Grillin’ Vegan

Today is one of those days when you sit back with family and friends, watch your kids run wild through a garden sprinkler, scrunch the soft green grass beneath your bare toes, sip a cocktail (or beer, or iced tea) and of course, in true Memorial Day style, grill. I’m environmentally conscious, I am, but nothing beats the smell of a backyard grill heating up on a sunny, work-free, school-free afternoon.

Now we have never owned a grill. We lived in a string of tiny apartments with no patios, followed by a place that did have a deck but on the lower level with a deck above us. Not prime conditions for grilling. The place after that had a deck but it was situated by a highway and the second you opened the deck doors you were blasted by the sounds of traffic — almost like sticking your face out the car window while going 80 mph. Not a relaxing grilling experience. And now we’re in a house with a backyard perfect for grilling but I’ve since become a vegan and so grilling has become null and void as a cooking option, right? Wrong.

Vegans can grill like the best of ’em. Today’s post features the first dishes on this blog that I did not cook myself. My family had the fortune of being invited to the house of new friends of ours who while not vegan themselves, took it upon themselves to curate a vegan grill spread that was simply out of this world. They didn’t just cook my vegan stuff on the side. No, we all ate vegan, even down to the coconut vanilla bean ice cream for dessert. As our host put it when I asked if the bowl of ice cream I was handed was in fact the vegan kind, “Oh, we’re all having the coconut ice cream. We all have the same thing. Everyone eats together in this house!”

Needless to say, I love these people and I will be eating at their home as often as they allow.

But back to the food. Our host grilled phenomenal portabellas (seen above) marinated in olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, paprika and cinnamon. I may even be forgetting a couple of ingredients but these things were a feast for the senses. We also gorged on grilled peppers of every color, grilled zucchini and squash, grilled eggplant and grilled onions. We threw all of this onto warm tortillas with fresh guac, three kinds of salsa and fresh corn. Let me tell you folks. I may not have eaten meat for ten years but I remember the stuff. I remember what it tastes like and how it cooks. And I’m telling you, the most committed omnivore out there would not have been left craving anything more after this awesome spread.

Luckily for us, my parents are looking to get rid of their grill. Where they live it’s just too windy to enjoy a meal outside most of the time. So we are about to become first-time grill owners and I’m pretty stoked. Time to get the garden sprinkler, cocktails and veggies ready to go.

Grill on, vegans, grill on.

Happy eating!