A latter-day vegan uses her grill to create recipes with meaty depth of flavor, but no meat.

“I respect all types of food,” says Alyssa Gorelick, chef at the new vegetarian restaurant Fern in Charlotte, North Carolina. By that, she means everything from doughnut holes (hers are vegan) to beer (the kind at Fern is gluten-free). She even has a healthy respect for meat—she spent most of her career cooking it at other restaurants—which helps her create vegetarian dishes for the grill with almost-meaty flavors. For example, she cooks onions, tomatoes and peppers over fire before pureeing them to create a smoky romesco sauce. She marinates vegetables in wine and herbs before throwing them on the grill, the same way she used to prepare steak, and stuffs them into tacos. “I don’t miss out on the fun of grilling just because I don’t eat hot dogs and burgers,” she says.

Vegetarian Grilling Tip: Tacos

“I like to feel light on my feet after I eat; that’s why I became a vegan. I can eat these tofu-and-vegetable tacos and go running soon after.”

Vegetarian Grilling Tip: Macadamias

Zucchini Ribbons and Peaches with Macadamia Cream

Vegetarian Grilling: Zucchini Ribbons and Peaches with Macadamia Cream Photo © Tina Rupp.

“I use macadamia nuts two ways in this summery zucchini-and-peach salad: chopped, for crunch, and also pureed, to make a dairy-free cream.”