31 Best Vegan BBQ Recipes For Your Next Plant-Based Cookout

For vegans, “let’s fire up the grill!” can be a pretty alienating sentiment. I mean, summer BBQs typically feature all the animal products (think hot dogs topped with beef chili and shredded cheese).

Luckily for my fellow plant-eaters and I, though, that’s starting to change. The $939 million plant-based meat market has grown by an astounding 38 percent over the last two years, according to The Good Food Institute. And demand for products made from meat may fall by up to 50 percent in the next 10 years, a recent RethinkX report suggests.

The bottom line: Vegan barbecue recipes might soon be in-demand.

Of course, your best bet is always to swap that steak for whole plant foods, like a hearty slab of grilled cauliflower topped with herbs, spices, and cashews–not a mock beef alternative.

While plant-based meat alternatives are touted as great ways to transition away from eating meat (and reduce your carbon footprint!), they’re not your best bet for long-term health, says Monica Auslander Moreno, RD, dietitian and founder of Essence Nutrition. (Some experts question the health implications of consuming a lot of soy isolates, which are commonly used in plant-based meat alternatives. Whole soy is a-okay, though.)

Auslander Moreno recommends filling your picnic table with nourishing recipes, like BBQ tempeh (which is made of probiotic-rich fermented soybeans that are high in fiber and protein), homemade veggie burgers loaded with ingredients like beans, beets, tahini, carrots and quinoa, and sides like roasted sweet potatoes, salads, and dips like hummus and guac.

From fun apps to grillable mains and summery desserts, you’ll be counting down the days until you get to whip up these plant-based dishes for your next BBQ.

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Vegan Paleo Broccoli Cashew Salad

Mayo and bacon often make otherwise superfood-rich salads off-the-table at barbecues. This vegan take offers healthy fats and crunch from cashews and sunflower seeds, plus a whole lot of from broccoli, cranberries, and cilantro.

Per serving: 269 calories, 18 g fat (4 g saturated), 24 g carbs, 11 g sugar, 617 mg sodium, 4 g fiber, 8 g protein

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Mediterranean Grilled Avocados with Chickpeas and Tahini

Fun fact: Avocados get buttery when you heat them up. Take advantage of the grill and get your guests in on this high-fiber, low-sodium goodness.

Per serving: 206 calories, 14 g fat (3 g saturated), 17 g carbs, 3 g sugar, 13 mg sodium, 8 g fiber, 5 g protein

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Instant Pot Brown Sugar Baked Beans

No summer cookout is complete without a vat of sugary-sweet baked beans. This version includes pinto, kidney, and northern beans, doused in a tangy sauce that complements any main dish.

Per serving: 156 calories, 1 g fat (0 g saturated), 30 g carbs, 9 g sugar, 382 mg sodium, 3 g fiber, 8 g protein

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Vegan Cauliflower Sloppy Joes

BBQs are all about getting a little messy, and there’s no better way to do that than with these garlicky, saucy sandwiches.

Per serving: 289 calories, 8 g fat (0 g saturated), 53 g carbs, 13 g sugar, 782 mg sodium, 8 g fiber, 7 g protein

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Fresh Corn and Mango Salad

Vegans catch a lot of flack for eating “just salad,” but even meat-eaters will get on-board after catching a whiff of this fragrant, summer-friendly side dish.

Per serving: 78 calories, 3 g fat (0 g saturated), 13 g carbs, 7 g sugar, 2 mg sodium, 2 g fiber, 1 g protein

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Grilled Cauliflower Steak with Romesco Sauce

Cauliflower steaks are hot right now because of their satisfying texture and ability to soak up flavor. (Make extra of the Romesco sauce on these to put on other meals.)

Per serving: 111 calories, 7 g fat (1 g saturated), 10 g carbs, 4 g sugar, 251 mg sodium, 5 g fiber, 5 g protein

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Smoky BBQ Black Bean Burgers

Smoky flavor from the BBQ sauce, cumin, and chili powder make these veggie-packed patties the vegan burger to end all burgers.

