10 Tips To Help You Create The Perfect Vegan Barbecue
We know our vegan pals struggle when it comes to summer barbecues (and not just because vegan sausages might soon be called vegetable tubes?!) But with a little imagination and some prep beforehand, whipping up food that’s fast, tasty and plant based is easier than you may think.
So whether you’re a vegan yourself, hosting some meat-free mates, or just looking to host something a bit different this summer, our fantastic nutritionist Jessica Andersson has put together her top tips on how to have the best vegan barbecue ever.
1. Plan ahead
Decide on a flavour theme before you start. Why not try making it Mexican? You could include barbecued whole corn on the cob, black bean burgers, guacamole and chipotle marinated vegetable skewers as well as Mexican inspired mains.
2. Include protein
Meat-free doesn’t mean protein-free. There are plenty of delicious plant-based protein options out there; pulses such as beans, chickpeas and lentils are delicious in veggie burgers, try our Minty Lentil Burger if you don’t believe me!
If you’re going with the Mexican theme; try these veggie burgers: 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. Liven up your tofu!
Grilled plain, tofu can be a little uninspiring. But it works great in burgers and makes a pretty perfect veggie kebab. You just pack it on your stick, surrounded by some delicious veggies, wack it on the barbecue and add a glaze. Voila, veggie kebab complete. Check out our Balsamic-Glazed Tofu Kebabs for some extra inspiration.
If you’re more about a tofu burger than a kebab; try this one: 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.
4. Boost Your Flavours
You’ve got to treat meat free mains the same as you’d treat your meat. And you wouldn’t cook unseasoned meat, would you? Veggies are 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 simple approach to flavouring those veggies try this: brush sliced vegetables with mixed spices and olive oil before and during cooking, this will add to the taste and ensure they don’t stick to the grill. Remember not to slice them too thin, we don’t want any burnt veg!
5. Experiment with kebabs
We know we talked briefly about kebabs, but they really are a vegan barbecue staple. Embracing these deliciously marinated and perfectly grilled sticks of veg is sure to save you some stress and ensure every plant based pal is happy.
Try this: cubed aubergine, courgette, cherry tomatoes, peppers and red onion. Brush with generous amounts of oil and barbecue for a few minutes on each side. Simple wins.
6. Raise the steaks
If you haven’t tried a veggie steak yet, then the time is now. Veggie steaks are gorgeous on the grill, and they’re a firm fave with vegan and meat eaters alive. I recommend aubergine and cauliflower or broccoli as great options.
Heres a great option to start you off. 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
A barbecue isn’t a barbecue without burgers, and your bbq deserves the best. Vegan burgers can be gloriously juicy in their own right, some of my favourites include marinated tofu, grilled aubergine, or mushroom burgers. Layer them with condiments and extras.
Try this Vegan Beetroot Burger: Grate 2 beetroots, 75g oats, 100g lentils, 75g flour, 1 chopped red onion, 1 tbsp peanut butter, and a teaspoon each of paprika, cumin, ground coriander, chilli flakes, salt and pepper into a food processor and pulse until it looks like a sticky dough. Turn out into a bowl, then add breadcrumbs and 40 more grams of flour. Knead with gloves (so you won’t stain your hands) until a dough forms, adding more flour until you can form 6 patties. Grill burgers for 6 minutes per side or until golden brown. Tastes amazing with vegan mayo mixed with chipotle paste, buns, lettuce, tomato and avocado.
8. Embrace Vegan Mayo
A potato salad is another barbecue staple that your plant based event can’t afford to miss out on. But without the mayo, where do we stand? You’ve gotta get out the cashew cream, of course! Lather it on your dishes as well for the perfect vegan mayo.
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.
9. Go nuts!
I am a fond believer in a walnut salad, or any type of nut salad! Nuts are a staple in a plant based diet because they’re protein packed and really versatile. Why not whip up a satay sauce to accompany some kebabs? And top your salads and veggie sides with peanuts or walnuts for a little extra crunch.
How’s this for a satay sauce: blend together 3 tbsp of peanut butter (We love Mani-life), 1 tbsp brown sugar, 3 tbsp lime juice, 1 tbsp soy sauce and 200ml coconut cream.
10. Get those good omega 3s
The best source of omega 3 for a plant based diet is in nuts, and we’ve already covered how to cover everything in them. So let’s delve in to another great source of omega 3- seeds. You can add a couple of handfuls of seeds to your burger mixes or to your delicious side salads. They also add loads of texture.
So now you’re all set for the perfect plant-based barbecue. Why not work on making it a bit more eco-friendly? And if you’ve got a couple of meat eating mates coming along- you can always add a couple of these recipes to the mix, just be sure to use a separate grill!