Vegetarian-Friendly Cookout Classics (That Aren’t Veggie Burgers)

Summer cookout season is officially here! Grilling out is a great way to get some fresh air, soak up the sunshine, and spend quality time with friends and family. Apart from making memories, one of the key aspects of a great cookout is the food. (We can’t lie, the menu really is the start of the show.) 

We know that it can be super stressful to make sure everyone has something to eat. Especially if you’ve got vegetarian guests, but aren’t very familiar with plant-based cooking. 

Don’t stress! We’ve got a roundup of vegetarian-friendly recipes that even the beginner can master (we promise). They’re not your average veggie burger, either; these recipes are flavorful and fresh. Even your meat-eating guests will want a taste!

Balsamic Garlic Grilled Mushroom Skewers

closet cooking balsamic garlic grilled mushroom skewers vegetarian side dish for cookouts

Image: Closet Cooking

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We couldn’t make a vegetarian recipe roundup without including mushrooms, aka “the vegetarian meat”. We know not everyone is a fan of this vegetable, but this recipe has a bold, tangy flavor and is certainly a creative, more beginner-friendly take on the popular Grilled Portabello Mushroom “Burger.”

Grilled Mexican-Style Street Corn

lolas cocina grilled mexican street corn vegetarian recipe

Image: Lola’s Cocina

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Bursting with smoky flavor and creamy melted cheese, this vegetarian appetizer can be made side-by-side with your grilled meat dishes. It’s like your classic grilled veggies, but ~elevated~. Support Latinx creators (and get delicious authentic flavor) by browsing their blog postings. We’ve included this traditional recipe from Lola’s Kitchen and a Grilled Corn Salad version from My Dominican Kitchen.

For a fully vegan corn salad recipe, try our Cilantro-Lime Corn Salad (just leave out the honey).

Whipped Cottage Cheese & Feta Dip With Marinated Tomatoes

the food dolls whipped cottage cheese and feta dip with marinated tomatoes recipe

Image: The Food Dolls

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This Whipped Cottage Cheese Dip probably shouldn’t be your main meal, but with 20 grams of protein, we wouldn’t blame you if you ate nothing else. It’s a really quick and easy vegetarian appetizer or side to your cookout menu. 

Caprese Pasta Salad

caprese pasta salad a southern soul vegetarian cookout recipe idea

Image: A Southern Soul

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I’ll admit, I was a pasta salad hater before I tried this recipe at a family picnic. It was one of the new recipes my mom tried out when I first went vegetarian. Her testimony is that it’s fool-proof, easy, and a definite crowd-pleaser! Plus, it’s more filling than traditional caprese, which means it won’t leave your non-meat-eating guests feeling hungry. 

Kimchi Deviled Eggs

balance with jess kimchi deviled eggs

Image: Balance With Jess

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Jessica Kwan of Balance With Jess describes this recipe as “a fun, Asian twist on a Southern classic”. Her recipe uses spicy kimchi to add an element of fun to your deviled egg dish. It’s something different that might just expand the palette of your less adventurous guests. 

Lemon & Herb Potatoes


This tutorial is one of those “just throw it all together and grill it until it looks done” kinds of recipes, which means you don’t have to spend time in the kitchen measuring and double-checking your recipe. (Trust us, we’ve been there and done that.) Author and food blogger Hetty McKinnon has mastered the art of plant-based cooking, and we are her humble students. 

Cucumber Mint Salad

berry sweet life cucumber mint chickpea salad vegetarian cookout side dish recipe idea

Image: Berry Sweet Life

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This might sound like a weird combo, but trust the process. Fresh mint and cool cucumbers keep this recipe light while canned chickpeas add a heartiness that makes this the perfect main dish or satiating side. 

Don’t forget dessert and drinks!

Need a low-effort side dish to bring? Look no further than this Dairy-Free Coconut Fruit Dip.

Cool off at your summer cookout with this 2-Ingredient Watermelon Slushy, or go with a patriotic theme and serve these Layered Popsicles.

And finally, drinks! You can’t go wrong a mocktail like this Strawberry Sangria, or a Spicy Blood Orange Margarita.

What are your favorite vegetarian appetizers for summer gatherings?

Let us know your favorites in the comments and tell us which recipes you’re most excited to try! If you’re a fellow plant-based foodie, send this to your friends and family to spread the love. 


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