Celebrate Summer With These Vegetarian Cookout Classics

Celebrate Summer With These Vegetarian Cookout Classics

Attending neighborhood cookouts is fun — but hosting them can be even better. You want to give your guests the best experience, so off you go planning the music, the decorations, and of course the menu!

The summer heat has a weird way of making you feel less hungry. When heavy meals sound unappealing, lighter, cooler meals can be the perfect solution.

Today we’re bringing you not one, but a full menu of vegetarian cookout classics that are quick to make and easy to enjoy.

Health Benefits of Cilantro

You’ll quickly notice one of the key players in this menu is cilantro. Also known as coriander, this herb is a powerhouse for fighting off disease and keeping your body young and healthy.

Its antibacterial, antimicrobial, and antifungal properties may help (2):

  • Fight against inflammation and oxidative stress
  • Support nerve health
  • Reduce migraines
  • Lower your risk for certain cancers

Can’t wait to get started? Whip out your aprons, it’s time to whip up some cookout classics!

BBQ Tofu Burger

Nothing says summer like BBQ sauce. Sweet and sticky, you can find it everywhere from the faces of children to the corner of tablecloths.

This recipe is inspired by Feasting at Home (1) and comes with the added bonus of a cool cilantro cabbage slaw that can be either a topper or a side item.

This recipe serves 2, but by simply multiplying the ingredients you can ensure there’s enough for everyone!


  • 2 Tbs organic, cold-pressed olive oil or coconut oil
  • 1 block extra firm organic tofu, well-drained
  • ¼  tsp sea salt
  • ¼ tsp fresh black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon organic chili paste or sriracha
  • ¼ cup BBQ sauce (avoid varieties containing high fructose corn syrup; you can also make your own )
  • Pinch of cinnamon, optional
  • 2 brioche buns, lightly toasted
  • Avocado, optional (but highly recommended)

Pro tip: Tofu can be tricky to prepare. To avoid mushy and soggy tofu patties, try these tips and tricks:

  • Freeze the patty before cooking to firm up the texture
  • Make sure as much liquid is squeezed out of the patty before using it

Cool, Creamy Cilantro Slaw:

  • 3 cups shredded cabbage
  • 4 Tbsp vegan mayo (or regular mayo)
  • ¼  cup red onion, sliced thinly
  • ⅓  cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • ¼  tsp sea salt
  • 1 Tbsp white or apple cider vinegar or white, plus more to taste


  1. Drain the tofu and pat dry. Cut into one-inch-thick slabs. You should be able to get 2 -3 slabs from one block. Pat dry again. If slabs are too big for the bun, trim off the edges.
  2. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add olive or coconut oil and sprinkle in the salt and pepper.
  3. Once the pepper is fragrant, carefully add tofu slabs. Sear until crispy and deeply golden, about 6 minutes on each side. Resist the temptation to move the slabs around – the oil helps create a crunchy crust and will release itself when you flip them over.
  4. While slabs are cooking, combine chili paste with BBQ sauce in a small bowl and set to the side.
  5. In a medium bowl, combine shredded cabbage, onions, cilantro, vinegar, mayo, and salt. Add more of each ingredient until you’re happy with the flavor --- it should be tangy, creamy, and flavorful.
  6. Lightly toast brioche or other soft buns.
  7. Once tofu is nice and crispy, lower the heat and add BBQ sauce, coating the tofu thoroughly. Turn the heat off once sauce is caramelized.
  8. Slice avocado.
  9. Spread mayo on the toasted buns, add BBQ tofu, top with cool slaw and a few slices of avocado.

And that’s it! Best when served right away.

Related article: Summer Sun Safety Month: 5 Tips to Stay Safe Outdoors (9)

Creamy Corn Salad

What would a BBQ be without fresh corn? This recipe can be put together in minutes and perfectly complements the tofu sandwich with its cool, creamy texture that’s bursting with flavor!

Brought to you by I Wash, You Dry (3), this simple recipe is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser with some hearty health benefits.


  • 5-6 ears fresh corn, boiled for 3 minutes, cooled and kernels removed (you can use 2lbs frozen corn too if it’s easier --- just thaw under cool water)
  • 1 cup red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 fresh jalapeño pepper, seeds removed and finely diced
  • ¼ cup red onion, diced
  • ½ cup vegan mayo (or regular mayo)
  • ½ cup vegan yogurt (or plain Greek yogurt)
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped (optional)


  1. In a large bowl, mix corn, onion, jalapeño, and bell pepper until well combined.
  2. Combine the mayo, yogurt, garlic powder, salt, and pepper in another bowl. Add to corn mixture and stir gently until combined. Garnish with freshly chopped cilantro.

Storage tips: You can make this recipe ahead of time and store leftovers in an air-tight container for up to 3 days.

Froyo Cups

No full-course meal would be complete without a healthy dessert to top it off. With the gut health benefits of probiotics and the antioxidants found in fresh fruit, this recipe inspiration from Tasty satisfies your sweet tooth without a lot of guilt afterward (4, 5, 6).

This recipe serves 12, but adjust the ingredients to match your guest list.


  • 1 ½ cups organic vanilla Greek yogurt (or vegan yogurt)
  • Fresh, organic blueberries
  • Fresh, organic raspberries

Alternatives: Sugar contents can be high in commercial yogurts. Consider swapping out for 1 tsp honey to add a hint of sweetness.

You can also switch the fruits around to create your own special twist --- tropical fruits like mango, pineapple, and kiwi are excellent choices.


  1. Line a muffin tin with 12 cupcake liners.
  2. Using a large spoon, dollop 2 tablespoons of Greek yogurt into each liner.
  3. Top with fresh blueberries, raspberries, or whatever fruit you choose.
  4. Freeze for 2-3 hours.
  5. When ready, remove froyo cups from the freezer and take off the liners before serving.

Related article: 3 Summer Smoothie Recipes to Help You Beat the Heat (7)

Wrap Up

Summertime is famous for get-togethers and family reunions. Sometimes you’re invited to join the party --- other times, you’re the one hosting the event.

If you’re looking for an easy, simple, and healthy way to gather everyone together to make great memories and eat delicious food, these vegetarian cookout classics are the answer.

Looking for flavorful drink options to share at the party? Check out Pure I.V. (8) packets – a variety of flavors that offer tasty and exceptional hydration for hot days, and every day!


1. https://www.feastingathome.com/bbq-tofu-sandwich/

2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29433220/

3. https://iwashyoudry.com/creamy-corn-salad-recipe/

4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9455928/

5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3274736/

6. https://tasty.co/recipe/froyo-fruit-cups

7. https://karamd.com/blogs/blog-posts/3-summer-smoothies-to-help-you-beat-the-heat

8. https://karamd.com/products/pure-i-v

9. https://karamd.com/blogs/blog-posts/summer-sun-safety-month-5-tips-to-stay-safe-outdoors

✝✝This noted statement is based on independent research and is not necessarily the opinion of the author