A Vegetarian Walks Into a Bar(becue)


Sounds like a joke, right? How could the mere word “vegetarian” be put anywhere near a barbecue, unless, of course, you’re trying to write some sort of pun (or really offend a vegetarian…not to give you any ideas!).


However, as I’m sure most of my veg-friends can relate, summer BBQs are pretty hard to escape, as we’re all inevitably bound to encounter them. My family goes upstate during the summer, and I could practically smell burning meat as I drive up the mountains (yuck). Being the only vegetarian in my family, I am usually put in a situation where I have to tolerate everyone around me eating different animal parts – and actually enjoying them! Apologies for that graphic description, but those are my thoughts as I stare down at my plate of tofu and veggies for a solid twenty minutes until all the hamburgers are (finally!) gone.

Okay, I know I know. I shouldn’t yuck anyone else’s yum. Oops. Sorry guys. Everyone is entitled to their own tastes and preferences, and in this situation, that certainly holds true. As most of you reading this likely aren’t vegetarian, I think it’s important for me to say loud and clear that I do not judge other people for eating meat. In fact, I don’t judge people for anything they eat, and I will never EVER offer any nutritional comments unless I am specifically asked for my input (no one likes a calorie-counting nutrition police). So please, go enjoy that grilled chicken. And while we’re at it, I hope you enjoy that donut too.

In short (and I mean, in miniscule) my vegetarianism simply stems from a taste preference; I do not enjoy the taste or texture of meat, so I choose not to consume it. There are other factors for my non-existent relationship with meat too, but I will leave it at that because otherwise this post will become way too long and you’ll likely be nauseous by the end (can’t you see how hard I’m trying to keep my followers?!). Perhaps I’ll save that saga for another time, after BBQ season ends 😉
Yesterday we hosted a family BBQ in our bungalow upstate. Due to the insanely large amount of meat being prepared in the kitchen, I decided that the vegetarian game had to be even more on-point than usual, as I’d need even more veg-friendly food to help me cope while everyone else ate the meat. My dad grilled a healthy (pun intended) amount of veggies (including romaine lettuce – which is underratedly delicious on the grill!), as well as some tofu that I marinated. I must say, I was pretty pleased with my colorful plate. Check it out:

A Vegetarian Walks Into a Bar(becue)
Grilled tofu with grilled romaine lettuce, mushrooms, zucchini, peppers and pickles. See below for the recipes!

And dessert was the best part of the meal! My mom sliced pineapple, and we threw it right on the grill. The result: warm, sweet, grilled deliciousness that tasted better than candy (at least according to this dietetics major 🙂 ).

Grilled Pineapple

Here are the recipes from this veg-friendly BBQ! Whether you’re vegetarian or not, these are healthy favorites that everyone is bound to enjoy. And that is not an empty claim – I say that sincerely since even my dad – who has yet to fully accept my vegetarianism (despite its eight years in the making, FYI) – devoured this tofu. And the lettuce. And every other veg-approved dish at this BBQ. Check and check.

Special thanks to my dad, Leib Gershkovich, for allowing me to be annoying and photograph the grilling process for this blogpost and for gracefully putting up with my insistence that the meat and veggies do not touch. He is (slowly but surely) beginning to accept that his daughter is a vegetarian.
Look how happy he is grilling that tofu!

Sweet and Savory Tofu Recipe

-1 block extra firm tofu, pressed and cut into 1/4 inch slices
-2 tablespoons sesame oil
-3 tablespoons coconut aminos
-1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
-1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
-1/8 teaspoon thyme
-1/8 teaspoon sea salt

Wrap the tofu in two paper towels and press for at least twenty minutes (read how to do that here).

While the tofu is pressing, prepare the marinade: In a small bowl, mix the wet ingredients together, then whisk in the garlic powder, thyme and sea salt. After the tofu has been pressed, slice it into 1/4 inch slices and place in a tin. Pour the marinade over the tofu and allow it to sit in the tin for at least a half hour (don’t rush this – if you do, the tofu can come out flavorless and dry). Flip tofu over after fifteen minutes to allow the marinade to soak evenly. Place the tofu on the grill and allow to cook until desired doneness is reached (warning – tofu cooks much faster than meat, so watch it carefully!).

*Helpful winter note– This tofu can also be made in an oven. After marinating the tofu, bake at 350 F for about 30-35 minutes, flipping over after 15 minutes.

Enjoy grilled tofu with vegetables and (unlike me in this picture…) a whole wheat bun.

Vegetables on the Grill

The grilled vegetables (mushrooms, peppers, onions and zucchini) featured in this blogpost were prepared using nothing more than a drizzle of either avocado or olive oil, sea salt, and pepper – simple and easy.

Hey, if this is how a vegetarian enters a BBQ, I may be more open to the idea 🙂

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3 thoughts on “A Vegetarian Walks Into a Bar(becue)”

  • While I’m not a veggie, I’m trying to incorporate far more veggie meals and days into my life. I think it does wonders and I really enjoy it. And I love your ideas for accommodating a veggie at a BBQ- I’d want to eat all of the above! Particularly the veggies on the grill. I genuinely believe when veggies are cooked in such fun ways like on the grill, it can be the best part of a meal. Lame? Probably haha!

    • Thanks so much! I’m so glad you enjoyed this post.
      And hahaha totally agreed on veggies being the best part of the meal! Truth is, I think vegetables are my favorite food (I can’t pick one, that’s way too hard), but sometimes I feel weird admitting that too (why don’t we just write DIETETICS MAJOR across my face? lol). But veggies certainly are delicious and even better on the grill!

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