Introduction: Kitchen Grill Dinner – Paleo and Vegetarian

About: Inspired by my cat Chili, who is full of fun and energy, I like to share about food and other home crafts with a new twist of 'chili'-fun. (This user was previously called Snowball10)

A full-fledged, grill-themed dinner that can be made in your kitchen and is suitable for both paleo and vegetarian foodies.

I am a vegetarian, but I wanted to challenge myself to make something that was vegetarian AND paleo at the same time. . . . Which means meat, legumes, grains, and dairy are off the list. (That makes the meal vegan and gluten-free as well.) I was in for a challenge. . . .

After cooking this meal, I am actually surprised at what you can make with just vegetables and fruit (supplemented with a little nuts and seeds). And I even skipped the salad!

I hope this instructable will inspire you to try making a natural, un-proccessed meal sometime. Enjoy!

(This menu serves 4 people)

Step 1: BBQ Mushrooms

These BBQ Mushrooms are meaty and chewy with a deeply flavored sauce that is surprising for a meatless dish.

To make the recipe, you will need

2 c. dried shiitake mushrooms
2 c. cold water
1/3 c. tomato paste
2 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 dash cayenne
1/4 tsp. liquid smoke
1 tsp. molasses
1 Tbsp. chia seeds, thickener
1 Tbsp. olive oil, coconut oil, or palm oil, optional

Rinse the mushrooms and then soak them in 2 c. cold water overnight. (If you are in a hurry as I was, you can soak them for 30 min. in hot water, but they will be much chewier this way – so soak them overnight if you can.)

Add the remaining ingredients to the mushrooms and stir well.

Pour everything into a 7 x 11 in oven-safe dish and bake in the middle or top of the oven at 400° F for 45 min.

I just served this casserole as it was with the vegetables on the side, but I realized that it would be perfect on top of cauliflower rice (learn how to make it here).

Step 2: Baked Carrots

The carrots were perfect with the BBQ Mushrooms! To make them, you will need

4 medium carrots
1 tsp. olive oil, coconut oil, or palm oil
3/4 tsp. sea salt

Peel the carrots and cut them into 1/3 x 1/3 in. thick sticks.

Drop the carrot sticks into boiling water and cook for 5 min. Drain well.

Toss the carrots on a baking sheet with the oil and salt. Bake in the middle or top of the oven at 400° F for about 30 min. or until tender.

Step 3: Grilled Vegetables

These grilled vegetables could be substituted with or supplemented by a salad if desired.

4 small sweet red peppers
2 zucchinis
2 red onions

Wash the vegetables and peel the onion. Remove the seeds from the bell peppers and cut them into wide strips. Cut each zucchini into three pieces and cut each piece into four wedges. Cut the onions into wedges as well.

Place the vegetables on an oiled oven rack and bake in the bottom of the oven at 400° F for about 30 min. or until the vegetables have grill marks and are tender. Turn the vegetables over about halfway through the baking time.

I found that these vegetables were too charred for my taste, and I would have like some salt on them, so next time I think I would just toss them with a drizzle of oil and a dash of salt and bake them like the carrots.

Step 4: Grilled Eggplant Tongues

Make these just before eating, as they cook (and become cold) very fast. You can easily double the recipe, as one recipe makes only 6 slices, but some people may not be fans of eggplant, so it might be best to start with a smaller portion if you are unsure. You will need

1 Asian eggplant
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. honey (not vegan) or agave syrup
1 tsp. tahini (sesame paste)
1 tsp. lemon juice
1 Tbsp. olive oil, coconut oil, or palm oil

Wash the eggplant and cut off the top. Slice it lengthwise into slices a little less than 1/4 in. thick.

Mix the remaining ingredients and dip each eggplant slice into the marinade.

Place the eggplant slices on an oiled oven rack and bake in the bottom of the oven at 400° F for about 2 min. on each side. If the oven is not available, you can also cook the eggplant slices in a skillet on meduim-high heat, but you will not get the grill marks that way.

No matter if you bake the eggplant or cook it in a skillet, make sure not to cook it too long. I baked my eggplant for about 10 min., which was way too long as it became totally mushy, and I prefer it when it is still firm but tender.

Step 5: Dessert: Mango Parfaits

This dessert is light and refreshing and a perfect ending to any summer meal. The dried blueberries add a nice chewiness and beautiful color contrast. The cream must be prepared in advance, but the trifle is easy and quick to assemble when needed.

You will need

3 fresh mangoes, peeled and diced
dried blueberries (or fresh)
slivered almonds

For the cream:
1/4 c. raw cashews
1/2 c. coconut milk
1 1/4 c. unsweetened almond milk, divided
1/2 Tbsp. agar powder
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/8 tsp. sea salt
1 small splash lemon juice
honey (not vegan) or agave or maple syrup, to taste

To make the cream, blend the cashews and coconut milk in a blender till smooth. Simmer 1/2 c. milk with the agar about 2 min., stirring occasionally. Add the agar mixture to the blender together with the remaining milk and other ingredients. Blend till completely smooth and then refrigerate at least three hours or overnight.

To make the parfaits, first, stir the cream till smooth. Then, layer the ingredients in four serving glasses as follows: mango, a few blueberries, cream, a sprinkle of almonds, mango, a few blueberries, cream, a sprinkle of almonds, and a few blueberries.

Serve the parfaits immediately.

If you do not have mangoes, peaches and even berries will also work perfectly in this dessert. Also try changing up the dried fruit and nuts.

Step 6: Enjoy!

Now, you are ready to serve a complete paleo and vegetarian meal to you friends or family! Please post pictures if you do try these recipes!

Also, if you enjoyed this instructable, please vote for me in the Paleo contest!

You may also want to follow me on my blog Creative Vegan Cooking.

Thank you for reading!

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