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jerk-style veggie grill with greens + mango ginger sauce

Let’s talk about dreams for a second. I have huge ones and I’m going to revel in a particular vision right here, so just indulge me for a second. Some day, I hope to roll up to a respectable newsstand and lay eyes on an equally respectable cooking publication, emblazoned with the predictable “SUMMER GRILLING ISSUE” thing and whoa, there won’t be a greased-up burger or a sauce-smothered mountain of ribs on the cover. Am I waiting on a new publication entirely/looking for (plant-based) love in all the wrong places? These timely summer volumes always have some veggie options hiding within, and great ones most certainly, but that predominant fire = meat mindset is old hat to me (stating the obvious for the win). Hippie dippy dreams much? I’ve moved on I suppose.

And by that, I mean that I’ve made you something really deluxe for your own barbecue adventures (onwards + upwards!). I do love some simple grilled vegetables with a nice bit of oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, herbs, whatevs. They’re a fuss-free addition to dinner that has everyone rolling with the health wave. You can sip a very cold beer (or an equally cold kombucha) while lazily flipping them for even char. Everything about that is completely right. But I wanted to make something main course-appropriate that fed into my health warrior inclinations. Cauliflower, tempeh, a jerk-ish marinade, ginger-mango-miso dressing and a crucial grilled greens method to the rescue.

Both the marinade and the mango sauce have an extra few ingredients, but I found a lot of them were pantry items for me (and there’s overlap between the two recipes). And the sauce is so worth it–it’s sweet, salty, ginger-spicy and has a lovely not-too-thick consistency–basically tasty and fitting on everything it touches. The grilled greens method is something I picked up when I was interning at a restaurant. The greens would go for a dip in a soy, red wine, herb + spice mix, go right to the grill, smothered in an old sheet pan and two minutes later: perfect tender greens. I kind of massage mine in a lime-y soy mix rather than dunking them outright. The method speaks to laid back dinners outside for sure.

Anyway, a little preparation on your part means dinner made entirely on the grill and some chill time outside afterward, which I’m pretty sure is something we’re all after in these warmer days. I don’t know about you, but I’ve been pestering my man about a beach trip for a while, and all the plans that I could possibly dream up for the next few months are kind of hazy and sunset-hued. My cruiser’s been in for a little tune up and is riding very smoothly. Feels like we’re right on the edge of summer’s gifts, right? Soak it in, all :)

jerk-style veggie grill w/ tempeh, greens and mango-ginger-miso sauce
serves: 4
notes: Any vegetable is fair game here. I chose cauliflower mostly to see what it was like on the grill. Also, I realize this jerk marinade mix is probably not authentic, hence my use of the word “style” in there. Let’s let the authenticity thing go for a bit? K THX.

mango-ginger-miso sauce ingredients:
1/2 cup diced fresh mango
1 small shallot, peeled + rough chopped
1-2 inch piece of ginger, peeled + rough chopped
1 tsp light miso
2 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp maple syrup/agave/raw honey
1 tsp hot toasted sesame oil
1/4 cup grapeseed oil
salt + pepper

jerk-style marinade ingredients:
2 tbsp grapeseed oil
juice of 1 lime
splash of tamari
4 green onions, rough chopped (+ extra to garnish if you like)
1 hot pepper (I used a jalapeño because dang those scotch bonnets are hot), seeded + rough chopped
2 cloves of garlic, peeled + rough chopped
1 inch piece of ginger, peeled + rough chopped
5 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves removed
1 tbsp maple syrup
1/2 tsp ground allspice
salt + pepper

grilled greens + veggies:
1 head of cauliflower, cut into thick slices
1 block of tempeh, cut into triangles
as much cleaned greens as you want to eat (spinach, chard, collards + kale are all good)
tamari soy sauce
grapeseed oil
lime juice
salt + pepper
cooked quinoa, rice, millet etc for serving (I had some black lentils + quinoa in the fridge)
sesame seeds for garnish

Make the dressing: throw all of the dressing ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend/process until a creamy and smooth mixture is achieved. Store in a resealable container and set aside, keeping it in the fridge until you’re ready to use it.

