Ribs and burgers may be the most iconic dishes for a backyard cookout, but the real star of any outdoor gathering is spring and summer produce. Vegetables become sweet and tender when cooked on the grill; combine them with pasta or grains, and you have a simple, gorgeous main course. Also, you may be surprised to find that some favorite barbecue sides are naturally meatless! Pick and choose from the recipes listed for each course below to create your ultimate vegetarian cookout.
Grilled vegetables, dips and finger foods — these snacky dishes are the perfect way to kick off a party outside.
|Grilled Vegetable Antipasto with Red Onion Vinaigrette
This next-level antipasti platter features vegetables charred on the grill, then dressed with good extra-virgin olive oil and a sprinkling of sea salt.
|Fennel with Romesco Sauce
Fennel’s intense licorice flavor mellows as it grills. Here, the vegetable makes a creative dipper for a smoky Spanish pepper sauce.
|Grilled Nachos with Black Beans
You don’t need meat to make a hearty dish! These stacks of tortilla chips are topped with black beans, cheese and salsa to create the ultimate party dish.
Here’s a picnic and barbecue classic that never goes out of style. Our version is sprinkled with a medley of fresh herbs and lemon zest for extra brightness.
|Artichokes with Meyer Lemon Aioli
Baby artichokes are gems of spring and summer — this is a beautiful way to showcase them.
|Cheddar and Corn Jalapeño Poppers
Filled with cheddar cheese, corn kernels and other savory ingredients, our fire-roasted peppers are the perfect appetizer for outdoor gatherings.
A fresh salad is welcome at any barbecue or cookout, whether the menu is vegetarian or not. Here are some of our favorites.
Grilling the vegetables for a cold gazpacho adds an unexpected depth of flavor. Serve the summer soup in glasses over ice for a festive touch.
|Peach, Arugula & Goat Cheese Salad
This salad stars ripe peaches in season, which caramelize on the grill. Reduced balsamic vinegar makes a delicious condiment for grilled fruit and salads.
|Cherry Tomato, Green Bean and Wax Bean Salad with Herbed Bread Crumbs
You can use any kind of snap bean in this salad, but it looks especially pretty made with a mix of dark green and pale yellow ones. Cherry tomatoes add sweetness, while bread crumbs lend a bit of crunch.
|Watermelon Radish Salad with Avocado Vinaigrette
Here, colorful radishes are thinly sliced, then tossed with romaine lettuce, cilantro and an avocado vinaigrette to create a refreshing salad.
|Grilled Summer Vegetable Salad
Topped with crumbled goat cheese, this medley of summer vegetables makes a delicious salad — it’s even hearty enough for a main course.
|Sonoma Succotash Salad
Combining grilled sweet corn with fresh beans makes a succotash far beyond what we remember from the grade school cafeteria. Serve in lettuce cups for a creative presentation.
Here’s where the comfort food comes in! Potato salad, beans and slaw are classics for a reason.
|Grilled Fingerling Potatoes
This twist on the usual potato salad has a smoky flavor from the grill and plenty of fresh herbs. Fingerling potatoes are extra tender and creamy.
|Mexican Street Corn
This simple dish, sold by street vendors in Mexico, tastes amazing–grilled ears of sweet corn spread with cayenne-spiked mayo and rolled in cotija cheese. And it’s easy to prepare at home.
Our version of this all-American favorite is dressed with homemade mayonnaise seasoned with paprika and two kinds of mustard. It’s great for any outdoor get-together.
Smoke adds a distinctly campfire taste to this frontier classic. You can throw in leftover smoked pork, ribs or brisket if you like, but a meatless dish is just as delicious.
Ratatouille, the famed French vegetable ragout, is traditionally simmered on top of the stove. Here, the vegetables are grilled, which intensifies the flavor of each and brings them all together in a deliciously smoky finish.
A barbecue isn’t a barbecue without coleslaw! This one offers rich and tangy flavor with a homemade buttermilk dressing, enlivened with fresh herbs and raisins.
Cooked grains, pasta and pizza dough can turn vegetables into a main dish in no time — here’s some inspiration.
|Eggplant, Zucchini and Squash Kabobs
Mix and match pieces of summer squash, eggplant and red onion on bamboo skewers to create colorful seasonal kabobs. Serve over rice or other grains to create a satisfying meatless main.
This salad of rice-shaped pasta is perfect for summer entertaining. It is large enough to feed a hungry crowd and is even more delicious the next day when the flavors have blended together.
|Individual Grilled Pizzas
When cooked on an outdoor grill, pizza emerges with a wonderfully smoky flavor, reminiscent of pizza baked in a wood-burning oven. This version is topped with fresh tomatoes, olives and peppery arugula.
|Portobello Mushroom and Goat Cheese Sandwiches
The meaty texture of portobello mushrooms combined with creamy goat cheese, sun-dried tomatoes and fresh basil makes a substantial sandwich. The sandwiches can be served warm or chilled.
|Pasta with Grilled Vegetables and Herbs
This meatless pasta dish shows that if you start with fresh ingredients, it takes very little work to make a stellar meal. Olives and feta cheese add richness and walnuts add crunch.
|Tangy Summer Vegetable Salad with Bulgur
Bell peppers, eggplant and zucchini are all at their best in summer. Here they are simply grilled, then tossed with a vibrant mustard vinaigrette with blue cheese, walnuts, chickpeas and nutty bulgur.
|Grilled Pizza Margherita
This simple Italian dish shines when prepared on the grill, giving the toppings a nice, smoky flavor. You only need a few high-quality ingredients to make a memorable meal.