Grilling out for vegetarians

Published 12:09 pm Thursday, June 11, 2015

I’m not really big on fake meats. I never really was much of a meat eater to begin with, so I haven’t felt much of a need for meat substitutes in my meals. Especially the longer I’m vegetarian. I really just like vegetables and beans and nuts so that’s what I prefer to eat.

However, we all have our weaknesses. Guilty pleasures, foods that are a little more processed that what we typically eat. For me that generally comes in two forms: soy chorizo and Tofurky sausages. I don’t know if it’s that summer is here and there is a smell of BBQs and cookouts in the air or the fact that I’ve been working late and traveling with little time for prep, but I’ve been on a real Tofurky kick lately. It’s a convenient staple in a pinch. Tofurky is a line of natural, soy based vegan sandwich meats, sausages, and most popularly, their Thanksgiving stuffed roast. I’m a particular fan of the Italian sausage and the beer brats.

Just last week I had a non veg friend over for dinner and decided to fry up some of their Italian sausage because she’d never had anything like it before. She loved it! It just has such a nice spice and texture to it. Plus, the sausage holds together in a frying pan or on the grill, browning and crisping perfectly. If you’ve ever tried to incorporate vegetarian sausages to your meals, then you know that this is a feat! Tofurky is a great low fat and cholesterol free alternative for anyone watching what they eat, not just vegans and vegetarians!

Now that it’s summer and you never know when an impromptu cookout is going to pop up, it’s a good idea to keep the beer brats in the freezer at all times. I usually thaw them in beer then either simmer them in about an inch of beer in a frying pan or boil for about 10 minutes in the beer and then grill. Top the brat with sauerkraut and mustard and you’re good to go! I usually pair with a side of my Jalapeno Potato Salad, some Super Spicy Corn and Quinoa Salad, and green beans.

It’s just good planning to keep a package or two of these along with a couple of cheap beers around. Having some frozen staples can really help you keep from eating garbage that you don’t want to be eating and from going hungry. I was at a BBQ once where literally the only vegetable was a serrano pepper, so I had to make myself a serrano sandwich on a dry white bun with and bloody mary chaser. Needless to say, my stomach was not entirely thrilled with this menu. Don’t let this happen to you! Tofurky products are available at the Martin’s stores throughout Michiana, and of course they will be available at Whole Foods, Apple Valley, or any other health food grocery.

For recipe ideas and photos of how I use these products, follow me on Instagram and Twitter as @katshotcakes. Recipes for the side dishes mentioned are available on https: and my site:

Kat Barry, a St. Joseph, Michigan native, is owner of Kat’s Hot Cakes vegan catering, and co author of “The New Chicago Diner Cookbook: Meat Free Recipes from America’s Veggie Diner.” She also develops recipes for, where you can find over 30 of her vegan instructional cooking videos. She is also a certified yoga instructor. Kat currently resides in Chicago, and in her free time she enjoys practicing yoga, sampling local spirits, listening to live music, and getting outdoors. Follow @katshotcakes on twitter. Kat can be reached via email at: