The summer is upon us, which means gorgeous afternoon sun and long evenings with family and friends. If only it was that consistent. Although, whatever the weather this time of year we are always keen to dust off the BBQ and get out the utensils.
As a vegetarian, however, these lovely summer occasions are very often something to cheer, but can also be something to fear. Our carnivore colleagues have no problem slapping beef burgers and pork sausages on the BBQ to get things going. This causes us a slight problem, if you’re vegetarian or vegan it can be easy to feel left out of the barbecue fun.
But your diet choices should not stand between you and delicious food, cold drinks and a delightful occasion with all who attend. Sizzling barbecues are not all about beef burgers, sausages and chicken skewers, especially when us vegetarians are around.
Always let the host know about your diet of choice, or even take a perfectly prepped homemade vegetarian dish with you to share. Not only are you catering to your own veggie needs but not many others will be bringing tasty dishes to share, you will be a hit from the start.
There are a wide range of mains, sides and salads that either you or the welcoming hosts can be aware of, quite simply there are no excuses during this time of year.
BBQ Best Bits
Take away your own BBQ anxieties by simply guaranteeing that you will be greeted with a grill loaded with veggie options. The paranoia of not knowing what you will be served can spoil an occasion, or certainly the lead up to one. The not knowing is not coming from a selfish grandiose point of view, but rather a concern for when attending a BBQ event what you can or can’t eat, what’s wrong with that?!
I have attended many barbeques in my life and I am pleased to say that the tide is changing away from “salad rolls” or better yet, ‘red sauce on salad’. However, I do appreciate from a meat-eater point of view that “getting it right” for us vegetarians or vegans can seem like a daunting prospect they don’t necessarily want to take on when a BBQ in the summer sun is mentioned. I understand the traditional BBQ is very much meat, meat and more meat, but it doesn’t always have to be this way. Yes have meat, but vegetarian dishes on and around the hot grill can supplement anyone’s alfresco dinning experience, vegetarian or not.
Avocadoes are hot property at the moment, and if you haven’t put yours on social media before you’ve even eaten it, are you even eating it properly!? With all the ‘hip’ places to eat out these days you can’t move for a “smashed” avocado on the menu.
Well there is good reason for that, they are healthy and delicious basically and they are the perfect addition to yours or anyone’s BBQ. Barbequing an avocado is a dish from deep inside the Mediterranean handbook of food, then stuff it with fresh cucumbers, tomato and crispy grilled chickpeas, all soaked in lemon juice.
Halloumi is next up; these succulent slices of cheese are a perfect topper to a beef burger let alone a staple to a vegetarian BBQ diet. Everyone gets to experience this little treat regardless of the diet or lifestyle they are following at this BBQ. Whether you deep fry your halloumi pieces to make crispy but soft centred mouth-watering bites or roasted in foil on the BBQ before sticking it to your vegetables and salad we can guarantee that others will be wanting a piece of the action.
Onions are so underestimated at a BBQ. These are a classic favourite with a BBQ grilled hotdog and red sauce found at a fayre or fate, but they are rarely found at a homemade BBQ for some reason that is beyond me.
Let onions take the limelight at your next BBQ by cutting them in large chunky pieces before placing your thick onion bits on to the BBQ with a sweet BBQ sauce coating. This BBQ glaze is the perfect addition to a tangy crunchy vegetable that has all the roasted flavours the BBQ can offer cooked right the way through it.
Jacket potatoes are so often forgotten about at a garden party, like a BBQ. Stay away from the oven with this one, and don’t even talk to me about the microwave, wrap your spuds in tight foil. Let these slowly cook over the hot coal or grill of a BBQ to get that crispy skin and soft centre effect. Load the beautiful grilled potato balls with everything and anything you can think of, butter, cheese, chick peas, spinach, baked beans before wrapping them back up and putting them back over the heat. Trust me it won’t just be “us veggies” digesting these succulent dishes this summer!