by Michael Vyskocil, photography by Nikola Tzenov

Are you looking for ways to infuse flavor into meatless meals? Grilling offers a simple and delicious way to spice up vegan and vegetarian meals. Check out these recipes to put together a meatless menu from appetizers to dessert that showcase the tastes of the season’s freshest fruits and vegetables.

Sip your favorite summer wine and savor a bite of grilled tartines with tomatoes and Swiss chard. Turn off the oven and heat up the grill for a delicious take on homemade pizza. Press your cast-iron skillet into service with a side dish of colorful peppers and tomatoes cooked on the grill. Finally, dish out the ice cream to accompany luscious caramelized grilled fruit.

Grilled Peppers and Tomatoes with Herbs

Season grape tomatoes with olive oil and fresh herbs for a simple grilled side dish. Makes 4 servings.

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 red or yellow bell pepper, cored, seeded and cut into strips
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves
Coarse kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

  1. Heat grill to medium-high. Place a cast-iron skillet on grill racks. Add 1½ teaspoons olive oil; swirl pan to coat with oil. Add pepper strips and tomatoes; cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until tomatoes begin to blister.
  2. Remove pan from heat; stir in remaining 1½ teaspoons oil, thyme, rosemary, salt and pepper, tossing gently to combine. Serve warm.


Grilled Fruit

Why turn on the oven when you can use your grill to create a delightful dessert? Use the best ripened, unblemished fruit you can find at farmers’ markets. Makes 4 servings.

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
⅓ cup packed dark-brown sugar
4 white or yellow peaches, cut in half
4 nectarines or plums, cut in half
4 pineapple rings
Ice cream, for serving (if desired)

  1. Heat grill to medium-high heat. In a large mixing bowl, combine the butter and brown sugar. Add fruit and toss to coat with butter-and-sugar mixture.
  2. Place two pieces of heavy-duty aluminum foil together. Fold edges of aluminum foil to form a tray with sides. Place foil tray on grill racks. Arrange the fruit, cut edges down, on the foil tray. Cook fruit until lightly browned and caramelized on the edges, repositioning fruit as needed on the tray to avoid burning. Turn the fruit over and repeat on opposite side. Remove fruit from grill and serve over ice cream, if desired.


Tartines with Neufchatel, Tomatoes and Chard

A tartine is a French-inspired open-faced sandwich. Prepare this grilled version using a whole-grain bread, which serves as a hearty base for the cheese-and-vegetable topping. Makes 4 servings.

Nonstick cooking spray
2 large beefsteak tomatoes
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
4 cups chopped Swiss chard
Coarse kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
8 slices whole-grain bread
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves
2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano leaves
4 ounces Neufchatel cheese, softened

  1. Coat grill racks of an unheated grill with nonstick cooking spray. Preheat grill to medium high.
  2. Cut tomatoes in half lengthwise; discard cores and seeds. Place tomato halves, skin sides up, on prepared grill racks. Grill for about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Remove from grill and let stand 5 minutes. Cut tomatoes into strips about 2 inches in length.
  3. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a cast-iron skillet over grill racks. Add Swiss chard, salt, pepper and garlic to pan; saute approximately 2 minutes until chard wilts slightly, stirring frequently.
  4. Brush bread slices lightly with olive oil; arrange bread slices in a single layer on grill racks. Grill for about 2 minutes on each side. Remove from heat and transfer bread to a serving platter.
  5. Combine thyme, rosemary, oregano and cheese in a small bowl; season to taste with salt and pepper. Spread about 2 to 3 teaspoons of cheese mixture over one side of each bread slice. Arrange grilled tomato slices evenly over cheese; top with sauteed Swiss chard mixture. Serve immediately.


Vegetable-Feta Pizza

Grilled vegetables add a robust flavor to a meatless pizza cooked on the grill. You can substitute the vegetables below with your favorites or whatever vegetables are in season. A sprinkling of Old Bay Seasoning adds a bit of Maryland flair. Makes 4 servings.

Nonstick cooking spray
2 cloves chopped garlic
1 large red or yellow bell pepper, cut into ½-inch-thick strips
1 yellow squash or zucchini, cut diagonally into ½-inch-thick slices
1 red onion, cut into ½-inch wedges (with the root end intact)
1½ tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Coarse kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
All-purpose flour, for rolling dough
8 ounces commercially prepared or homemade pizza dough, refrigerated
1 cup (about 4 ounces) feta cheese, crumbled
¼ cup fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
Old Bay Seasoning, to taste

  1. Coat grill racks of an unheated grill with nonstick cooking spray. Preheat grill to high until the temperature is about 450 degrees to 500 degrees.
  2. Combine garlic, bell pepper, yellow squash or zucchini, red onion and olive oil in a medium bowl; toss well to coat vegetables with the oil.
  3. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  4. Evenly distribute vegetables on prepared grill racks. Grill for 8 to 10 minutes, or just until the vegetables are tender.
  5. Lightly flour a work surface. Roll dough into an approximately 8-inch oval. Transfer dough to a grill rack; grill dough for about 1 to 2 minutes per side until light golden in color.
  6. Sprinkle feta cheese over dough, making sure to leave approximately a ½-inch border around edges of pizza dough. Arrange grilled vegetables over crust. Grill pizza about 2 to 3 minutes, or just until the cheese softens slightly. Remove pizza from grill and transfer to a serving board. Sprinkle pizza with basil and Old Bay Seasoning. Cut pizza into wedges and serve immediately.