Being a vegetarian at a typical meat-centric backyard grilling party can be an awfully lonely and alienating experience. Even if you're lucky enough to have friends who are willing to "accommodate" you and grill up a few portobello mushroom burgers, despite their assurances to the contrary (e.g., "We just really like mushrooms on our burgers anyway"), you know that they're going out of their way for you. And maybe you don't want to be "that kind of vegetarian." At worst, however, you may just go home hungry. And that's the worst feeling of all.
Plus, depending on your prior relationship with meat (assuming you had one), the whole affair might just amount to torture. If you used to like eating meat, but gave it up for ethical or health reasons, you might just find your mouth watering uncontrollably at the nearly mind-controlling aromas issuing forth from the grill. And if you never liked meat at all, you may just be holding your nose for the sake of social graces.
So why not throw your own party and invite all your carnivore friends over? With these wonderful recipes to choose from, it's just about guaranteed that you'll be able to mix and match appetizers, mains, sides, and desserts into a customized menu that will appeal to all your guests. Who knows? Maybe some of them will switch over. The benefits of a vegetarian diet, according to Vandana Sheth, R.D., CDE, registered dietitian, and representative for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, include a decreased risk for heart disease, diabetes, and some types of cancer.
And carnivores — before you click off and find something else to read, we'd like to tell you the following: This menu contains real food. There isn't any Tofurkey, xanthan gum, or weird sugar substitute to be found anywhere in this roundup.
Will Budiaman is the Recipe Editor at The Daily Meal. Follow him on Twitter @WillBudiaman.