While peak-season vegetables don’t need much more than some salt, oil and a sliver of space over an open flame, they’re positively ignited by a little extra attention. These vegetarian recipes range from minimum effort to medium. Most operate as sides or entrees, depending on what you pair them with, but all deliver hugely flavorful results— and are a thrill to grill on Independence Day.
Cloaked in a chile-spiked peanut sauce and salty-sweet kecap manis, these caramelized pineapple, tofu and vegetable skewers from Lara Lee are fresh and fruity, but also bold, complex and hearty. They stand alone, with great success, but can support a full spread, with steamed rice or rice noodles, lettuce wraps and any number of fruit or vegetable sides.
This five-star recipe from Sue Li balances grilled corn, scallions and jalapeño with a creamy buttermilk-feta dressing that is just tangy enough to temper the heat, richness and sweetness of its surrounding ingredients. (Do opt for a vegetarian feta, as your diet may dictate.) The results are fresh, crunchy and unforgettable.
The key to infusing tofu is to marinate it. Kay Chun brilliantly expedites that process in this recipe, employing a hot soy marinade with garlic and ginger that permeates faster than lukewarm versions. Once grilled, the tofu can be enjoyed warm or at room temperature, equally delicious with any number of grilled vegetables, atop rice or tucked into sandwiches.
Jocelyn Ramirez doubles up on flavor in these hearty skewers: First, she marinates king oyster mushrooms in a salty-sweet guajillo chile paste, then grills them until charred. Complex and colorful, the results can be served as a side, but they command attention at the center of the plate.
Melissa Clark suggests a range of grilled vegetable options for this breezy platter, but encourages you to embrace your favorites. Don’t sweat your selection: Any summer vegetables will shine when doused in agrodolce sauce and smashed on crostini with burrata.
Because of their concave shape, portobello mushrooms tend to cooperate only partly when cooked over flames, obtaining grill marks on one side but steaming on the other. Slicing them into slabs, skewering them and seasoning them with a paprika rub requires a little effort but offers a big payoff: They absorb more flavors of the fire, and their flavor concentrates even further as it cooks.
Your peak-summer squash can become bitter and limp if neglected on a hot grill. But not these. Steven Raichlen learned to thread squash strips on skewers, then grill them to crisp and char their delicate surfaces. Singe them quickly while basting with barbecue butter, and they sing.
Pairing salty, chewy halloumi with juicy tomatoes and spices, this smoky recipe from Ali Slagle embraces the ethos of breezy, warm-weather grilling: It’s easy, it’s delicious and it fits with any food. Serve this dish with grilled bread, grilled vegetables, grilled anything, and it hits just right.
Recipe: Spiced Grilled Halloumi
Seasoned simply with tamari, balsamic and olive oil, broccoli takes on sweetness and saltiness when tenderized over hot grates in this vegan recipe from the restaurateur Joe Carroll via Sam Sifton. It’s edible proof that throwing vegetables on the grill can yield deep flavor with minimal effort.
Recipe: Grilled Broccoli
This recipe from Jocelyn Ramirez is a worthy cookout addition that can be finished on the stovetop, while tortillas — or more vegetables — get their time over the grill. Once cooked, cactus paddles are sliced and bathed in a tomato-and-guajillo chile sauce, topped with pepitas and cilantro, and tucked into grilled tortillas for a satisfying vegan meal.
Recipe: Grilled Nopales en Chile Rojo
With a garlic-and-oregano dressing so simple it can be pulled from your pantry and cobbled together in no time, this recipe from Melissa Clark is as easy as grilled vegetable recipes come. It’s intended for zucchini and eggplant but would be equally delicious applied to asparagus, corn, parboiled baby potatoes or nearly any other vegetable you can get your hands on this time of year.
Versatile enough to cater to nearly every mood or diet, pizza is great for grilling, and J. Kenji López-Alt has outlined the best way to do it. Make sure you stretch the dough thinly, but thick enough to hold a modest amount of toppings. And remember that a grilled pizza is heated from below, so you’ll want to sprinkle your cheese directly onto the hot crust, rather than on top of the tomato sauce, to ensure it melts properly. Practice first with smaller pies before getting overly ambitious — which is a good excuse to set up a D.I.Y. personal pizza bar.
Recipe: Grilled Pizza
“Tahini dressing makes a bright, garlicky, lemony accompaniment” to this breezy summer supper from David Tanis. Keep your coals medium-hot to achieve the just-flicked-by-the-flames char that results in vegetables at their crisp-tender best.
While many grilled corn recipes call for blanching beforehand, Melissa Clark sets shucked cobs directly on the grill until charred and tender in her take on Mexican street corn. Slather them with chile-lime mayo, top with a vegetarian shredded cheese, if desired (like Parmesan, Cotija is typically prepared with rennet, so does not qualify as vegetarian), and sprinkle with a flurry of cilantro. A squeeze of lime cuts the richness.
Ali Slagle applies the Buffalo wing treatment to grilled mushrooms in this recipe, which yields one big, smoky pile. Grill the mushrooms until crisp, heightening their complexity. Then, toss them with butter and hot sauce until glossy, and top with blue cheese and parsley for your new favorite snack.
Recipe: Buffalo Grilled Mushrooms
Ali Slagle maximizes flavor with this versatile recipe: Throw your veggies on the grill, then douse them in a mustardy vinaigrette, where they’ll pick up punchy notes in a matter of minutes. Prepare a big batch, so you can enjoy some right away, and squirrel away more for salads, sandwiches, frittatas and other low-effort summer suppers.
Recipe: Marinated Grilled Vegetables
Too much time on the grill can turn asparagus woody — but this five-star recipe from Yotam Ottolenghi via Sam Sifton prompts readers to blanch the asparagus before grilling, for tender, delicately charred results. A zesty caper dressing and creamy goat cheese take this dish over the top.