Make the marinade: throw all the ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend/process until a smooth puree is achieved. Place the cauliflower and tempeh pieces in a large ceramic dish and pour the marinade over top. Let it sit in this mix for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat the grill to high. In a large bowl, toss the greens with a splash of oil, some tamari and lime juice to taste, salt and pepper. Set the bowl aside. Oil the grill lightly and place the marinated cauliflower and tempeh on top. Grill until char marks appear on both sides, about 2-5 minutes per side, depending. Transfer the tempeh and cauliflower to an area of the grill that doesn’t put them in direct contact with flame as they finish. In a general way, I find the cauliflower benefits from a bit of extra time. Don’t be finicky with them. Letting them sit means a lower occurrence of sticking. In the last moments of the cauliflower and tempeh grilling, place the greens onto a spot on the grill, trying to keep them tightly together. Put a heavy pot lid down on top of the greens and let them cook until slightly wilted, about 1-2 minutes. Lightly toss them once to promote even wilting. Remove everything from the grill and serve with mango sauce, cooked quinoa/rice etc. Garnish with sesame seeds and extra green onions.

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Kathryn05/06/2013 - 4:38 am

Such a great summer meal, love all those mango and ginger flavours that dance across your palette. Sounds so good.

Elenore Bendel Zahn05/06/2013 - 5:49 am

Oh LADY! I l-o-v-e that dream! Urgh! No more greasy ribs on front pages!!

Ps. you are seriously one of the absolutely most talented food photographers I know!

Harriet05/06/2013 - 6:46 am

Grilled cauliflower and tempeh sounds absolutely dee-licious! And anything with miso has me sold. I’m definitely going to be giving those sauces a whirl soon (even though it’s getting to be winter here in the Southern hemisphere!).

Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar05/06/2013 - 7:46 am

This sounds sooo good! Can’t wait to try!

Dreams are worth chasing. And good food worth creating.

Shelly05/06/2013 - 8:14 am

Oh my goodness – I love everything about this! The idea of enjoying a plant-based grill magazine makes me giddy. Cooking & eating outside (whether it be grilling, picnics, or camping) are some of my all-time favorite things to do. I love the trick you mentioned about dipping the greens in a marinade / sauce before sticking on the grill!

This looks like the most wonderful grilled meal! The cauliflower, especially, strikes my eye, as I consider myself to have a slight addiction to the stuff. That sauce sounds so lovely and flavorful. I’m going to try this for dinner this weekend!!

Sophia05/06/2013 - 9:54 am

Amen to that dream Laura! Besides, isn’t it mainly women who buy these magazines and isn’t it mainly women who always ensure there are some veggies at each barbecue? Besides, grilled halloumi is awesome, so are grilled peppers and aubergine, heck even grilled pizza and grilled pineable are amazing, totally no need to only ever show a slab of meat on the grill (how boring anyway!).

And yes, your pictures, as always, are so stunning – not just the quality of the pictures and the food styling but also how you select the pictures and how you compose them for each post!

Claire05/06/2013 - 10:27 am

Soak it all in, indeed :) Looks and sounds beautiful. I’ve never tried to grill my greens before–may be the experiment of the summer!

Christina05/06/2013 - 10:43 am

I agree, I dream of grilled hippy foods that aren’t just a soapy tasting portabello or a boxed veggie burger. And yes all that’s on these summer magazines are beefy photo’s of greasy burgers that seem to appeal to the consumer? But I digress. You’re photo’s are much more drool worthy, as is this delicious recipe!

patti05/06/2013 - 10:47 am

love your recipes, but why aren’t they printer friendly?

Ashley05/06/2013 - 11:06 am

Homemade sauces are so worth the extra effort. Even though you say the recipes call for quite a few ingredients, there’s nothing crazy on the list that doesn’t already live in my pantry/fridge. I am loving the sound of this entire meal and your vision of seeing piles of BBQ veggie meals on the cover of summer grilling magazines. I’m right there with you. Lovely photos…but that is a given over here. :)

Caitlin05/06/2013 - 12:04 pm

yes to everything in this post! loving your mentality and this delicious main-course recipe. now i just need a grill :P

Laura Wright05/06/2013 - 12:07 pm

Hi Patti,
I haven’t found a recipe plugin that I’m happy with aesthetically yet, so copy+paste into a word program will have to do for now! :)
-L

Julie05/06/2013 - 12:26 pm

I can’t believe my luck in getting this recipe today – my kitchen is being gutted and the only cooking methods I have access to right now are the slow cooker (bleh) and the BBQ. I was just this morning moaning about how tired I am of raw greens. (I love them, but still – enough!) What a great method for grilling the greens! I’m trying this tonight! Yay

Eileen05/06/2013 - 1:50 pm

This definitely has me itching to break out the grill on the next sunny weekend! Grilled veg are the best. And that pineapple! YAY.

