As the weather improves many people will be pulling the barbeque out of the shed and starting to prepare for some al fresco feasts. Typically, a barbeque is associated with a lot of meat sizzling on a grill. But what if you’re a vegetarian, vegan or simply trying out a more plant-based lifestyle?
Alternatives to meat and animal products
Naturally a barbecue tends to focus on meat, so you need some eye-catching alternatives for anyone who wants a plant-based option. There are a number of products that make fantastic vegan-friendly additions to a barbie. From spicy vegan burger mixes, to sausages and meat-substitute steaks. These all allow people to enjoy traditional barbecue favourites without the meat.
The accompaniments to your burgers, such as buns, cheese and different condiments are all available in vegan-friendly versions, allowing anyone, regardless of their dietary requirements to still enjoy themselves.
Keep in mind that you can experiment too, try making your own sauces for burgers by blending together your favourite veggies and herbs before reducing them over low heat in a pan or creating a spicy marinade for tofu using chilli, lime and coriander. Play around with favourites and find ways to really capitalise on the taste of a barbecue without needing to rely on meat.
Don’t neglect veggies
Vegetables can be a major part of your barbecue. Serving as an accompaniment or a main dish in their own right. This doesn’t just need to be a case of grilling some onions to put on a hotdog or roasting some corn on the cob over the grill.
When you’re preparing for your barbecue try dicing some potatoes into chunks and parboiling them. Then let them cool before tossing them in a bowl with olive oil, salt, pepper and whatever spices you fancy. Then wrap them tightly in foil and roast them on the barbecue until they’ve cooked through and taste amazing.
Or, sticking with the idea of making your own marinades come up with something you can brush onto mushrooms, peppers and onions to make fantastic vegetable kebabs.
Make the most of side dishes
You should try to make every element of your barbecue taste amazing, especially if you’re trying to cater for people who don’t eat meat. Side dished such as salads and dips can be made well in advance and many of them are completely vegan friendly and really easy to make that bit more special. For example, you could try making your own hummus in a food processor and serving it as a fantastic dip for crisp salad vegetables or kebabs cooked on the grill.
Other barbecue favourites like corn on the cob can be really lifted with the help of some herbs and spices. Try mixing paprika, garlic powder, salt, pepper and chili flakes together then roll the corn in the mixture before grilling it. This can transform corn into a delicious sweet and spicy treat perfect for a hot summer afternoon.
Desserts for the BBQ
Don’t forget that all great meals end with a fantastic dessert and a barbecue should be no exception. There’s tonnes of fruits that can be wrapped in foil and left to cook that will turn into a fantastic sticky dessert that’s fantastic paired with a vegan ice-cream.
You could also make fruit kebabs, using pineapple, strawberries and mango, cook them over the grill then drizzle with chocolate sauce before serving. There are a great treat for the kids, just be sure to take the fruit off the sticks before serving if you’re worried about people getting accidentally poked or prodded.
If you wanted a more grown up pudding you could try slicing up a mango and putting this in a foil parcel, before you seal it up add a mixture of dark rum and brown sugar. Cook this until the mango goes soft and the sugar and rum have become a really tasty syrup and serve with cream or ice-cream.
A barbecue should be fun and a bit different, if you wanted to just try something out of the ordinary at your next barbecue try going completely meat-free, you might not change everyone’s minds on what a barbecue should be but you might discover some fantastic new dishes and flavour combinations that you hadn’t thought about before.
This is a sponsored guest post from Nutree Life, a company producing protein products and snacks which are all free from gluten, soya, refined sugars and plant based.