The warmth of the summer sunshine has me breaking out the sunglasses, sunscreen and the grill for delightful summer eating. Grilled food is typically synonymous with meats, but vegetables are every bit as amazing given a light seasoning and a little time on the fire. With a light touch of the grill, your vegetables turn from bland into bold bombs of backyard flavor.
This is a recipe that’s real, wholesome, healthy food and just happens to be appropriate for vegan athletes. I’m not one to advertise to friends when I make them vegan specific foods because I’ve found that tying foods to a trendy diet moniker gives people pause before they even willingly try it. Instead, I casually offer them flavorful clean eating options and then perhaps, I might tell them while they’re raving about it later that their whole menu was vegan-friendly with a wink and a smile.
Cauliflower is a standout vegetable to cook on the grill. Once sliced into large rounds, they just need a touch of olive oil and seasoning to bring out their nutty goodness. Top with a squeeze of lime for simple summer fresh flavor. I’ve served this steak-style with a knife and fork but it would also hold up well served on a bun like a burger with other toppings.
Pair this cauliflower with a true summer staple: baked beans. Traditionally, baked beans are cooked with bacon, but I’ve found vegetable-based “bacon” bits which are made from coconut chips or pinto beans. These also have the familiar smoky flavor but without the pork. I’ve also changed out the traditional refined brown sugar for all natural maple syrup. These tangy baked beans can be made in the crockpot or the oven. Look forward to your next barbecue and keep your beach bod in check with healthy grilled vegetables like these grilled cauliflower steaks and a side of maple baked beans that are perfect for your next picnic.
Grilled Cauliflower and Maple Baked Beans
Prep time: 20 min plus an overnight soak for the beans,
Cook time: 6 hours for beans, 15 min for the cauliflower
- 1 head cauliflower, sliced vertically into ½ inch rounds
- Salt, sprinkle to taste
- Chili powder or Cajun seasoning, sprinkle to taste
- Olive oil for brushing
- Fresh lime juice
Cauliflower Preparation Instructions:
- Heat grill to medium heat.
- Brush both sides of cauliflower slices with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and desired seasoning.
- Place cauliflower on a vegetable grill pan or directly on grill grates and grill for about 8-10 minutes per side.
- Serve warm with a sprinkle of fresh lime juice.
Maple Baked Beans
- 1/2 pound dry navy beans
- 1/4 cup veggie bacon bits (optional)
- 1/2 onion, diced and caramelized if desired
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon blackstrap molasses
- 1teaspoons pink Himalayan or smoked salt
- 1/8- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons spicy brown mustard
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 1/3 cup tomato sauce or organic all natural ketchup
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce (use tamari or coconut aminos for vegan option)
- 1/4 cup maple syrup (or use part maple syrup and part coconut palm sugar)
Maple Baked Beans Preparation Instructions:
- Soak beans overnight in cold water.
- Simmer beans in the same water 1-2 hours until tender.
- Drain and reserve liquid.
- While beans are simmering, caramelize the onion in a sauté pan with the garlic and a tablespoon or so of olive oil on low heat until it is tender, translucent, and turning a nice caramel color. Be patient, true caramelization takes 30-45 minutes. If you don’t wish to caramelize the onion, simply sauté on medium heat until it starts to become translucent.
- In a bowl, combine molasses, salt, pepper, mustard, tomato sauce, Worcestershire, and maple syrup. Stir until smooth.
- Add cooked beans to a crock pot or Dutch oven and gently stir in the veggie bacon bits, onion, and the sauce.
- Add reserved cooking liquid from the beans to cover about one inch above the beans. If you don’t have reserved liquid, just add water.
- Slow cook on low 6 hours or bake at 325 degrees about 4 hours until beans are plump and the sauce has thickened.
- Check beans and gently stir halfway through cooking.
- If sauce becomes too dry, add more liquid and continue cooking until done.