Chef Lauren’s Top Tips for Foolproof Vegan Grilling
During this time of sheltering in place during COVID 19, I have been trying to find comfort in simple activities at home.
I am not only a mother and a professional chef, but now I am in charge of homeschooling my two daughters.
I have a new appreciation for teachers and their drive to educate my daughters. My 1st grader and I are doing 3 hours a day of classes on zoom together with her teachers finding a new normal for school. My husband is still working full time and I find when he gets home, my favorite part of the day is cooking dinner with my family.
Over the weekend, the beautiful weather inspired me to fire up our grill. My love for grilling and smoking vegan food is just as strong as my love was for meat grilling before I was vegan. The flavor of the smokey grill, the warm weather, a good playlist on help to make me to forget the craziness of the times we are in.
I wanted to share with our Planted Table family what I have been cooking and maybe inspire you to fire up the grill and make some wonderful food with our beautiful weather .
I love cooking with wood chips, it is optional but adds wonderful flavor to your food, especially when using a propane grill. Place dry wood chips into mini smoker box and once grill gets hot enough your smoke chips will start to ignite.
Pro Tip: Keep the lid closed during cooking so smoke stays contained as much as possible to the food and only lift lid while flipping food. Long tongs are helpful to keep hands protected while working with a high heat grill.
Grilling Platter Technique
Heat up grill to medium heat. While you are waiting for your grill to heat, rinse vegetables and shake to dry.
Lay vegetables on to a large sheet tray, this makes for easy clean up. Keep the vegetables large so you can easily flip onto grates. You can cut them up if needed after cooking.
My Favorite Grilling Marinade
Mix a grilling marinade of your choice. My go-to is a combination of high-quality extra virgin olive oil, Spanish-smoked paprika, freshly minced parsley, salt, pepper and garlic powder.
Grilling Rub Recipe
Stir marinade and pour over your vegetables onto the sheet tray. Rub to cover all vegetables.
Chef Tip: We have a large orange tree at our house that usually has fruit all spring and summer. I grill a few oranges by cutting in them in half and placing them cut side down onto the grill. This is a great tool while you are cooking for decreasing flames (see below).
Lay the vegetables that take the longest to grill first and keep going into the next longest to cook.
Estimated time for cooking
Baby Yukon Gold Potatoes: 12- 15 minutes
Cipollini Onions: 12 minutes
Portobello Mushrooms: 12 minutes
Baby Bell Peppers: 6-8 minutes
Asparagus: 4-6 minutes
If you have a flair up or something really sticking to the grill, I use my tongs and squeeze juice out of the citrus to add flavor and liquid to help stop burning. I also use the orange to dip into the marinade and then coat the food on the grill in place of using a brush.
All Done Grilling
Once done grilling, place all ingredients back onto your sheet tray with the marinade. The wonderful thing about vegan cooking, is even though that tray had raw food on it, it is still perfectly safe to use and you can continue building flavor with the marinade on the tray.
Cut the vegetables to the desired size and enjoy.
I love enjoying my grilled veggies with grilled tofu. First, I marinade in my favorite barbecue sauce and flip criss-cross to get grill marks.
The tofu takes about 10-12 minutes with four flips in different directions. Marinating the tofu is great but not required. The grill needs to be at medium heat, around 400 degrees, in order to get grill marks. Do not flip tofu until it moves cleanly off the grill. If the tofu is sticking, the grill marks have not been created yet.
I hope everyone can find peace and enjoyment cooking at home as much as I have!