18 Recipes for Hosting a Vegetarian Cookout

Corn Husk-Grilled Goat Cheese with Corn Relish and Honey
Photo: Victor Protasio

A stunning grilled vegetable flatbread. Next-level halloumi burgers decked out with a citrus tapenade and lemony aïoli. A platter of smoky mushroom skewers. These dishes are just a tasty morsel of what you'll find in this collection of vegetarian cookout recipes, which can come together to form a knockout menu. For a snack, try this recipe for Corn Husk–Grilled Goat Cheese with Corn Relish and Honey, which partners beautifully with grilled crostini as well as sparkling rosé, should you be so inclined. And if you're looking for a side dish, we've got options for those, too, from pasta salad to grilled potato salad (yes grilled). Read on for all 18 recipes.

Note: Some of these recipes call for cheeses that are often made with animal rennet, but feel free to swap in a vegetarian-friendly substitute or omit altogether.

01 of 18

Grilled Vegetable Flatbread with Smoked Almond Muhammara

Grilled Vegetable Flatbread with Smoked Almond Muhammara Recipe
Photo by Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Chelsea Zimmer / Prop Styling by Claire Spollen

In addition to turning heads at your cookouts, this vegetarian masterpiece is packed with make-ahead options and smart shortcuts. Make the Smoked Almond Muhammara up to three days in advance and stash it in the fridge. If you want to skip a step, substitute two cups of jarred roasted peppers for the grilled bell peppers, plus about 1/4 cup liquid from the jar. If you're working with a small grill, cut the flatbread in half, or use lavash instead.

02 of 18

Carnitas Jackfruit Tacos

Jackfruit Carnitas Tacos
Photo by Caitlin Bensel / Food Styling by Chelsea Zimmer / Prop Styling by Lydia Pursell

For her jackfruit tacos recipe, Jocelyn Ramirez, cookbook author and chef at Todo Verde in Los Angeles, uses cumin, chile flakes, and salt to capitalize on the pulled-pork texture of jackfruit, transforming it into a plant-based taco filling that tastes like carnitas. Don't turn the jackfruit too often while it cooks; give it time to develop a golden brown crust for the best texture and flavor. Served with tart, creamy avocado salsa and lemon wedges, the spicy, crispy seared jackfruit tacos are a satisfying meal.

03 of 18

Smoky Mushroom Skewers with Labneh and Salsa Verde

smoky mushroom skewers with labneh and salsa verde
Photo by Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Chelsea Zimmer / Prop Styling by Audrey Davis

Thick-stemmed king trumpet mushrooms grill up meaty and tender, while feathery oyster mushrooms get nice and crispy. Both are great options for these quick-cooking kebabs. Piled into warm pitas with a smear of tangy labneh and a drizzle of intensely herby salsa verde, this dish is a fun, fresh way to enjoy mushrooms.

04 of 18

Grilled Okra, Corn, and Tomato Salad

Grilled Corn, Tomato and Okra Salad
Victor Protasio

This next-level summer salad turns heads with its punchy charred jalapeño–and-herb-spiked dressing and a palate-perking topping of toasted crunchy coriander and cumin seeds. It takes just 40 minutes to make.

05 of 18

Greens Pasta Salad

Greens Pasta Salad
© Con Poulos

Food & Wine's Justin Chapple dresses pasta with a tangy and creamy mix of buttermilk, Champagne vinegar, and mayo, then mixes in plenty of green ingredients — asparagus, peas, and arugula — to add a fresh, bright flavor. Serve it as a side dish or enjoy it as a main course.

06 of 18

Grilled Halloumi Burgers with Citrus Tapenade

Grilled Halloumi Burger with Citrus Tapenade
Photo by Jennifer Causey / Prop Styling by Julia Bayless / Food Styling by Ruth Blackburn

These vegetarian burgers feature halloumi, a tangy, salty cheese from Cyprus that holds its shape when heated, making it ideal for the grill. When grilled or sautéed, halloumi develops a charred crust that yields to soft cheese inside. Here, we cut the halloumi across the equator for the centerpiece of the burger, and season it with cumin, salt, and pepper. It's then topped with a citrusy olive tapenade with just enough crushed red pepper flakes to lend it a touch of heat. A lemony aïoli complements the citrus in the tapenade and natural tang of the halloumi. The roasted red peppers round out this burger; be sure to blot them dry before using so they don't slip out of the bun when you take a bite. Try to seek out brioche buns for these burgers; their slightly sweet flavor works perfectly here.

07 of 18

Kashke Bademjan (Iranian Kashk and Eggplant Dip)

Kashke Bademjan
Photo by Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Rishon Hanners / Prop Styling by Audrey Davis

Kashk is a salty, Iranian dairy product that gives this aromatic eggplant dip its luscious texture and tart flavor. Floral saffron, fried dried mint, and more kashk dot the top, adding beautiful color. Serve this Kashke Bademjan, inspired by writer Naz Riahi's love of California-based Mission Ranch Market, with fresh vegetables and toasted flatbread for dipping.

08 of 18

Corn Husk–Grilled Goat Cheese with Corn Relish and Honey

Corn Husk-Grilled Goat Cheese with Corn Relish and Honey
Victor Protasio

"With the smoky essence of the husk infused into the hot molten cheese, a generous drizzle of honey melting in, and that charred sweet corn relish, all spooned onto a hunk of crusty bread, plus a bottle of pink bubbly (high in acid to stand up to the tartness of the dish), a patio, and a pile of friends, it's the perfect pre-dinner snack on a summer evening," says cookbook author Andrea Slonecker about this summer showstopper.

