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Grill Vegan – Not Only For Vegans And Vegetarians

If you grill vegan, you grill animal-friendly, but not necessarily healthier. Because tofu sausage and seitan steak are vegetarian or vegan, but not always a joy for the organism. On the other hand, really healthy delicacies also fit on the grill. Make something special out of your next garden party!

The vegan barbecue party

A summer without a barbecue party is like a holiday without flirting. It works without it, but it’s not half as much fun. After all, what would a warm summer evening be without the aroma of a barbecue in the air? It doesn’t always have to be just the traditional smell of grilled meat that blows in your nose.

Meat and fish can also be grilled. However, it is becoming increasingly rare to find a barbecue event for which at least one vegetarian or vegan does not register. Yes, it is often the case that there are many guests among the guests who politely eat the grilled meat that is offered, but in reality would be much happier about vegetarian and vegan grilled delicacies.

Try it! You will be surprised at how popular vegan or vegetarian grilled food is, while a lot of the meat ends up being left behind – and that’s a good thing. Because grilling meat is not always just an expression of a healthy campfire romance but is often discussed as being carcinogenic.

Are crickets carcinogenic?

Grilled meat is said to have health disadvantages, especially if you proceed in the Stone Age manner and grill meat or fish over a low-ember wood or charcoal fire. It is now easy for the meat or fish to become too dark and a substance group called HAA, which stands for heterocyclic aromatic amines, to form in it.

One of the most frequently occurring HAA is the so-called Phlp. In experiments, Phlp turned out to be the cause of several different types of cancer.

In any case, the consumption of Phlp in rats is said to have led to cancerous mutations in the spleen, prostate, and intestines within four weeks, as the American Association for Cancer Research is said to have mentioned at a conference.

So it doesn’t necessarily take a lifetime of recurring excesses of grilling to damage your health. Perhaps a summer with frequent barbecue events, where the meat was grilled improperly, is enough.

And so it was also shown in humans in a multi-center cross-sectional study from 2009 that the more red meat is eaten, the more frequently colorectal adenomas (precursor to colon cancer) can be observed – especially if the meat is pan-fried or prepared in this way that high amounts of HAA are formed.

Tofu and seitan can also contain harmful substances

However, HAA does not only develop when meat and fish are grilled but basically with all protein-rich foods if they are grilled or fried too much, so care must also be taken with soy and seitan products so that they do not become too dark. Otherwise, their HAA contamination is no lower than that of animal products.

In addition to the HAA, the so-called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) can also appear during grilling – when the fat or meat juice from the chicken, steak or fish to be grilled drips onto the hot coal and burns there. Now the PAH is formed, which rises with the smoke and passes into the food to be grilled.

Healthy grilling

The health hazards mentioned can be prevented by not grilling the food too dark and by using drip trays or grill trays that do not allow the fat to drip into the fire so that no toxic smoke is produced in the first place. In the case of gas and electric grills, on the other hand, the PAH risk only exists if the models in question are ones in which the fat could drip onto the heating coil.

Disposable grill trays are mostly made of aluminum. On the other hand, reusable grill trays made of stainless steel or banana leaves make more ecological sense. At the same time, the risk of exposure to aluminum, which would otherwise entail a growing risk of Alzheimer’s, is avoided here.

Grilling with heat-stable oils

You should also only use heat-stable oils and fats for marinating, e.g. B. Organic coconut oil, peanut oil, special organic frying oils made from high-oleic sunflower oil, or – if the temperatures are not too high – also olive oil. This reduces the risk of problematic trans fats or unfavorable oxidation products developing.

Marinade protects against pollutants

If you also eat plenty of salads, herbal dips, or vegetables with the crispy grilled tofu steak, then the antioxidants (flavones) contained in the colorful side dishes can at least partially compensate for the harmful effects of the grill.

Marinades made from ingredients rich in antioxidants are also said to have a protective effect in this way. At least that’s the conclusion of a 2008 study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. Scientists from the University of Hohenheim in Germany showed that a marinade made from olive oil, lemon juice, and garlic was able to reduce the HAA levels in grilled food by 70 percent. However, the marinade had to consist of at least 20 percent garlic.

The best results were obtained when the marinade was composed as follows: onion 31.2%, garlic 28.6%, and lemon juice 14.6%

A more recent study from 2012 came to similar conclusions. It was also published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. Here, too, inhibitory effects of high-quality marinades on the formation of HAA were found.

In this study, the top HAA-blocking marinade was flavored with the following ingredients: garlic, ginger, thyme, rosemary, and cayenne pepper (chili). HAA formation was reduced by an amazing 74 percent with this marinade.

