Memorial Day—a day to remember the people who died while serving our country’s armed forces—has also become the unofficial start to summer. And nothing says Memorial Day like a cookout at the beach or by the pool. Unfortunately classic BBQ menus leave much to be desired if you lead a plant-based lifestyle, so here are some vegan dishes that you can bring to a cookout that will not only delight your friends but inspire them to have more plant-based offerings at their next summer soiree.
Marinated Tofu and Pineapple Kabobs
(yields 6 to 7 kabobs)
1 pound extra-firm tofu, pressed and cut into 18 to 21 1-inch cubes
1 pineapple, cut into 1-inch cubes
(enough for three pieces for each
1 large red pepper
1 large red onion
6 to 7 bamboo skewers (soak bamboo skewers in water for 30 minutes before using to prevent burning)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 small-medium shallot,chopped fine
1 clove garlic, minced
Grated zest from l lemon
1 lemon, juiced
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/3 teaspoon dried thyme
¼ cup vegetable broth
Sea salt and freshly ground
The added grilled pineapple makes this recipe especially delicious.
Soaking bamboo skewers for 30 minutes prevents burning.
Pressing Tofu: Tofu is pressed to extract water, create a firmer texture, and allow more absorption of marinade. Stand the block of tofu on its edge and slice horizontally into 2 equal slabs.
To press, place a clean towel on a baking sheet or cutting board.
Place tofu sheets on the towel; cover with another towel. Gently press down on the towel to remove water. Remove damp towel and place two layers of fresh towels on top of tofu. Carefully place a bowl or other weight on top of the towels to press down on tofu. Let sit for
at least 15 minutes.
In a baking pan, mix marinade ingredients. Place tofu cubes in the pan and coat all side with marinade. Cover and refrigerate several hours or overnight. Cut pepper and onion into 1-inch chunks, and steam vegetables for 1 to 2 minutes until just tender. A microwave
works well for steaming.
Remove tofu from marinade, and thread 3 tofu chunks onto each skewer, alternating with pineapple chunks and vegetables.To cook, place skewers on a flat grill sprayed with non-stick cooking oil. Brush lightly with oil and grill over medium heat for about 10 minutes, turning every couple of minutes to brown and cook on all sides. Leave kabobs on bamboo skewers and serve on a plate with cooked Jasmine rice.
Cauliflower Steak With Quinoa
Thanks to Chef Dan Barber whose recipe appears in Great Chefs Cook Vegan by Linda Long. This creative and delicious recipe brings together flavorful cauliflower and nutty quinoa. The fresh herbs and apple make this dish sensational.
2 large heads cauliflower, cut into
Olive oil for coating and sautéing
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup quinoa
1 ½ cups vegetable stock, divided
2 shallots, sliced
1 leek, rinsed and sliced (white part only)
1 small apple, peeled and diced
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
½ cup zucchini (courgettes) in
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh
1 tablespoon finely chopped
2 cups well-washed basil leaves
1 cup grapeseed oil, chilled
At the largest part of each cauliflower head, cut two cross-sections to create two 1-inch-thick steaks. In a large saute pan coated with oil, brown the cauliflower steaks until golden brown on each side.
Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
Over medium-low heat, sweat quinoa in 1 tablespoon oil until a nutty aroma is achieved. Turn off heat and add 1 cup stock; simmer until almost dry. Cover and let stand for 15 minutes. Fluff with a fork and set aside.
Cut remaining cauliflower into small florets and blanch in salted water until tender. Drain and spread florets on a baking sheet and place in a 300 degree F oven for about 15 minutes, or until florets have dried.
In a saute pan, gently sweat the shallots, leek, apple, and garlic. Add the cauliflower florets and season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat, place in food processor, and puree. (You will only need a few teaspoons for this recipe. The remaining puree can be frozen or thinned with stock for a cauliflower soup.)
In a large saute pan coated with oil, saute zucchini until slightly golden brown. Add quinoa and remaining vegetable stock. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add 2 teaspoons cauliflower puree to thicken, add thyme and chives, and drizzle with oil.
To make the Basil Oil: Blanch basil and then shock in ice water; dry leaves well. In a blender, puree basil and grapeseed oil; strain.
How to plate: Place cauliflower steak on bed of quinoa and zucchini mixture and drizzle Basil Oil around the plate.
Spicy Barbecued Tofu Triangles
This recipe was originally published in Bryant Terry’s book Grub:Ideas for an Urban Organic Kitchen (Tarcher/Penguin, 2006). This barbecue sauce is delicious, combining a bit of heat with a bit of sweet.
2 blocks extra-firm tofu
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
¾ cup tamari or soy sauce
¼ cup tomato sauce
1 large chipotle chile, canned in adobo sauce
6 tablespoons pure maple syrup
2 tablespoons ground cumin
2 tablespoons water
Pinch cayenne pepper
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.
Place each tofu block on its side and cut into thirds. Keep the layers together, cut the tofu diagonally to make six long triangles, then cut the triangles down the middle to make 12 smaller triangles. Place each triangle between paper towels and press.
Warm 3 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Fry the tofu triangles in a snug layer, until golden brown, 7 to 10 minutes on each side. Depending on size of pan, you may need to cook in more than one batch. Drain on paper towels.
In a blender, combine the vinegar, lime juice, tamari, tomato sauce, chile, 3 tablespoons olive oil, maple syrup, cumin, water, and cayenne. Puree for 30 seconds.
Place the tofu in a large baking dish and cover with the marinade.
Tightly cover the dish with foil. Bake for 1 hour, turning once halfway through.
Transfer the tofu and remaining marinade to a serving plate and serve with extra sauce to spoon on top.
Watermelon and Tomato Salad
For your next gathering, share a salad that’s completely unexpected and delicious. The sweetness of watermelon enhances the tomatoes’sweetness.
2 cups seedless watermelon, in
2 cups grape or cherry tomatoes,
1 lemon, juice and zest
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt, small pinch
Freshly ground black pepper
½ cup thinly sliced (julienned)
fresh mint leaves
Combine watermelon, tomatoes and salt in a chilled bowl.
Whisk lemon juice, zest, oil and pepper and drizzle over fruit.
Sprinkle with mint, and toss gently. Do not refrigerate; serve within
30 minutes on chilled salad plates.
Aioli Potato Salad
Serves 4 to 6
2 pounds small red-skinned potatoes
1 cup chopped scallions
1 cup finely chopped celery
1 cup (or less) vegan mayonnaise
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 ½ tablespoons pressed garlic
1 teaspoon (or less) salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Optional: 1 tablespoon fresh, chopped chives
Aioli is the garlicky mayonnaise whose name is derived from the Provencal alh—garlic. Here, it is enhanced with celery, scallions and chives, and dresses up a small harvest of potatoes.
Cook potatoes in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat, and while still warm, cut into quarters. Add scallions and celery and toss with potatoes.
Mix remaining ingredients in separate bowl, add to potato mixture and toss. Cover, and chill to allow flavors to blend.
Garnish, if desired, with fresh, chopped chives.