8 Mouthwatering Grilled Vegan “Chicken” Recipes for the Perfect Plant-Based BBQ

Gebs BBQ Chicken

[ez-toc]

Grilling season is in full swing, but vegans don’t have to miss out on the fun with so many innovative meatless options now available. Grilled veggies and fruits are staples, but for those looking for hearty, meaty textures and flavors similar to chicken, there are plenty of ingenious substitutes to throw on the barbecue.

From seitan to jackfruit and more, the vegan chicken alternatives keep getting better. Many can be marinated, skewered, and grilled just like the real thing for appetizing entrées, sandwiches, salads and beyond. Here are 12 of the best plant-based grilled “chicken” recipes to wow the crowds at your next cookout.

1. BBQ Seitan Skewers

These BBQ seitan skewers from Nora Cooks are slathered in a sweet and tangy homemade barbecue sauce and grilled until crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside. Seitan, made from wheat gluten, has a meaty bite and soaks up flavors like a pro. The skewers provide fun finger food that will have everyone going back for seconds. Nora’s barbecue sauce balances tomato paste and maple syrup with spices like chili powder, onion, garlic and liquid smoke.

Ingredients:

  • 1⁄2 cup tomato paste
  • 1⁄4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari
  • 1 tablespoon liquid smoke
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 lb seitan, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • Metal or wooden skewers

Instructions:

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the tomato paste, maple syrup, olive oil, vinegar, soy sauce, liquid smoke and spices until smooth. Reserve about 1/2 cup of sauce in a small bowl for serving.
  2. Add the seitan pieces to the large bowl with the remaining sauce and toss to coat. Cover and marinate for 30 minutes up to overnight.
  3. When ready to cook, preheat a grill over medium-high heat. Thread the seitan onto skewers, leaving a little space between pieces. Grill the skewers for 6-8 minutes, turning frequently and basting with extra sauce, until seitan is lightly charred.
  4. Serve skewers warm with the reserved sauce for dipping. Enjoy!

2. Barbecued Jackfruit Sandwiches

These Barbecued Jackfruit Sandwiches from Loving It Vegan let you shred and sauce jackfruit just like pulled pork. Spices, apple cider vinegar and ketchup give traditional barbecue flavor to the juicy jackfruit. Pile it high on buns with your favorite sandwich toppings. The jackfruit takes well to grilling, getting crispy edges while staying moist inside. Try these sandwiches with crunchy coleslaw on the side.

Ingredients:

  • 2 x 20 oz cans green jackfruit in brine, rinsed and drained
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1⁄2 cup ketchup
  • 1⁄4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup or brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
  • Burger buns and desired toppings for serving

Instructions:

  1. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and onion and cook for 2-3 minutes until softened.
  2. Add the jackfruit and the remaining ingredients. Cook for 10 minutes, mixing well to coat evenly.
  3. Use two forks or your fingers to shred the jackfruit into pulled pork-like strands as it cooks.
  4. Preheat grill to medium-high. Transfer jackfruit mixture to a grill-safe dish and grill for 8-10 minutes, mixing occasionally, until heated through with charred bits.
  5. Serve jackfruit on buns topped with pickles, slaw or anything you like!

3. Grilled Cajun Tofu

These Grilled Cajun Tofu strips from Vegan Huggs are bursting with Louisiana-style flavor. Blackening seasoning gives a spicy kick while paprika provides smoky depth and color. The tofu gets marinated then grilled until crisp outside and creamy inside. Delicious in po’ boys, tacos, salads and more. Amp up the spice with extra cayenne or serve with cooling dairy-free ranch dressing.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb extra firm tofu
  • 1⁄4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon Cajun or blackening seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Instructions:

  1. Drain the tofu and cut widthwise into 1/2-inch thick slices. Lay the slices on a plate between paper towels and gently press out excess moisture. Cut the slices lengthwise into 1-inch wide strips.
  2. In a shallow baking dish, whisk together the soy sauce, lime juice, olive oil, garlic and spices. Add the tofu and turn to coat well. Let marinate for 30 minutes up to overnight, turning occasionally.
  3. When ready to cook, preheat a grill over medium-high heat. Remove tofu from marinade, letting excess drip off. Grill the strips for 3-4 minutes per side until grill marks appear and tofu is heated through.
  4. Serve grilled Cajun tofu on buns, in tacos or over salad. Enjoy!

4. Jerk “Chicken” Skewers

These Jerk “Chicken” Skewers from PopSugar use Butler Soy Curls to recreate the popular Caribbean marinated grilled chicken. The Soy Curls are soaked then tossed in a spicy blend of herbs and spices inspired by traditional Jamaican jerk seasoning. Grilling infuses smoky barbecue flavor into the Soy Curls for an authentic jerk chicken taste. Serve over rice or on creamy coconut-ranch coleslaw.

