10 Tips To Help You Create The Perfect Vegan Barbecue
When we think BBQ we usually think of oily meat sizzling away on the grill – greasy burgers, thick steaks and sausages smothered in sauce. Our minds don’t generally drift to the plentiful possibilities of a plant-based barbecue, but times they are a-changing! More and more people are starting to catch on to just how delicious vegan BBQ’s can be. With that in mind, and summer in full swing, our fantastic nutritionist, Jessica Andersson, has put together her top tips on how to create the perfect vegan barbecue…
1. Plan ahead
Decide on a flavour theme before you start. A good example is a Mexican theme which might include barbecued whole corn on the cob, black bean burgers with guacamole and chipotle marinated vegetable skewers.
2. Include protein
Going meat-free doesn’t mean forgetting about protein. There are plenty of fabulous plant-based protein options out there: pulses such as beans, chickpeas and lentils all work fabulously well in veggie burger patties – like our Minty Lentil Burger With Harissa Ketchup.
For a veggie patty with a Mexican flavour try this combination: 400g black beans, 2 tsp chipotle paste, 2 finely chopped spring onions, 1 crushed garlic clove, 100g wholemeal breadcrumbs, a handful of chopped coriander and 1 tbsp tahini. Roughly blend all the ingredients together using a hand blender then shape into 4 burgers. Coat in olive oil and barbecue for 3 minutes on each side. Serve with guacamole, sweet potato chips and a green salad!
3. Boost Your Flavours
You wouldn’t cook up meat without at least a little seasoning so why treat plant-based mains any differently? Vegetables are incredibly versatile and there are plenty of ways to take them from modest to mouthwatering. Our Miso Glazed Aubergine is the perfect example of a good marinade takes the humble aubergine to a whole new level.
For a more simple approach to flavouring your veggies try this: brush sliced vegetables with mixed spices and olive oil before and during cooking, this will not only add to the taste but it will also ensure that they don’t stick to the grill. Remember not to slice them too thin or they will burn easily!
4. Liven up your tofu!
Tofu has a great texture which is just perfect for burgers and kebabs but grilled plain it can be a little uninspiring. To make sure your tofu is full of flavour I recommend marinating before cooking. Our Hoisin Tofu recipe has an incredible marinade which could easily be adapted for a BBQ.
For a classic tofu burger try this combination: 1 clove of garlic, 1 tbsp soy sauce, 1 tbsp tomato paste, 1 tbsp honey, ½ tsp chilli powder, 1 tsp cumin, 3 tbsp olive oil. Dry the tofu first then cut into slices or cubes no more than 3cm thick. To make a tofu burger combine one packet of marinated tofu with 2 chopped spring onion, 10g sesame seeds, 1 tbsp soy sauce and 80g of chopped mushrooms. Coat with olive oil and barbecue for 3 minutes on each side. Serve with a crispy coleslaw and noodle salad.
5. Experiment with kebabs
Quick, colourful and easy to cook, no barbeque feels truly complete without a generous plateful of deliciously marinated and perfectly grilled kebabs. And you can create endless combinations using marinated tofu and vegetables.
Try this: cubed tofu, aubergine, courgette, cherry tomatoes, peppers and red onion. Brush with generous amounts of oil and barbecue for a few minutes on each side.
6. Raise the steaks
Veggie steaks are just gorgeous on the grill and if you haven’t tasted one yet you really must give them a go – aubergine and cauliflower are both excellent options.
Try this: Slice cauliflower into 1cm slices. Coat them well using 2 tbsp. lemon juice, 2 tbsp olive oil, 2 tsp cumin, 2 tsp honey and 1 tsp of turmeric before putting on the barbecue then cook for two minutes on each side.
7. Be creative with burgers
Veggie patties aren’t the only way to create a tasty vegan burger you can also use marinated tofu, grilled portobello mushrooms or grilled aubergine. Serve in a bun with your choice of fillings and condiments
Try this: sliced teriyaki marinated aubergine grilled and served in a bun topped with tahini and shredded lettuce with a side of Asian coleslaw – delicious!
8. Embrace Vegan Mayo
You don’t need mayonnaise for a tasty potato salad – cashew cream is the perfect alternative!
Try this: Soak 120g of cashew nuts for 3 hours or overnight then blend with 120ml of water, 1 tbsp lemon juice and 1 tsp yeast flakes or a good pinch of salt. This is your cashew cream base, add herbs, garlic or spices to change the flavour. Works beautifully combined with cooked new potatoes and fresh herbs or can be used as an accompaniment with your burgers, vegetables or kebabs.
9. Go nuts!
Peanuts and nuts are great for adding extra crunch and protein. Chop them up and sprinkle over salads or roasted vegetables.
Try this satay sauce: blend together 3 tbsp of peanut butter, 1 tbsp brown sugar, 3 tbsp lime juice, 1 tbsp soy sauce and 200ml coconut cream. Works perfectly with tofu kebabs or as a dipping for roasted vegetables.
10. Add those good omega 3s
If you follow a plant-based diet, then the best source of omega 3s is from seeds and walnuts. Top your vegetables and salads with seeds or add a good handful to your burger mix. Not only do they taste good, but they add texture too.