Here are some tips for vegetarian grilling. Most are from Lucy Moll and Vegetarian Times; others are from Annie Somerville of Greens restaurant, Nancy Longo of Pierpoint restaurant, and the Baltimore-based Vegetarian Resource Group.
*To prevent vegetables from falling into the coals, place them on a grilling screen (a baking sheet with holes in it, available at kitchenware stores and some kitchenware departments), or on skewers.
*Group vegetables together by cooking time (mushrooms, peppers, leeks and onions can be grilled in about 5 minutes; zucchini, corn, potatoes, sweet onions and sweet potatoes take about 10 minutes). Or cut them in pieces that will facilitate cooking -- mushrooms thick and potatoes thin, for instance.
*Smaller vegetables seem to be especially good when grilled -- pattypan squash, Japanese eggplant and baby zucchini are examples.
*Make sure the grill is really hot before starting the vegetables.
*For added flavor, toss herb stems directly on the coals, place lid on grill and don't open for several minutes.
*If food is chilled, bring it to room temperature before grilling.
*Some vegetables, such as peppers and potatoes, can be grilled in advance and served at room temperature.
*Brush vegetables lightly with oil to keep them from sticking to the grill. Eggplant and mushrooms seem to need a bit more oil than other vegetables.
*Make croutons on the grill by brushing slices of bread with garlic oil and grilling; cut into squares and toss with salad.
*Corn can be grilled in its husks -- open them up and remove the silks, then close and tie with a strip of husk; place on the grill and cook till the husks are blackened. (Some people soak the corn after removing the silks, so the husks don't burn as readily.)
*When grilling tofu, use the firm variety. Cut into thick slices and press, layered with paper towels, between two heavy plates for 20 minutes to remove excess moisture. It will hold up better on the grill.
*Be inventive. Almost any food tastes good grilled. If you think something might be good, try it.
For more information on vegetarian life and diet:
*Vegetarian Resource Group, a nonprofit educational institution. Publishes the bi-monthly Vegetarian Journal, as well as books, cookbooks and educational materials, supports vegetarian groups, sponsors conferences and gatherings. Brochures include "Vegetarianism in a Nutshell," and "Vegetarian Nutrition for Teenagers." For a brochure or to request information, send a stamped, self-addressed envelope to: Vegetarian Resource Group, P.O. Box 1463, Baltimore, Md. 21203. Or call (410) 366-8343.
*Vegetarian Times, a monthly magazine published in Oak Park Ill. Available at natural food stores and some newsstands and bookstores. To subscribe for 11 issues and one complimentary issue, send $17.95 to Vegetarian Times, P.O. Box 446, Mount Morris, Ill. 61054-8081.