice juicy burger. These days, you have a sea of delicious vegan burgers that make animal meat seem antiquated. Of course, a common question is Beyond Burger or Impossible Burger? So we will get to that, but there are also many newcomer products that will satisfy your desire for a meat substitute.
1. Dr. Praeger’s Perfect Turk’y Burger
Dr. Praeger’s Turk’y Burger is a winner in both taste and health; it’s soy-free, gluten-free as well as non-GMO, packed with 20 grams of protein while sneaking in three types of veggies, although you would never know. It is also high in iron, 50 percent of your daily needs, and only 1.5 grams of saturated fat (versus some others that have higher saturated fat).
2. Trader Joe’s Protein Patties
The Trader Joe's Protein Patties will satisfy everyone in your group since they are both meaty and a touch smokey in taste. We love all things Trader Joe's and they deliver a patty that is what you would expect from a meat alternative and could fool anyone who didn't know these are plant-based.
3. Beyond Burger
Beyond Meat has reconfigured its burger formula to be "even meatier" than the previous one if that is possible. The new version is still pea-based and gluten-free, soy-free, and non-GMO.
4. Impossible Burger
Impossible Foods' burger is similar to Beyond but uses soy protein as its base (and is not non-GMO). Impossible also uses something called “heme” iron, which is what helps give it that true meat-like taste — and you will certainly be fooled when eating it as it is a scarily realistic version of a beef patty.
5. Gardein Beefless Burger
Gardein is one of our favorite plant-based protein brands because we can always rely on them to invent delicious vegan options that taste insanely close to the same thing. They're also widely available in most supermarkets across the country and priced affordably, which gives them high marks for accessibility. These thin patties do a pretty good job at mimicking meat and are slender enough that they would be a great option if you want to go big and stack two to make a vegan double cheeseburger.
6. Hilary's Black Bean Veggie Burger
If you are not into the meat-like new age burgers, Hilary's black bean veggie option gives you a robust taste but without the "faux" aspect of a meat alternative. Just be careful when grilling since these won't hold up over the flames as well as the meat-like patties.
Vegan Sausages and Hotdogs
Plant-based sausages are a growing part of the meat alternative market, which we suspect is due to the fact that they are simply delicious. Where you used to have few to choose from, now there is a full array of sausages to add to the grill. Check out Vejii or GTFO It’s Vegan, to choose some to taste test this weekend. Vejii has two-day delivery for all of its best-selling products, so you can get yours in time for the weekend.
1. Upton’s Naturals Plant-Based Updogs
Upton’s Naturals Plant-Based Updogs just might be your new favorite classic ballpark-style frank. They char up to perfection after just a few minutes on the grill. Packed with 19 grams of protein for each 160-calorie dog, your guests will be impressed by the taste and texture, and guilt-free nutritional profile, and ingredient list.
2. Sweet Earth’s Vegan Jumbo Hot Dog
Sweet Earth’s Vegan Jumbo Hot Dog is reminiscent of a classic ballpark-style frank; they are made using a pea and potato protein base and deliver an authentic hot dog experience and grill beautifully. Sweet Earth also makes Green Chile Chedd'r Sausage Plant-Based Links, with the perfect amount of kick. These links pack in 13 grams of protein with only 160 calories (less than some of the other sausage meat-substitute sausages).
3. Tofurky Plant-Based Jumbo Hot Dogs
A tried-and-true brand that always delivers delicious meatless options, these Tofurky hot dogs hit the nail on the head in terms of flavor and are large enough to satisfy as a main entree. They can also be sliced up and placed on veggie skewers for a nice boost of plant-based protein if you want to forgo the bun.
4. Lightlife Vegan Smart Dogs
Lightlife has somehow been able to mimic the texture and taste of hot dogs with these 'Smart Dogs' almost perfectly while using none of the animal products. If you're like me and love "Chicago-style" hot dogs, grab a seeded bun, a few spears of your favorite pickle spears, tomatoes, and top with mustard, ketchup, relish and onions. These are also a great option that kids will love.
5. Beyond Meat Sausages
But for the go-big hearty classic sausage, you also can’t go wrong with Beyond Meat Sausages, absolutely delicious with a hefty structure and holds up well on a grill.