09 of 18

Grilled Eggplant with Summer Marinara

Grilled Eggplant with Summer Marinara Recipe
Chelsea Kyle

A mix of canned whole peeled tomatoes and tomato puree creates the perfect silky, but still chunky, texture in this sauce. The sauce is then layered with eggplant planks that have been grilled on a grill pan, some fresh basil, mozzarella, and Parmigiano-Reggiano, all baked together for one glorious dish.

10 of 18

Coal-Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Coal roasted sweet potatoes
Photo by Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Chelsea Zimmer and John Somerall / Prop Styling by Audrey Davis

Maximize the life cycle of a fire by cooking hardy vegetables like sweet potatoes directly in the coals. Buried in embers, sweet potatoes become meltingly tender and perfumed with smoky flavor. When they're done, brush away the ashes and any burned skin, leaving charred bits for textural and visual contrast. Crack open the skins, and the smoky flesh becomes the perfect canvas for spicy or sweet seasoned butters, a dollop of sour cream or crème fraîche, or a drizzle of maple syrup.

11 of 18

Ultimate Veggie Burgers

Ultimate Veggie Burger
Photo by Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Chelsea Zimmer / Prop Styling by Audrey Davis

These veggie burgers from F&W Food Editor Kelsey Youngman hit every satisfying, savory note with a hearty mix of pearl barley, chickpeas, mushrooms, and crispy panko. For the sturdiest patties, evenly distribute the panko by stirring the patty mixture until very well-combined.

12 of 18

Slow-Grilled Cauliflower with Tahina and Zhough

Slow Grilled Cauliflower with Tahina and Zhough
Photo by Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Chelsea Zimmer and John Somerall / Prop Styling by Audrey Davis

Maydān, Rose Previte's Washington, D.C., restaurant and wood-fired homage to Lebanon, is justly famous for its massive hearth, where this whole marinated cauliflower is cooked. While the Maydan chefs truss and hang the cauliflower heads over the fire to slowly cook them, we've adapted the recipe to slowly grill-roast them over indirect heat with an oak or hickory log at the center of the grill, alongside lit coals (which imbues the dish with smoky flavor and a rich color) before lightly charring the cauliflower over the coals to finish. Simply put, this is one of the most delicious dishes we've ever grilled at home. Serve it as a hearty main course or as a side with herbal zhough and bright tahina sauces, garnished with sumac onions and herbs.

13 of 18

Virtue Cornbread

Virtue Cornbread
Photo by Antonis Achilleos / Prop Styling by Christina Daley / Food Styling by Emily Nabors Hall

Slightly sweet and buttery, this classic Southern cornbread is a must-order at Virtue, Erick Williams' flagship restaurant in Chicago, Illinois, where he celebrates the food of the Great Migration. Eat this cornbread warm the same day you bake it.

14 of 18

Grilled Pepper and Onion Panzanella with Pepperoncini Vinaigrette

Grilled Peppers and Onion Panzanella with Peperoncini Vinaigrette
Photo by Greg DuPree / Food Styling by Chelsea Zimmer / Prop Styling by Claire Spollen

Cookbook author Molly Stevens' panzanella uses grilled sweet peppers and onions in place of tomatoes as the centerpiece of this dinner salad. The charred vegetables are tossed with cubes of grilled bread, drizzled with a pepperoncini vinaigrette, and topped with creamy feta and crisp slices of pepperoncini, which add pops of flavor and contrasting texture. This is a highly adaptable salad, so incorporate your favorite sweet or hot peppers and grilling other vegetables, such as squash and eggplant planks, alongside the peppers, if you like.

15 of 18

Vegetarian Muffulettas

Vegetarian Muffulettas Recipe
Photo by Antonis Achilleos / Food Styling by Rishon Hanners

In this meatless take on the classic New Orleans sandwich, garlic-infused roasted vegetables take the place of the traditional Italian cold cuts. You might want to make a double batch of the tangy olive relish because it's also delicious in pasta or bean salad, or served on top of grilled or roasted fish.

16 of 18

Grilled Romanesco Salad with Charred-Herb Dressing

Grilled Romanesco Salad with Charred-Herb Dressing
© Ingalls Photography

Grilling is the way to go with the fluorescent green — but mild — Romanesco (and other brassicas), as shown in this verdant salad recipe. Char adds critical flavor, boosted by parsley and basil that are also toasted on the grill.

17 of 18

Grilled Baby Potato Salad

Grilled Baby Potato Salad
© Con Poulos

This modern take on potato salad forgoes mayo for a base of Champagne vinegar and extra-virgin olive oil. Food & Wine's Justin Chapple also grills the potatoes to add a great smoky flavor before tossing them with quickly pickled red onions. But the best part is the playful salt-and-vinegar potato chip topping, which adds an irresistible crunch.

18 of 18

Grilled Asparagus Pizzas with Gremolata

Grilled Asparagus Pizzas with Gremolata
© Ingalls Photography

The heat of the grill can wilt the freshest toppings, so chef Daniele Uditi spoons something bright — a blend of fresh herbs, crushed red pepper, and garlic — over the pizza once it comes off the grate.

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