Heating up the grill and tossing on some burgers is a summertime tradition for many, but what's a vegetarian or someone just watching their meat intake to eat?
Tina Bergsted, a manager at the health and wellness store Everything Natural Under the Sun, 3415 Pleasant Valley Blvd., and associate Susan Kritzer had several ideas for those looking to leave the meat at the grocery store.
These Tofu Kebabs use flavored tofu and common kitchen sauces to make a nice grilled vegetarian meal.
Bergsted recommended grilling portabella mushroom caps as a burger substitute, soaking them preferably overnight stem-side up in a mixture of worcestershire sauce, using about a tablespoon per mushroom; salt, pepper and spices such as garlic or onion powder. The mushrooms can go on the grill the next day over medium heat for about four to five minutes per side, she said.
Bergsted said if someone is cooking for someone else and are unsure what to serve, they can come to the store for help.
Kritzer offered up a recipe called Hobo Stew, which can be made with a variety of vegetables including zucchini, potatoes, carrots, onions, broccoli and mushrooms.
"This is a great way to get kids to eat veggies," Kritzer said. "Ask kids to choose their veggies that hobos might have found or been given and add it to the packet. Treat it as an adventure for kids. Make it fun."
4 cups of vegetables (assortment of
zucchini, potatoes, carrots, onions, broccoli or mushrooms)?cut into small chunks
1 to 2 tablespoons of olive oil or butter
Seasonings to taste, such as salt, pepper, garlic or onion powder
Wash vegetables and drain until they are slightly dry. Toss together in a bowl with olive oil and season to taste. Place vegetables in a foil bag made from crimping three edges of a heavy aluminum foil to form a pouch and using the fourth side to fold over. Place entire pouch on medium heat over grill.
The vegetables will steam in the foil with those on the bottom carmelizing. Turn bag over once or twice during grilling (approximately 10-15 minutes each side). Be careful of the hot steam that will come from the bag when opening.
The Vegetarian Research Group is also a handy resource for recipes.
The group, which publishes the Vegetarian Journal, is a nonprofit organization based in Baltimore, Md., dedicated to public education concerning vegetarianism and the interrelated issues of health, nutrition, ecology, ethics and world hunger, according to its website.
Its website offers information including recipes, lists of vegetarian restaurants by state and guides and handouts.
The website for Everything Natural Under the Sun also offers information such as recipes and an ingredient glossary.
Vegetarian Journal senior editor Samantha Gendler gave the Mirror a couple tips and recipes for vegetarian kebabs.
She recommends soaking wooden or bamboo skewers for kebabs in water for about 30 minutes before grilling so they don't catch on fire.
She also said that, as a courtesy, to clean the grill you normally cook meat on when preparing food for those who do not eat it.
Gendler suggested the following recipes:
Grilled Fresh Fruit Kebabs with Ginger and Mint Dip
1/2 cup rum or orange juice mixed with 1 teaspoon rum extract
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
8 green apples, cored, peeled, cut into 10 pieces each
8 ripe pears, cored, peeled, cut into 10 pieces each
8 small bananas, peeled and sliced into 10 pieces each
1 medium cantaloupe or small honeydew, seeded, peeled and cut into chunks (or use a melon baller to create balls)
1 medium fresh pineapple, peeled, cored, top off, and cut into 1-inch chunks (about 2 and a 1/2 cups)
10 red seedless grapes or small fresh strawberries, washed
2 cups plain or lemon-flavored soy yogurt
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 tablespoon minced fresh mint
Prepare marinade by mixing all marinade ingredients in a plastic or glass bowl together until well combined. Place apples, pears, bananas, melon and pineapple in the marinade. Allow kebabs to marinate in the refrigerator for at least one hour.
While fruit marinates, prepare dip by mixing all dip ingredients together until well combined. Place dip in a serving bowl and refrigerate until needed.
Remove fruit from marinade and retain marinade. Preheat broiler or heat barbecue grill. Assemble kebabs by threading one type of each fruit on 10 skewers.
Place the kebabs in a shallow pan, and top with marinade. Broil or grill quickly, about 3-4 four minutes, just until the fruit gets the slightest bit soft. Remove from heat.
Thread grapes or strawberries onto each skewer. Serve by arranging kebabs on a platter, with the dipping sauce in the middle.
This recipe is for the most basic of kebabs. Prepare these in the oven, under the broiler, or on the grill.
Approximately 1 pound flavored - baked or smoked - tofu, cut into large chunks
1 cup of your favorite sauce, such as barbecue, teriyaki or Italian salad dressing
12 cherry tomatoes
12 fresh or canned pineapple cubes (approximately 1 inch)
4 skewers, at least 6 inches long
Marinate tofu in sauce for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit or preheat barbecue. Skewer tofu, alternating with tomatoes and pineapple.
Bake in a non-stick pan for 10 minutes or grill until just heated. If you would like 'juicy' kebabs, baste with sauce while cooking. Serve immediately.
Mirror Staff Writer Amanda Gabeletto is at 949-7030.