Per serving: 289 calories, 19 g fat (2 g saturated), 47 g carbs, 7 g sugar, 433 mg sodium, 9 g fiber, 12 g protein

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Arroz Congri (Cuban Rice and Black Beans)

Rice and beans is a plant-based staple because it’s darn cheap and covers most of your nutrient bases. The Latin flavors of this dish pair perfectly with summertime mojitos.

Per serving: 143 calories, 3 g fat (1 g saturated), 28 g carbs, 2 g sugar, 322 mg sodium, 5 g fiber, 7 g protein

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The Best Grilled Portobello Mushroom Burgers

Cauliflower is to steak what portobello mushrooms are to burgers. The textures just work. Slap these marinated ‘shrooms on the grill, load up your bun, and prepare to be converted.

Per serving: 295 calories, 13 g fat (1 g saturated), 30 g carbs, 6 g sugar, 594 mg sodium, 11 g fiber, 21 g protein

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Macadamia Nut Cheese and Vegan Crudite

Meat eaters shouldn’t get all the cheese board fun. These plant-based finger foods are the perfect way to keep guests satisfied while you fire up the grill.

Per serving: 251 calories, 22 g fat (4 g saturated), 15 g carbs, 8 g sugar, 167 mg sodium, 5 g fiber, 4 g protein

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Vegetarian Lettuce Wraps with Jerk Grilled Tofu

You don’t have to say goodbye to the incredible flavors of Caribbean cuisine just because you’re avoiding meat. These protein- and veg-packed lettuce wraps will spice up any summer cookout.

Per serving: 175 calories, 10 g fat (2 g saturated), 15 g carbs, 11 g sugar, 522 mg sodium, 4 g fiber, 12 g protein

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Mango Curry Paleo BBQ Sauce

Forget the bottled stuff–DIY-ing a BBQ sauce (complete with a surprising Asian flair and hint of spice) is the quickest way to liven up your barbecue scene, vegan-style.

Per serving: 16 calories, 0 g fat (0 g saturated), 4 g carbs, 3 g sugar, 124 mg sodium, 1 g fiber, 0 g protein

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Cilantro Lime Cauliflower Rice

Whether as a side or a base for grilled (plant-based) protein and veggies, this Tex-Mex cauliflower rice is a great way to go low on carbs during without sacrificing flavor this summer.

Per serving: 113 calories, 7 g fat (1 g saturated), 11 g carbs, 5 g sugar, 83 mg sodium, 4 g fiber, 3 g protein

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Grilled Veggie Skewers with Chimichurri Sauce

Dreading doing post-cookout clean-up? Cook your veggies on a stick.

Per serving: 108 calories, 0 g fat (0 g saturated), 25 g carbs, 5 g sugar, 11 mg sodium, 3 g fiber, 4 g protein

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Sweet Potato Burrito Bowls

Jazz sweet potatoes up with black beans, brown rice, and a homemade rustic salsa, and you’ve got a fiesta-worthy vegan meal.

Per serving: 388 calories, 10 g fat (2 g saturated), 67 g carbs, 12 g sugar, 1,183 mg sodium, 16 g fiber, 11 g protein

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Air Fryer Falafel

This (air)fried chickpea falafel is packed with Middle Eastern spices and sure to be a crowd-pleaser at even the most meat-heavy BBQs.

Per serving: 64 calories, 1 g fat (0 g saturated), 12 g carbs, 1 g sugar, 227 mg sodium, 2 g fiber, 3 g protein

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5-Ingredient Plant-Based “Chicken” Salad

Mix your fave plant-based protein with vegan mayo, pecans, apples, and onion for this vegan version of the cookout classic.

Per serving: 237 calories, 19 g fat (3 g saturated), 6 g carbs, 3 g sugar, 227 mg sodium, 2 g fiber, 11 g protein

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Quinoa Lentil Burgers

No need to trick your guests into eating these. Lentils lend themselves well to vegan patties, thanks to their hearty texture and neutral (somewhat meat-like) color.