Black pepper is also said to be able to significantly lower HAA levels, according to a study by Turkish scientists published in Food Control in 2011, so adding fresh pepper to the barbecue marinade is certainly not a bad idea.

Another delicious idea for marinades or for seasoning grilled food afterward is seasoning oils, which are also available in organic quality in various flavors, e.g. B. wild garlic seasoning oil or basil seasoning oil.

The BBQ sauce

Speaking of subsequent seasoning: When preparing your barbecue, also think about a selection of different dips and barbecue sauces. In any case, you should make these yourself and better not use the usual ready-made products. In most cases, this is nothing more than a colorful potpourri of artificial food additives, sugar, and cheap raw materials. You should not let any high-quality organic meat or vegan grill delicacies come into contact with products of this kind.

So it is not uncommon when a barbecue sauce from e.g. B. consists of the following ingredients:

“Tomato paste, water, sugar, vinegar, glucose-fructose syrup, molasses, modified starch, table salt, smoke flavoring, spices (with mustard seed), vegetable oil, lemon juice concentrate, thickener xanthan gum, preservative sorbic acid, flavoring.”

Although this list is absolutely vegetarian, even vegan. However, hardly any of these ingredients have beneficial effects on the organism. Many ingredients (vinegar, spices, oil, aroma) are also not even specified. The consumer should eat the sauce, but please don’t be interested in the type of vinegar, the composition of the spices, or the origin of the oil.

So it is more than recommended to make the barbecue sauces yourself. The result is a dream for grill gourmets. The ingredients are organic and the sauce tastes freshly prepared, simply authentic, and wonderfully aromatic (without any artificial flavors). So before we get to the vegan barbecue recipes, here are three fine barbecue sauce recipes:

Spicy paprika sauce

(Of course, you can also make the sauce non-spicy by simply omitting the hot chili powder.)

Ingredients

Depending on the size of the vegetables, the ingredients make about 500 to 700 ml of sauce

  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 each red, yellow, and green bell pepper, diced
  • Corn kernels from 1 cob of sweet corn (stand the cob upright on the cutting board and then use a knife to strip/cut the kernels lengthwise from the cob from top to bottom)
  • 2 tbsp spelled flour
  • 350 ml cold vegetable stock
  • 150 grams of tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp organic vinegar (apple cider vinegar or balsamic vinegar)
  • 1 tbsp (level) sweet paprika powder
  • ½ tsp chili powder
  • herb salt to taste

Preparation

Heat the olive oil in a saucepan. Fry onion and garlic in it. Add the diced peppers and the corn kernels. When the peppers are soft, stir the flour into the vegetables, pour in the broth, and boil the sauce again. Now add the remaining ingredients (except for the salt) and let the sauce simmer for two to three minutes. Then season with the herb salt.

Creamy raw vegetable dip

Ingredients

  • 2 peppers cut into pieces
  • 2 tomatoes cut into pieces
  • Flesh from ½ to 1 avocado
  • ½ stick of celery
  • 2 tbsp white almond butter
  • Juice of ½ orange
  • 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Herb salt and black pepper from the mill

Preparation

Put all the ingredients (except for the pepper) in a high-performance blender and mix thoroughly with the help of the tamper to form a delicious cream. Season with black pepper.

Vegan raw herb cream

Ingredients

  • 100 g white almond butter
  • 1 tbsp pot of bread drink or sauerkraut juice
  • 50ml of water
  • Seasoned Salt
  • nutmeg
  • If desired yeast flakes
  • Various fresh herbs finely chopped

Preparation

Blend the first three ingredients into a fine cream and leave in a warm place for a day or at least overnight. Mix with salt and herbs before eating.

If meat, then organic meat

If, despite all the delicious vegan ideas presented below, you cannot imagine a barbecue without a piece of meat, then of course only a piece of organic meat is an option.

Organic grass-fed meat not only tastes much better, but it also has clear health benefits:

It is known that meat from grazing not only has less fat, but also a healthier fatty acid profile, i.e. significantly more omega-3 fatty acids and more of the so-called conjugated linoleic acid, than meat from animals that are kept indoors all year round preferably grain and genetically modified received soy.

Meat from animals that are fed grain and GM soy is also said to have a higher sugar content than meat from free-range animals. These sugars, in turn, increase the content of so-called AGEs (Advanced Glycolytic Enzymes) under the influence of high temperatures – such as those that occur when grilling or deep-frying and roasting. AGEs, however, are said to increase oxidative stress in the body and also have a pro-inflammatory effect.

However, chronic inflammation and oxidative stress are now considered to be the main causes of a large number of degenerative diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, cancer, arthritis, and many more.