Eva | Kosmas05/06/2013 - 2:37 pm

This sounds so delicious and refreshing!

sarah05/06/2013 - 4:09 pm

*gorgeous*. Seriously, every week your photos get more amazing.
And, I went out this morning and bought all the ingredients for this. Tomorrow night it’s on! My husband is a mango-ginger-tofu-miso-kind of guy. :)

Kristen05/06/2013 - 5:04 pm

I totally dig the Aritzia scarf in one of your shots. I own two, ha!

Laura Wright05/06/2013 - 5:11 pm

Kristen! Goodness you have good taste. It’s my favourite scarf. We used it as a picnic blanket the other day in a pinch :)
-L

sara forte05/06/2013 - 6:50 pm

“Lets let the authenticity thing go for a bit K TNX.” YES! style-sauce, I like it so much. I’m a big fan of any veg on the grill, and find that the after-sauce is what matters most. That shot down in the blender is fab and I can’t wait to try it with that creamy mango deal going on.

Jocelyn (Grandbaby Cakes)05/06/2013 - 8:33 pm

I have never seen veggies look so delicious!

Food love#1 | Naive cook cooks05/06/2013 - 9:45 pm

[…] 4) Veggie grill by The first mess […]

tara06/06/2013 - 9:30 am

I’m liking this a lot. Making a grocery list now.

Katie @ figgyandsprout06/06/2013 - 10:38 am

Oh yum! Two things I’ve been living without in Ireland – mango and grilling. I’m hoping to get my fix of both when on holiday in NYC next week. You can be sure I’m giving this recipe a try too ;)

carey06/06/2013 - 5:24 pm

Sending you an AMEN, SISTER from me and my parents. The grill back home is reserved almost exclusively for veggies. (Occasionally my aunt and uncle will visit and my uncle will use it to grill chicken or a burger, and then my dad will clean it like a lunatic.) My mom has been obsessed with her kabob baskets since she bought them a million years ago, so they grill pretty much exclusively in those. I was trying to explain cauliflower “steaks” to my dad not too long ago, and he looked equal parts confused and intrigued. Next time I visit home, I make this happen. (As owning a grill in Burlington is a fool’s errand, unless you chain it up all junkyard dog–like.)

Also, I’m totally incorporating “jerk-style” into my vocabulary for use on non-food-related occasions.

petal and plume07/06/2013 - 1:01 pm

me oh my. this recipe is all kinds of wonderful.
xx
http://petalandplume.blogspot.ca/

MANDY@WAITINGONMARTHA07/06/2013 - 7:43 pm

Different and delicious! Such a great recipe, especially for summer!

Kate08/06/2013 - 9:12 am

Hear! Hear!! With the current Saveur issue staring at me, a far too big steak on the cover with the perfect grill marks, that thought crossed my mind more than once as I looked at it in the stack of mail when it arrived. There is SO much glory on the grill in the meat world, and vegetables are rated as side dishes, pushed to the corners of pages and people’s minds to be forgotten.

I adore grilling vegetables. And fruit. The purchase of a cast iron plate for the grill helps tremendously, keeping pieces from falling through grates and making it simple to grill everything for fajitas, asparagus (all the time) thin strips of summer squash, the making for guacamole (helloooooo grilled avocado…. you thrill me!) and of course, all manner of berries, pineapple…. oh my.

I just ate breakfast, but I’m already hungry for a grilled dinner.

