So much of our reference for grilling is based on big slabs of meat, sausages, and hamburgers that we frequently overlook how the subtle flavors imparted by grilling can transform the simplest fruits and vegetables.

The intense heat of the grill adds enticingly complex flavors to your food as it forms a wonderfully caramelized crust. Factor in the smoky char of the grill and it’s no surprise that  The New Vegetarian Grill is changing the way people are looking at their vegetables, not to mention their grills!

Meet Andrea Chesman

Andrea Chesman is a freelance writer, regional New England cooking expert, and an authority on healthy vegetarian cuisine.The original edition of The Vegetarian Grill was a 1998 James Beard Cookbook Award nominee and recipient of a 1999 NBBQA Award of Excellence. Buy The New Vegetarian Grill
With 250 recipes that range from the how to basics for perfectly grilled vegetable to complex, exotic, and innovative adaptations of restaurant classics, there really is something for every palate in The New Vegetarian Grill.  While it has many dishes that work perfectly as stand alone entrees, each recipe can also be used as a side dish to compliment that perfectly cooked steak, be it tuna, beef or lamb!

This is an earthy dish with an Italian take to it, so why fight the temptation to go Italian. A nice, slightly earthy yet bright bottle of Chianti would work wonders here and I think the 2006 Castello di Gabbiano Chianti Classico is a fine match.

Click here to download a printable PDF file of this recipe. Serves 4

4 large Portobello mushrooms
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
2 shallots, finely chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2/3 cup uncooked kasha (toasted buckwheat oats)
1 1/3 cups boiling water
1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
Freshly ground black pepper

1. Prepare a medium-hot fire in the grill.

2. Remove the stems from the mushrooms and finely chop. Brush the caps with olive oil.

3. Heat the 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the chopped mushroom stems, shallots, pepper, garlic, and kasha and cook, stirring, until the vegetables are softened and the kasha smells toasted, about 5 minutes. Add the water and salt. Return to a boil, cover, reduce the heat, and simmer until the liquid is absorbed and the kasha is tender, about 15 minutes. Season with more salt, if needed, and pepper.

4. Grill the mushrooms caps, gill side down, for 2 minutes. Turn and grill until tender and juicy throughout, about 5 minutes. Remove the mushrooms from the grill, mound the kasha mixture on top, and serve immediately.

Grilled tofu and green beans combine deliciously with rice noodles and a coconut milk sauce in this Thai-style curry.

Click here to download a printable PDF file of this recipe. Serves 4

This is a complex dish and needs a wine that can stand up to the assertive flavors of this dish. Riesling is a classic foil for spicy dishes and one that is just a touch sweet will stand up to this dish perfectly. Try the Kabinett from St. Urbans-Hof from the Ockfener Bockstein vineyard. It’s just a little sweet but light yet fruity.

One 14- to 16-ounce block tofu
Centers from 2 stalks lemongrass, chopped
3 garlic cloves
1 shallot, chopped
1/4 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves
One 1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon canola oil
1/4 teaspoon chili paste with garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
7 ounces rice noodles, cooked according to the package directions, or 2 to 3cups hot cooked white rice
One 14-ounce can light coconut milk
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon curry powder
8 ounces green beans, ends trimmed

1. Wrap the tofu in paper towels and squeeze gently to remove excess water. So we don’t wrap in a clean kitchen towel and weight it as in previous recipe? Pat dry. Slice horizontally into 3 slabs, then cut each slab in fourths.

2. Combine the lemongrass, garlic, shallot, cilantro, ginger, lime juice, oil, chili paste, and the 1/2 teaspoon salt in a blender and puree to form a paste. Scrape the paste into a 9 x 13-inch glass baking dish. Add the tofu and turn over to coat with the paste.

3. Prepare a medium-hot fire in the grill with a lightly oiled vegetable grill rack in place.

4. Combine the coconut milk, water, and curry powder in a small saucepan and heat over low heat.

5. Arrange the tofu on the grill rack. Add the green beans to the paste remaining in the baking dish and toss to coat. Grill the tofu until browned and crusty, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Remove and keep warm. Transfer the beans to the grill rack. Grill, tossing frequently, until the beans are tender and browned, 7 to 8 minutes.

6. Meanwhile, scrape out any remaining paste and add to the coconut milk mixture. Season with salt.

7. To serve, divide the rice noodles among 4 bowls. Top with the tofu and green beans. Pour the coconut milk mixture over the top and serve.

Try these perfect pairings

2006 Castello di Gabbiano Chianti Classico
A great match for Kasha Stuffed Portobellos - an earthy dish with an Italian take to it (so why fight the temptation to go Italian?) This slightly earthy Chianti will work wonders.

Ockfener Bockstein Riesling Kabinett St. Urbans-Hof 2008
Try this Riesling with Grilled Tofu and Green Beans with Curried Rice Noodles. Riesling is a classic foil for spicy dishes, and one that's just a touch sweet will stand up to this dish flawlessly.