The traditional barbecue is often a carnivore’s delight, with piles of sausages, burgers, barbecued ribs, kebabs, and even slabs of full English breakfast if the chef is feeling adventurous – after all, the full English for the barbecue takes six hours to cook! And there are plenty of vegetarian options usually on offer too including veggie burgers and sausages, potato and green salads.
But if you’re wondering what to feed your vegan friends at a barbecue, we have some vegan BBQ ideas to get you started. Soon you’ll realise just how easy it is to cater for everyone at a barbecue.
You can grill vegan burgers on the barbecue. Meat-free burgers made from mushrooms or other vegetables are packed full of flavour and cook nicely over the coals. For example, try making Portobello mushroom burgers. Simply cook a large, flat Portobello mushroom, brushed lightly in olive oil, on the grill, fry some onions, and add to a fresh bun with some vegan cheese, rocket leaves and barbecue sauce.
Or try chickpea and carrot burgers by blending 375g of carrots with a tin of chickpeas, chopped onion, spices, and lemon juice. Fry 375g of carrots and add to the mix with some more lemon juice, 100g of bread crumbs and 2 tablespoons of sesame seeds. When all mixed together, shape and grill on the barbecue until ready before adding to a bun with salad, sauce and vegan cheese.
Tofu is a great barbecue food because it grills well, has a lovely consistency and works well with strong flavours. In addition to marinating tofu in rich barbecue sauces and grilling on the barbecue, you could try making a special date barbecue sauce for the tofu – spicy and sticky, this sauce really brings the tofu to life.
To make the date sauce, you’ll need: 1 finely chopped yellow onion, 60ml olive oil, 60ml tomato paste, 720ml vegetable stock, 60ml lemon juice, 10 large dates, 4 finely chopped garlic cloves, 2 tablespoons brown sugar, 1 tablespoon water, 1 tablespoon ground coriander, 1 teaspoon of ground cumin, smoked paprika, ground ginger, ground cinnamon and salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper and cayenne pepper. Add the olive oil to a pan, then cook the onion for 10 minutes before adding the coriander, cumin, paprika, ginger, cinnamon, salt and pepper and cooking for 5 minutes. Next, add the garlic, tomato paste, vegetable stock, sugar, cayenne pepper and water, and turn the heat up for 10 minutes to encourage the sauce to thicken. Add the pitted and finely chopped dates and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the lemon juice.
Brush the sauce on the slices of tofu and grill for 5 minutes each side before serving with a good dollop of the date sauce on the side.
Other flavoursome vegan barbecue ideas include stuffed peppers. Let your imagination run free with these recipes, selecting delicious herbs, spices and vegetables to fill the peppers. For example, try stuffing peppers with cous cous mixed with raisons, spices, pine nuts, and sliced olives and sundried tomatoes, and grilling on the barbecue, serving with a green salad. Or make some vegetable kebabs, using marinated tofu to alternate the likes of red onion, peppers, courgettes and cherry tomatoes.
In addition to salads and corn on the cob, you could make some vegan garlic bread as a side dish. Mix some olive oil with finely chopped garlic, place on cut ciabatta slices and grill on the barbecue.
For pudding, fruit is a fantastic option as it tastes so good when grilled. Try pineapple rings, apple slices or barbecued banana to round off a delicious barbecue party.