Per serving: 268 calories, 8 g fat (1 g saturated), 42 g carbs, 7 g sugar, 679 mg sodium, 9 g fiber, 10 g protein

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Grilled Corn with Sriracha Aioli

Doused in a creamy cashew sauce with a hint of spice, this vegan take on street corn takes your BBQ to the next level.

Per serving: 176 calories, 10 g fat (2 g saturated), 22 g carbs, 4 g sugar, 37 mg sodium, 3 g fiber, 4 g protein

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Buffalo Cowboy Caviar

This bold and zesty dish is a perfect dip or side for a casual backyard affair.

Per serving: 233 calories, 10 g fat (1 g saturated), 30 g carbs, 5 g sugar, 9 mg sodium, 9 g fiber, 8 g protein

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Vegan Queso

From nachos to chopped veggies, this vegan dip (which adds an incredible burst of flavor, protein, and fiber) feels at home in any barbecue spread.

Per serving: 216 calories, 15 g fat (3 g saturated), 17 g carbs, 3 g sugar, 332 mg sodium, 3 g fiber, 7 g protein

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BBQ Jackfruit Sandwiches with Avocado Slaw

Missing pulled pork sandwiches? This vegan take is juicy and savory.

Per serving: 431 calories, 14 g fat (3 g saturated), 65 g carbs, 17 g sugar, 1,000 mg sodium, 16 g fiber, 12 g protein

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Vegan Gluten-Free S’mores Bars

Nothing says summer like s’mores, and these vegan marshmallow treats are hella nostalgic.

Per serving: 439 calories, 27 g fat (16 g saturated), 48 g carbs, 28 g sugar, 91 mg sodium, 3 g fiber, 5 g protein

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Creamy Vegan Potato Salad

No cookout is complete without this star side dish. All it takes is vegan mayo, Dijon and whole-grain mustards, some chopped veggies, and cubed potatoes.

Per serving: 185 calories, 11 g fat (2 g saturated), 21 g carbs, 3 g sugar, 258 mg sodium, 2 g fiber, 2 g protein

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BBQ Bean Bowls with Corn and Coleslaw

This three all-star BBQ sides into one vegan-friendly meal.

Per serving: 764 calories, 17 g fat (3 g saturated), 124 g carbs, 29 g sugar, 934 mg sodium, 19 g fiber, 25 g protein

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Grilled Jamaican Jerk Eggplant

Hearty eggplant stands up well to the flame of a grill, making this punchy dish a perfect plant-based main.

Per serving: 73 calories, 4 g fat (3 g saturated), 9 g carbs, 6 g sugar, 660 mg sodium, 3 g fiber, 2 g protein

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Gluten-Free Vegan Fruit Pizza

Whether you can’t decide which fruit to serve or are tired of fruit salad, this sweet and creamy pizza is a trusty summer staple.

Per serving: 388 calories, 27 g fat (15 g saturated), 37 g carbs, 22 g sugar, 201 mg sodium, 10 g fiber, 5 g protein

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Watermelon Mint Sorbet

There’s no better way to top off a barbecue than with this palate-cleansing mojito-inspired sorbet.

Per serving: 123 calories, 1 g fat (0 g saturated), 27 g carbs, 22 g sugar, 4 mg sodium, 1 g fiber, 2 g protein

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Summertime Pasta Salad with Tomatoes, Corn, and Jalapeno Pesto

The best types of salads are hands-down pasta salads. Keep this one vegan using avocado instead of feta.

Per serving: 375 calories, 21 g fat (4 g saturated), 39 g carbs, 4 g sugar, 448 mg sodium, 9 g fiber, 11 g protein

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Cauliflower Falafel Veggie Burgers

With this flavorful, fiber-rich burger, you’ll think you’re barbecuing on a beach in the Mediterranean.

Per serving: 225 calories, 6 g fat (1 g saturated), 36 g carbs, 3 g sugar, 433 mg sodium, 7 g fiber, 10 g protein

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