Monday, May 28, 2012

Meatless Monday: Holiday Cookouts

On the unofficial (or is it the official?) kick off of summer, cookouts are a tradition enjoyed by many. There will be many opportunities for sharing summer staples with friends and family in the months to come, and those who choose to reduce or avoid meat in their diets can feel left out when meat plays a starring role in the summer cookout.

While there is plenty of non-traditional fare to enjoy (check out my Grilled Tofu & Veggie Kabobs!), and many standard side dishes are vegetarian, sometimes even the strictest of vegetarians longs for a juicy burger, the versatility of a grilled chicken breast, or even the nostalgia of a hot dog. In the nearly 8 years since I gave up meat for good, I've tried just about every meat substitute you can think of, and am sharing my favorites with you here today.

Gardein Veggie Burger, Baked Beans, and Tortellini Pasta Salad
Burgers: While they can be challenging to grill, my number one choice for a vegetarian burger is the Walnut Burger from The Trempeleau hotel. If you're local, they're easy to find in grocery stores, but if they aren't available near you, you can try your hand at making your own using a recipe like this Cheesy Walnut Burger option. Since my beloved Walnut Burgers aren't readily available for everyone, and since they're decidedly un-vegan, I also love the Ultimate Beefless Burgers from Gardein. They are surprisingly juicy for a veggie burger, cook up beautifully on the grill (just brush both sides with oil or spray with cooking spray prior to grilling), and have a texture, flavor, and aroma so convincing that my husband had to double check the packaging to make sure it really was meatless! If these are not available near you, Boca Burgers   are an excellent option that is also easy to grill, though they tend to get dry and require a bit of dressing up with plenty of fixins to get a more authentic burger experience.

Chicken: Hands down, the only mock chicken products I can recommend for the grill are Naked Chick'n Cutlets from Quorn. The flavor and texture cannot be beat, and if you're careful not to overcook them, they are juicy and delicious. These cutlets are as  versatile as boneless skinless chicken breasts and can be dressed up any number of ways. Eat them on their own, on a sandwich, or cut up into salads or pasta dishes. Yum!

Hot dogs: I'll be honest. I haven't yet found a vegetarian hot dog that I could take more than a bite of two of. I can, however, recommend any of the Gourmet Sausages from Tofurky. The Sweet Italian with Tomato and Basil is my personal favorite, while my husband favors the Kielbasa. As with most other mock meats, you need to be careful not to overcook them or they'll dry out, but alone or on a bun with your favorite toppings, these are a summer favorite around here!

What are your favorite mock meats for the grill?



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1 comment:

  1. I like the idea for meatless day of the week. I would make it on Tuesday thought :)

    ReplyDelete

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