It’s that time of year! Barbecue Season!
Barbecue season is upon us! Can you be vegetarian and still enjoy all the joys that barbecuing in the great outdoors bring? Absolutely!
While you know the ins and outs of cooking vegetarian foods like preparing tofu stir fries and pasta with beans but the barbecue has always been a bit of a mystery. Though we traditionally think about the barbecue for burgers, steaks, chicken and fish, there are lots of options for those who choose a vegetarian or plant-based diet. Yes, you can always buy prepared veggie burgers or hot dogs. The food companies that make these burgers and dogs have been finding ways to make these products more and more appetizing, gaining acceptance from some meat eaters and fueling the growth of the global meat alternatives market. However, they are highly processed, contain many unfamiliar ingredients and are usually loaded with salt. I will admit though, I do keep a package of frozen veggie dogs in the freezer over the summer for when we get invited to a barbecue and I don’t have much time (or feel like) preparing something from scratch. Once in a while is okay.
Are you worried you won’t be included in any backyard bashes because your friends and family don’t know what to feed your vegetarian daughter? Worried she will be stuck eating just the salad? Well, fret no more. There are loads of options for us vegetarians.
Beyond just grilled vegetables, the natural, easy-to-prepare option is barbecue tofu or tempeh. If you have a favourite marinade, it will also work well. For our family, some good quality prepared barbecue sauce and organic tofu usually does the trick. We simply cut the tofu into ½ inch thick blocks and marinate in the sauce for a few hours. The same can be done with tempeh, cut it into thick strips, though I have found that kids usually prefer tofu.
You can really grill more than the typical barbecue-type foods. You can use the grill as you would the oven or stove.
Here are a few options for fun, vegetarian-friendly grilling:
. Make veggie kebabs with cubes of tofu or halloumi cheese
. Grill veggies to make vegetarian quesadillas and then cook prepared quesadilla on the grill
. Prepare homemade pizza and cook on the grill
. Buy a vegetable basket or use a wok to make a stir fry on the barbecue
. Grill portobello mushrooms and use them as a stand-in for burgers
. Grill sandwiches – try using flatbreads, panini or even pita
. Make homemade veggie burgers using chickpeas, black beans or quinoa
. Cut cooked polenta into thick slabs and grill
When we are invited to barbeques, I usually ask for our meal to be cooked first, before the animal proteins hit the grill. I most often bring the vegetarian option to alleviate any stress from our host. That way I know exactly what we are going to eat and don’t worry about cross contamination. Though some people aren’t fussed, I personally don’t like to think my food has touched meat.
Summer is a great time to expand your veggie-loving barbecue skills. So turn that grill on, and start experimenting! And don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter!
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