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Veggie tailgating

In a meat-eating world, being a vegetarian can be hard enough. During football season, the tailgating scene at Raymond James Stadium can be an absolute nightmare for vegetarians, especially those new to the lifestyle.

Walking through a parking lot with grill after grill loaded up with hot dogs, bratwursts and burgers might leave vegetarians feeling that a bag of SunChips at a friend’s tailgate is their only option.

Of course, they could get their own tailgating group’s grill master to cook up some easy “heat and eat” favorites like Original Vegan Boca Burgers, Morningstar Farms Veggie Dogs or Gardenburger BBQ Riblets. Or they could branch out and decide that just because it’s a tailgate doesn’t mean they need something on a bun.

So, dare to be different and tempt fellow tailgaters with some creative, meat-free grilled favorites. The great thing about grilling up vegetables and meat substitutes is that there is no wait for them to reach a safe temperature like there is with meat.

Oil the grill and place aluminum foil down first so that the meat substitutes don’t stick. Don’t leave them on the grill for long, however. The goal is to warm them and perhaps add some nice grill marks, but they will dry out easily if kept on the fire for more than 20 minutes or so, according to the Whole Foods web site.

Kebabs are a great, and somewhat fancy, alternative to veggie burgers. Replace the meat with marinated tofu, and after two minutes on the grill you will have delicious vegetables and protein on a stick, hot and ready to eat.

Tofu, a vegetarian’s best friend, picks up whatever flavor it is marinated with, such as  teriyaki sauce or garlic, and is packed with protein. Many varieties of tofu, including pre-marinated, can be found in the produce section at most grocery stores.

Corn on the cob, as well as other vegetables, is quick and easy to grill up and delicious to eat.

Web sites such as and offer a variety of vegetarian-friendly recipes for a vegetarian tailgate experience.