Americans sure know how to pack in the celebratory eating. If we’re not partaking in “the biggest sale of the year” at our favorite stores on one holiday or another, we’re enjoying a massive meal in honor of the occasion. Memorial Day, the day this country remembers and honors the fallen men and women who have served in the armed forces, is the unofficial beginning of summer. It also marks the start of grilling season. In back yards, parks and open fields all over the country, self-appointed grill masters eagerly wait with bags of charcoal briquettes, fresh meat and bated breath for the last Monday in May to arrive so that they can light up the grill and get to work.
All summer long, the aromas of barbecued goodness fills the neighborhoods and beckons total strangers to make quick introductions for the chance at a hamburger or hot dog, an ear of corn and an ice cold beverage.
Alas, summer must come to an end. Pretty soon it will be time to pack away the lighter fluid, charcoal, wood chips and grilling tools. However, before the season calls it quits, how about one last blowout?
Enter Labor Day, The Undisputed Unofficial End of Summer!
If you have been going Meatless on Monday all year, there’s no reason to suspend that healthy eating pattern on the first Monday in September. Grills weren’t made just for meat, ya know! There’s a variety of foods sans meat that you can cook on the grill and still have that soul stirring sensation of feeling like a true grill master.
Since my husband was scheduled to be out of the country this Labor Day, we decided to celebrate a week early and fired up the grill (sadly, it is a gas grill, but we made the most of it). Kebabs are a wonderful way to enjoy that great grilled taste without sacrificing your Meatless Monday standing.
Here, we loaded skewers with Tuscan Meatless Meatballs by Veggie Patch, zucchini, squash, red bell pepper, onion and mushroom. The vegetables were marinated for about three hours prior to grilling. [Use your favorite store-brought marinade or make your own].
Because I had an abundance of veggies, what didn’t fit on the skewers went into a grill basket and were slowly steamed while the kebabs cooked.
My husband is the mushroom eater in the family so he dedicated a couple of skewers just for these beautiful cremini mushrooms (also known as “baby portabello” or “baby bella.” Because of their firm texture, these flavorful mushroom skewers, which are somewhere between white mushrooms and portabellos (more mature than whites, but not as mature as portabellos), were placed directly on the grill.
Since this was a meatless grillfest, I also decided to marinate extra firm tofu, cut into cubes, as well. To keep the tofu from falling completely apart on the grill, my husband used double skewers for each kebab.
After it was all said and done, the gas knob was turned to the “off” position and my husband and I sat down for our grillfest, we were glad we made the decision to have our last unofficial grill-out of the summer … and we were equally pleased that it was meatless.
What will you be tossing on the grill this Labor Day and Meatless Monday? Whatever you decide . . . bon appetit!