The 9 most important grilling rules for healthy grilling

  • The perfect barbecue party offers less meat, but a rich selection of vegetable barbecue specialties – see recipes below.
  • Grilling is only done when the charcoal or wood is well-lit.
  • It is best to choose environmentally friendly charcoal (pay attention to the FSC seal for sustainable forestry) or productive coconut charcoal.
  • High-protein foods such as tofu, seitan, or even meat and fish are marinated for a few hours with high-quality, homemade marinades.
  • If animals are grilled, then exclusively organic meat.
  • It is grilled in such a way that no fat can drip into the embers.
  • Only heat-stable oils are used: coconut oil, peanut oil, olive oil, or special spice oils.
  • Use reusable stainless steel grill pans. An alternative is large blanched cabbage leaves, in which all kinds of delicacies made from vegetables can be packed and grilled in this way. Banana leaves are similarly practical, and you will surely know them if you shop frequently in the Asian shop.
  • It is better to make ready-made barbecue sauces and dips yourself or at least buy them from organic retailers.

Vegan grill recipes: sophisticated and delicious

Now it’s time for the grill! We would like to introduce you to some delicious vegan barbecue recipes that will be the center of attention at your next barbecue party:

Stuffed mini peppers

Ingredients

  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 50 grams of pine nuts
  • 140 g long-grain rice (e.g. whole-grain jasmine rice)
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 350 g vegetable broth
  • 1 bunch of spring onions, cut into thin rings
  • 140 g cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 handful each of parsley and basil chopped
  • Herbal salt, black pepper, yeast flakes
  • Wild garlic seasoning oil
  • 6 red and 6 yellow mini peppers (depending on the size of the peppers, the amount of filling may have to be increased or reduced)

Preparation

For the filling, heat the oil in a saucepan. Roast the pine nuts in it. Add the rice, stir, and lightly toast. Add the garlic, then fill up with the vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Cover and cook for 30 minutes or until rice is tender. Remove the pot from the heat, allow to cool slightly, then stir in the spring onions, tomatoes, and fresh herbs, season with herb salt and black pepper, and nutritional yeast.

Cut the peppers lengthways, remove the seeds and fill with the filling. Grill on the griddle or in grill pans until the peppers are slightly soft but still al dente. Drizzle with wild garlic seasoning oil.

Chanterelle skewers

Ingredients

  • 300 g chanterelles (alternatively button mushrooms or oyster mushrooms)
  • Seasoning oil (made from olive oil, thyme, some garlic, herb salt, and black pepper)

Preparation

Wash mushrooms, then pat dry and cut large mushrooms into manageable pieces. Pour the spice oil into a bowl and toss the mushrooms well in it. Put the mushrooms on skewers and grill them in a grill tray for about 12 to 14 minutes.

Polenta squares

Ingredients

  • 1 baking sheet with polenta (prepare as instructed on the package), polenta cut into squares, approx. 5 x 5 cm

Preparation

Brush polenta squares with olive oil and grill on the hot grill for about 7 to 10 minutes. They taste delicious with barbecue sauce or a dip, grilled tofu slices or chanterelle skewers, and fresh salads.

Grilled peach with basic raspberry ice cream and vegan vanilla sauce
Ingredients (for 2 people)

For the vanilla sauce

  • 2 tablespoons white almond butter or cashew butter
  • 100ml of water
  • 3 – 4 tbsp rice syrup (or 4 dates)
  • Piece of a vanilla pod (about 3 cm long)

For the peaches

  • 2 ripe peaches
  • rice syrup

For the raspberry ice cream

  • 200 ml freshly squeezed orange juice or homemade almond milk
  • 8 pitted dates (more if you like)
  • 2 tbsp white almond butter
  • 400 g frozen raspberries

Preparation

Sauce

Put all the ingredients in the blender and blend thoroughly. In the Vitamix, the sauce warms up after 30 seconds and then tastes particularly delicious.

Grilled Peaches

Halve the peaches, remove the core, and brush with rice syrup. Grill on a grill pan for about 6 to 8 minutes, then turn the peaches and grill for another 3 minutes.

Basic raspberry ice cream

Place the freshly squeezed orange juice or almond milk in a high-performance blender (e.g. Vitamix) together with the dates and almond butter. Blend until you get a uniform cream. Now put the frozen fruits in the blender and process them briefly but vigorously – using the tamper – into ice cream. Serve immediately or place in the freezer for a short time (until the peaches are ready).

Serve two peach halves per person with a portion of raspberry ice cream and rich vanilla sauce.

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Written by Bella Adams

I'm a professionally-trained, executive chef with over ten years in Restaurant Culinary and hospitality management. Experienced in specialized diets, including Vegetarian, Vegan, Raw foods, whole food, plant-based, allergy-friendly, farm-to-table, and more. Outside of the kitchen, I write about lifestyle factors that impact well-being.

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