While peak-summer 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.
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.
Your peak-summer squash can become bitter and limp if neglected on a hot grill. But not these: Steven Raichlen learned to thread squash striations on skewers, then grill them to crisp and char the delicate surfaces. Singe them quickly while basting with barbecue butter, and they sing.
Recipe: Grilled Zucchini Ribbons
Melissa Clark suggests a range of 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.
The key to infusing tofu is to marinate it — and by soaking with a hot marinade, Kay Chun brilliantly expedites that process. The sweetened soy marinade with garlic and ginger permeates faster than lukewarm versions. Once grilled, the tofu can be enjoyed warm or at room temperature, equally delicious atop rice or tucked into sandwiches.
Ali Slagle applies the Buffalo wing treatment to grilled mushrooms in this recipe, which yields one big, smoky pile of umami. 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
Lively in texture and taste, this charred salad from Pati Jinich hits smoky, sweet and salty notes. Grill some corn, asparagus and spring onions (or scallions) until caramelized, then douse them in salsa preparada, a punchy blend of soy sauce, Worcestershire and Maggi seasoning for what Ms. Jinich calls “an easy-to-eat sauce where umami, citrus and heat converge.” This salad may disappear quickly, but its flavors linger.
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 grant deep flavor with minimal effort.
Recipe: Grilled Broccoli
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 command attention at the center of the plate.
Versatile enough to cater to nearly every mood or diet, pizza is great for grilling. Martha Rose Shulman likens her recipe to a topped flatbread, and enumerates the steps to success: Stretch the dough thinly, don’t overdo the toppings, and 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: Pizza on the Grill
“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.
This recipe from Jocelyn Ramirez requires both indoor and outdoor cooking, but 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.
Sliding okra onto skewers to form planks smartly prevents the vegetables from slipping through the grill grates, and minimizes the frequent flipping needed to ensure they cook evenly. But this okra recipe from Steven Raichlen, inspired by robatayaki, isn’t just practical: It’s also delicious, spiced with Cajun seasoning and dipped into a tangy, cooling rémoulade with horseradish and mustard.
While many grilled corn recipes call for blanching beforehand, Melissa Clark maximizes flavor by setting 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 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 and asparagus can become 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.
Likened by one reader to “an eggplant bruschetta,” this recipe from Melissa Clark calls to blister a whole eggplant on the grill, then scoop and toss the tender flesh with chopped tomatoes, capers, herbs and red wine vinaigrette. Her serving suggestion? Pair it “with pita bread, a good rosé and a hunk of feta, and want for nothing more.”
Recipe: Grilled Eggplant Salad
Inspired by the Catalonian calçotada — an outdoor barbecue celebrating local spring onions — Martha Rose Shulman steams, then grills leeks and serves them with romesco, a classic, tangy roasted red pepper sauce fortified with almonds and paprika. Though the ingredient list might not scream summer, pair this dish with some olives and vermouth on ice, and you’ll feel transported to a sunny day in Spain.
Recipe: Grilled Leeks With Romesco Sauce
According to Sam Sifton, “grilled peaches may be summer’s greatest joy.” You’ll need only to slick halved, pitted peak-season peaches with olive oil, set them over the flames until grill-marked and employ them in any number of savory or sweet applications to find out.