6. Field Roast Sausages
If you're looking to buy plant-based sausages with a gourmet flare, Field Roast's Vegetarian Sausages cannot be beaten. The brand boasts Artisan flavors like Smoked Apple Sage, Mexican Chipotle, Italian, and Bratwurst. Top them off with Field Roast's Chao cheese line which has some of the best plant-based slices in the game (We're partial to the Tomato Cayenne flavor for a hint of spice!) If you don't want to sandwich these in a bun, they are equally as delicious sliced up and used in a pasta salad or baked into your favorite mac n' cheese recipe.
Veggie Options to Add for a Healthier Alternative
1. Portabella Mushroom Burgers
If you really want to go "au natural" there's always the option of putting a large portobello mushroom straight onto the grill and eating it as you would a burger! It's no accident that nature happened to make portabella mushrooms the perfect size to sit between two burger buns. You can season and marinate to your liking (some suggestions on spices and sauces below) and throw them on the grill.
2. Veggie Skewer and Kabobs
If you love a colorful grill and are serving veggie lovers, there is nothing more post-worthy than a skewer full of peppers, mushrooms, corn, and eggplant, or anything else you like to add. Why not just skip the meat substitutes and do a more whole-food plant-based option with a skewer full of fresh veggies. You can pack protein on as well, using extra firm tofu that will hold up to grilling, and get creative with your choices. Let the kids each load up their own and watch how much they love their vegetables (kids eat what they make themselves).
Vegan Sides and Burger Buns
1. Trader Joe’s Vegan Mac
Without a doubt, Trader Joe's Vegan Mac is the creamiest, richest dairy-free mac n' cheese we've ever had, and something about the shape of shell pasta just makes it taste better. This is one of those dishes that everyone at your party will be heaping onto their plates – not just the vegans. Buy a few containers to anticipate the high demand for this cheezy treat, and if you like a crunchy topping on your mac, just pop this into a dish and add panko breadcrumbs or crushed up potato chips to the top and broil in the oven for a few minutes until golden brown.
2. Potato Salad With Hellman’s Vegan Dressing and Spread
It wouldn't be a true cookout without potato salad, and an easy way to vegan-ize your family's recipe is to sub regular mayo for Hellmann's Vegan Dressing and Spread. In my opinion, there's absolutely no difference in the taste between this vegan version and the original, so your Great Aunt's recipe will remain true to taste. If you don't have a favorite recipe you follow, we love this Easy Vegan Potato Salad Recipe.
3. Vegan Burger Buns
And, speaking of buns, there are many to choose from, but for a healthier alternative to the highly processed and refined options, try Silver Hill Bakery Whole Grain Burger Bun, always organic and non-GMO. Or, for a gluten-free bun that holds up well try Little Northern Bakehouse Millet & Chia Buns.
Vegan Sauces and Seasonings
Sauces and seasonings are often the secrets to impressive grilling. Sauces are cropping up everywhere, and vegan ones are getting easy to find.
- Pure Grit makes one that is all plant ingredients including cider, vinegar, tomato puree, agave nectar, tomato paste, molasses, and spices.
- This Little Goat makes a line of spices that embody flavors from various cultures around the world. The “Cuba” is a perfect amalgamation of sweet and spicy, great to top on veggies or mix in with your plant-based “ground beef” for flavor.
- Wildwood’s Zesty Garlic Aioli will make you forget about egg-based mayo and turn to this as your new go-to for your burger condiment.
- Bitchin' Sauce will delight and impress. They have a wide selection of flavors that are nut-based, and function as either a dip or a spread.
- Trader Joe’s Island Soyaki makes a delicious skewer marinade that has a flawless blend of sweet and savory flavors.
- Cleveland Kitchen makes a line of fermented vegetable-based dressings that come in a variety of flavors such as Miso Jalapeno and Sweet Beet for a light and healthful multi-purpose dressing.
Keep a Meat-Free Zone on the Grill to Make Vegan Guests Happy
When you are grilling up a plant-based burger most of your vegan or plant-based guests will appreciate it if you keep them to one side of the grill to avoid getting animal fat on them. This sounds like a small detail but to someone avoiding beef, it matters. Reserve a section on the grill that is a “meat-free zone" (and let them know you did so), and grill your veggies and other plant-based items on that MFZ side.
Where to Buy These Vegan Products
- Trader Joe's
- Whole Foods
- GTFO It’s Vegan
Bottom Line: It's easy and delicious to host a vegan BBQ this summer.
There are tons of plant-based grilling products and vegans and meat-eaters will both love all of these options.