The BBQ might be considered the domain of carnivores, but vegans can get just as much enjoyment out of it. Chef Doug McNish has some tips for vegans looking to do some summertime grilling.

Stuffed Portobello Caps

Makes enough for 4 main

Equipment needed:

  • Preheat grill to high
  • Food processor
  • Blender

Ingredients for mushrooms:

  • 4 medium sized Portobello mushroom caps, stems removed
  • 2 to 3 tbsp extra virgin live oil
  • ½ tsp fine sea salt
  • ½ tsp freshly cracked black pepper

Filling ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp neutral oil, such as grape seed or sunflower
  • 2 cups thinly sliced white onion
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 2 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1-1/2 tbsp chili powder
  • 1-1/2 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp chipotle powder
  • 1 head green kale, thinly sliced stems removed
  • 1-1/2 cups cooked black beans (see Tips, below)
  • 1/4 cup wheat free tamari
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 1-1/2 cups water
  • 3 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ¼ tsp fine sea salt

Instructions for the mushrooms:

  1. In a mixing bowl, toss the mushroom caps with oil, salt and pepper until well combined. Place on preheated grill, gills down, and cook until soft and golden brown, about 4 to 5 minutes. Flip, and continue to cook until soft and golden on the next side, about 4 to 5 more minutes. Once cooked in the middle, set aside in a bowl until cool enough to handle, about 5 to 6 minutes.

Instructions for the filling:

  1. In a pot, heat oil on medium heat. Add onions and salt and cook, stirring frequently, until lightly caramelized, about 10 to 12 minutes. Add garlic, chili powder, cumin and chipotle powder. Cook, stirring frequently until spices are toasted and fragrant, about 2 to 3 minutes.
  2. Add thinly sliced kale, black beans, tamari and nutritional yeast. Cook, stirring frequently, until kale is wilted and most of the liquid has evaporated, about 5 to 6 minutes.
  3. In a blender, combine cashews, water, lemon juice and salt. Blend at high speed until mixture is smooth and creamy, stir into kale, onion and black bean mixture until well combined. Process half of mixture in a food processor until smooth. You will need to se a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides of the machine as necessary. Transfer to a mixing bowl. Process remaining mixture till smooth.

To assemble:

  1. Lay grilled Portobello mushrooms on a clean work surface.
  2. Fill each mushroom with mixture and spread as necessary. Large mushrooms will require about 1/2 cup of mixture, small mushrooms will require about 1/4 to 1/3 cup mixture. Serve immediately or store refrigerated for up to 5 days.


  • You may use canned black beans with no salt added, or cook your own from scratch for this recipe.
  • You can Make the mushrooms and filling up ahead of time, an sort them refrigerated. To reheat, place whole mushroom cap on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, in a preheated oven at 400°F and bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until hot in the centre.


Grilled Kale

This recipe illustrates a simple marinate to apply to kale for grilling. You may double or triple this recipe as needed.

Makes enough for 2 heads of kale, approx 10 portions


  • 2 heads of green kale
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 2 tsp lemon zest
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt


  1. In mixing bowl coat the whole leaves of kale with the olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, yeast, oregano, chili powder and salt. Transfer to an airtight container and store refrigerated for up to 2 days.


  • Do not grill the kale too much as the leaves will easily burn


Dirty Brown Rice

Makes enough for 8 main course portions


  • ½ cup neutral cooking oil such as grape seed or sunflower
  • 1 cup finely diced white onion
  • 1 cup large dice red pepper
  • 1/4 cup chili powder
  • 1-1/2 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1-1/2 tsp sweet paprika
  • 2 tbsp minced garlic
  • 2 cups chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tsp lime zest
  • 4 cups short grain brown rice
  • 8 cups (2L) water
  • 1 tbsp fine sea salt
  • 1-1/2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice


  1. In a large pot, heat oil on medium high heat. Add onion and red peppers; cook stirring frequently until lightly golden, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add chili powder, cumin, oregano and paprika. Cook, stirring constantly, for 2 to 3 minutes to cook the spices out. Add garlic and cook 1 to 2 minutes or until fragrant and soft.
  2. Add chopped tomatoes and lime zest. Cook, stirring constantly for 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Add rice and stir well to combine all ingredients. Add water, salt and lemon juice. Bring to a boil over high heat without a lid. Once mixture has come to a boil, stir once and place a tight fitting lid on top. Cook on low heat for 45 minutes. Remove lid and stir once or twice. Set aside so rice can swell and absorb any remaining liquid, about 5 minutes. Serve immediately or allow to cool and store refrigerated for up to 5 days.