March is finally here, bringing with it the promise of warmer weather that spells Barbecue Time! So if you’re planning to barbecue this weekend, we have some tasty vegetarian recipes for both main dishes and starters to appeal to everyone.
The good thing about making kebabs for the barbecue is simplicity – once you have your ingredients, it takes no time to thread onto the skewers. And you really can let your imagination run free, making different kebabs to delight your guests.
Try halloumi cheese and button mushrooms together on skewers. All you need to do is chop the cheese into cubes that are a similar size as the mushrooms, and thread them onto skewers. For added flavour, season them with pepper and a drizzle of olive oil. A nice accompaniment to these kebabs is freshly squeezed lemon juice mixed with some fresh parsley, which releases the flavours.
You are spoilt for choice when it comes to vegetarian BBQ main dishes, with so many delicious vegetables to choose from. For example, try barbecue stuffed peppers. Lightly fry 50g of pine nuts then add 140g of rice, 2 crushed garlic cloves and 350ml of vegetable stock, and boil for ten minutes until the rice is tender. When ready, let the mixture cool before adding a handful of chopped spring onions, 140g of chopped cherry tomatoes, 150g of chopped mozzarella and 140g of crumbled gorgonzola. Season with parsley, and when cool stuff the peppers. Remove the central part and stalk from 6 peppers, then halve and remove any seeds. Add the mixture to each half and wrap in foil. Cook over the barbecue for about 20 minutes.
And burgers are a must, also. You could create a carrot and chickpea burger. Start by grating 750g of carrots, adding half of this amount into a blender with a tin of drained chickpeas, one chopped onion, spices and one egg, and mixing into a paste. Next, lightly fry the remainder of the carrot in a pan before adding to the blended mix together with 100g breadcrumbs, the juice of a lemon and 3 tablespoons of sesame seeds. Mix all these ingredients together with your hands, and then divide into 6 burger-shaped portions. Add in 150ml yogurt and let the burgers rest. Drizzle with olive oil and grill the burgers for about 5 minutes on each side – then add to a bun and garnish accordingly.
Alternatively, a really quick vegetarian burger option is with Portobello mushrooms. Simply grill a large mushroom and add this to a bun together with sauce, salad and some mozzarella for an easy yet tasty meal.
Salads always go down well at barbecues but don’t feel you have to stick solely to green and potato salads. For example, a courgette salad makes a wonderfully tasty and fresh addition at a BBQ and is so easy to make. Simply grate 3 courgettes and mix together with 3 tablespoons of olive oil, 2 tablespoons of poppy seeds, 1 tablespoon of lime juice, 1 tablespoon of honey, and a crushed garlic glove. Season and serve straightaway.
You can make some really flavour-rich side dishes for your barbecue that meat-eaters and vegetarians will both love. Add a twist to the traditional barbecued jacket potatoes with some spicy sweet potatoes – simply cut 3 sweet potatoes into fairly chunky slices and place on some foil. Then drizzle over 4 tablespoons of olive oil, 2 tablespoons of fresh thyme leaves and 2 seeded and finely chopped chillies, and gently rub these ingredients into the potato slices before wrapping the foil around the slices. Grill for 45 minutes, until the potatoes are beautifully soft.
Or try adding barbecued Portobello mushrooms and gorgonzola cheese to grilled French bread. All you need to do is mix 12 small mushrooms in a bowl with 4 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar, some olive oil, fresh mint, and seasoning. Barbecue the marinated mushrooms for approx 2 minutes on each side, and grill the slices of French bread before adding the mushroom to the toasted bread and sprinkling some crumbled gorgonzola on top.