Ingredients:

  • 1 bag Butler Soy Curls
  • 1⁄4 cup vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon Jamaican jerk seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon black pepper
  • Wooden skewers, soaked in water 30 minutes

Instructions:

  1. Place soy curls in a bowl and cover with vegetable broth and soy sauce. Let hydrate for 10 minutes then drain and gently squeeze out excess liquid.
  2. In a zip top bag or baking dish, mix together olive oil, garlic and spices. Add soy curls and toss to coat evenly. Marinate for 30 minutes up to overnight.
  3. Preheat grill over medium-high heat. Thread soy curls tightly onto skewers. Grill for 4-6 minutes, flipping once, until grill marks appear.
  4. Serve jerk soy curl skewers with rice and veggies. Enjoy!

5. Grilled BBQ Tempeh

These sweet and savory Grilled BBQ Tempeh strips from Vegan Heaven are ooey-gooey with homemade barbecue sauce. Smoked paprika and maple syrup lend signature barbecue flavor that caramelizes beautifully on the grill. Tempeh gets a great char while staying thick and meaty. Make these better than chicken tempeh strips for burgers, sandwiches, tacos and more all summer long.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb tempeh
  • 1⁄2 cup ketchup
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon pepper

Instructions:

  1. Slice tempeh into 1⁄2 inch thick strips. Place in a shallow dish in a single layer.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the ketchup, maple syrup, olive oil, vinegar, soy sauce and spices until smooth. Reserve about 1/3 cup for serving.
  3. Pour the remaining sauce over the tempeh and turn to coat all over. Cover and marinate for 30 minutes up to overnight.
  4. When ready to cook, preheat grill over medium-high heat. Remove tempeh from marinade, letting excess drip off. Grill for 2-3 minutes per side, basting with extra sauce, until tempeh has nice grill marks.
  5. Serve BBQ tempeh warm with the reserved sauce for dipping. Enjoy on buns, in tacos or over greens.

6. Jamaican Jerk Jackfruit Skewers

These Jamaican Jerk Jackfruit Skewers from Lauren Toyota let you recreate the sweet spicy flavor of jerk chicken with meaty chunks of jackfruit. Turmeric and coriander add earthiness while allspice and cayenne bring the heat. Grilled pineapple chunks add juicy sweetness in each bite. Serve these over fluffy rice and beans for an island-inspired meal.

Ingredients:

  • 2 x 20 oz cans jackfruit, drained and rinsed
  • 1 fresh pineapple, cut into chunks
  • Wooden skewers, soaked 30 min
  • 1⁄4 cup soy sauce
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon Jamaican jerk seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Instructions:

  1. Slice jackfruit into 1-2 inch chunks. In a large bowl, mix together jackfruit and pineapple.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together soy sauce, lime juice, brown sugar, oil and spices. Pour marinade over fruit and stir to coat. Let sit for 30 minutes.
  3. Preheat grill over medium-high heat. Thread fruit alternately onto skewers. Grill for 6-8 minutes, turning occasionally, until jackfruit is lightly charred.
  4. Serve jerk jackfruit skewers over rice and beans. Enjoy!

7. Grilled Teriyaki Tofu

These Grilled Teriyaki Tofu skewers from Eating Bird Food infuse tofu with sweet and salty Japanese flavors. Tamari, maple syrup and sesame create an easy homemade teriyaki marinade that doubles as a sauce for serving. Grilling caramelizes the marinade into the tofu for irresistible results. Refreshing scallions and sesame seeds finish these skewers perfectly. They make an excellent meatless addition to outdoor dining.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb extra firm tofu, drained and pressed
  • 1⁄4 cup soy sauce or tamari
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • Wooden skewers, soaked in water

Instructions:

  1. Cut pressed tofu into 1-inch cubes. In a shallow dish, whisk together the tamari, maple syrup, oil, vinegar, garlic and ginger.
  2. Add tofu and turn to coat. Let marinate for 30 minutes up to overnight.
  3. When ready to cook, preheat grill over medium heat. Thread tofu onto skewers and grill for 8-10 minutes, turning occasionally, until heated through with grill marks.
  4. Serve teriyaki tofu skewers sprinkled with green onions and sesame seeds. Enjoy!

8. Grilled Harissa Tofu Skewers

These Grilled Harissa Tofu Skewers from Vegan Heaven infuse tofu with the enticing North African spice blend. Smoked paprika, cumin and chili peppers lend a robust flavor profile. The tofu gets charred on the grill while absorbing the incredible marinade. Garnish with mint, cilantro and lemon wedges for freshness. Pair with couscous salad or stuff into pita sandwiches.

Ingredients:

  • 14 oz extra firm tofu
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons harissa spice blend
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Chopped mint and cilantro
  • Lemon wedges
  • Metal or wood skewers

Instructions:

  1. Drain tofu and cut into 1-inch cubes. In a shallow dish, whisk together oil, harissa, garlic and lemon juice. Add tofu and turn to coat.
  2. Marinate for 30 minutes up to overnight, turning occasionally. Soak skewers in water during this time.
  3. Preheat grill over medium heat. Thread tofu onto skewers and grill for 6-8 minutes, flipping once, until tofu is lightly charred.
  4. Garnish grilled harissa tofu skewers with mint, cilantro and lemon wedges. Enjoy!

You May Also Like

About the Author: Staff Reporter