Sometimes being a vegetarian ain’t easy. In particular, summertime can be difficult with all that fresh meat on the grill. It kind of seems like a moth to the, well, flame. I’ve been a vegetarian for more decades than I would ever admit online. But I will tell you that I’ve been traumatized more than once by this strange summer ritual that carnivores call the cookout. Plus, I always leave hungry and end up stopping for a slice of pizza on the way home. But I’ve solved that problem with some of the best vegetarian cookout ideas around.

Don't Forget the Vegetarians at Your next BBQ or Cookout! #Recipes #Roundup

Barbecue By Any Other Name, Is NOT A Barbecue!

My most recent trauma occurred fairly soon after I moved to North Carolina. I was invited to a gathering by a local business owner. It was a nice gig with about ten tables of desserts made by adorable church ladies and an absolutely ginormous smoker filled with meat of various animals that Gordon Ramsey could most definitely identify by smell alone, but alas, I am not him. My point, you ask? During a light conversation with a group of folks, I said something along the lines of never having been to a cookout like this before. And that was the last time I ever made the mistake of calling a barbecue a cookout. Vice-versa gets you in trouble just the same, BTW.

How Do You Like Your Wiener?

My first traumatic cookout memory goes back to my youth. Not only was I a vegetarian at an early age, but I have also been dorky since way back when. Shocking, I know. My parents dragged me to a family friend’s house. At some point, I must have been aimlessly wandering around the backyard looking as hungry as I felt. Let’s cut straight to the punchline, shall we? An adult I had never met before peeked out from behind the grill and asked me, “How do you like your wiener?”

I think I died for a minute.

And as impossible as it may seem, I was utterly speechless. I didn’t know what I was supposed to think or say. Was I in trouble? What the heck was happening here? Finally, after what felt like 34 years but was probably 5 seconds, he yelled, “Would you like a hot dog?” I muttered, “No, thank you,” as I quickly ran away. And with that, this geeky and sometimes gourmet vegetarian brings you the…

Top 7 Vegetarian Dishes to Bring to a Cookout or BBQ

(Alternate Title: How to make sure your token vegetarian friend isn’t stuck eating potato chips and slices of American cheese all afternoon at your place.)

1. Grilled Peach Caprese Salad by Jerry James Stone

Grilled Peach Caprese Salad - Something on the grill for Vegetarians!

2. Grilled Corn & Zucchini Summer Salad by a SALAD for all SEASONS

Vegetarian Cookout Food! Grilled Corn & Zucchini Summer Salad

3. Vegetarian Baked Beans From Scratch from Chef De Home

The Best Vegetarian Cookout Dishes Include Vegetarian Baked Bean Recipe

4. Black Bean Quinoa Veggie Burgers from Emilie EATS

Black Bean Quinoa Burgers - Perfect for Vegetarians!

5. Grilled Vegetable Pesto Pizza by Leslie Durso

Grilled Vegetable Pesto Pizza Recipe

6. Garlic Parmesan Broccoli And Potatoes In Foil from DAMN delicious

Garlic Parmesan Broccoli and Potatoes in Foil

7. Don’t forget the dessert! Grilled Fruit Kebabs with White Chocolate Drizzle from The Cookie Rookie

Grilled Fruit Kebabs with Chocolate Drizzle

Beyond These Vegetarian Cookout Ideas

As an added bonus, and if I may toot my own horn, please check out my delicious Basil, Feta, Olive, and Tomato Pasta recipe. Also, check out our Hungry Harvest review for fruits and veggies that are good for your budget and soul.