Gemma08/06/2013 - 10:47 pm

This looks incredible! Really creative and makes simple vegetables looks triumphant! One question though: I live in Australia and unfortunately mangos are out of season. Could you recommend an alternative to use in the miso sauce recipe?
Thanks so much. Your site is an inspiration x

Irina @ wandercrush08/06/2013 - 11:02 pm

Beautiful as usual, Laura! I’m a sucker for jerk marinades, and I imagine it’s wonderful on grilled Brassica!

Laura Wright09/06/2013 - 8:27 am

Hi Gemma! Thanks for your kindness. Since you don’t have mango available, you could always go to any type of stone fruit if you have that. Peach, plums, apricots and the like. Also, the original concept that I worked from for the dressing had carrots as the base, so you could always use the same amount of chopped carrot as long as your blender is powerful enough. Hope that helps :)
-L

hungryandfrozen13/06/2013 - 2:50 pm

Aha, but see – you don’t need a magazine when you have blogs like this! (But I do hear what you’re saying all the same. It’d be nice to be provided with the inspiration from above, as well as having to come up with it yourself.) The flavours in this sound so compelling- mango! Maple! Tamari! Miso! I want to try it immediately.

Gwen @SimplyHealthyFamily17/06/2013 - 1:59 pm

Ah yes, prep time totally worth chill time after grilling. I had to drool through that mango/miso sauce for a few minutes, love at first site!

Christine18/06/2013 - 4:01 pm

Laura, you create the most outstanding sauces, dressings, and marinades that I’ve ever tasted. Having always been vegan, I used to be a plain-vegetables girl, preferring salad without dressing, stir-fry without paste, pasta without sauce, and the like. My friends teased me for that, but I believe that I was well justified: my finicky preference was, without doubt, born from the frustration of too many gluey restaurant sauces and watery, reeking jarred marinades. Earlier this year, though, I found your site and decided that I trusted your voice and, thus, decided to give sauces a second chance. Woah, am I ever grateful. Your lime peanut sauce is now in weekly rotation, your sesame chili lime dressing has its own designated mason jar in my kitchen, and last night when I made this jerk-style marinade and wanted to climb on the roof and shout your praise. Thanks.

Maybe you should package and sell your own sauce/dressing/marinade line.

Laura Wright19/06/2013 - 7:03 am

Christine, your comment was the best. Thrilled that this jerk marinade worked for you and even more excited that you’ve tried some other stuff from the site. It’s great to be on the sauce, right? ;)
xo Laura

Amy | Minimally Invasive22/06/2013 - 7:55 am

Came over here from Pinterest and just wanted to say how much I’m looking forward to making this! It’s sounds entirely fabulous. Also? Your photos are gorgeous. :)

[…] and “meat” are inseparable? Have a look at Lauras veggie burger or the jerk-style veggie grill and be convinced […]

Nikolina28/06/2013 - 2:03 pm

Laura,

I seem to be one of the few who comment AFTER they cooked the dish, so I am always happy to report that you are once again, a genius! I have a vegan husband who is not the fondest of cauliflower. He will eat it, but not with cheerful excitement. Ditto to cooked spinach. Well, yesterday it was all “Mmmm..” and “Oh, this is so good!” So THANK YOU! It was truly delicious and creative and instantly made it to my “to be cooked again” list.
I accidentally doubled the mango dressing recipe and wish that I doubled the marinade as well, to let it naturally spread all over tempeh and get into little nooks and crannies of cauliflower, instead of me rubbing it in.
Other than that I have nothing to add! It was great!

Laura Wright29/06/2013 - 8:16 am

Nikolina! Thanks so much for making this and letting me know how it went. I love it when people report back! Thrilled that you and your man liked it :)

Katie @ Produce on Parade02/07/2013 - 1:22 pm

Wow, this is so beautiful. I just bought a new grill for my husband on our 1 year anniversary so we will have to make this! :) Thanks for sharing! Cheers

[…] TO TRY: 15-Minute Brussels Sprout & Tempeh Stir-Fry Jerk-Style Veggie Grill Buffalo Tempeh […]

Melissa28/07/2014 - 12:46 pm

I am absolutely in love with the colors in this post and can’t wait to try the recipe! Beautifully done!

[…] This Jerk-Style Veggie & Tempeh recipe from The First Mess is a recipe from last summer but I still find myself topping my grilled […]

[…] Jerk-Style Veggie Grill […]

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