Ditch the meat this National BBQ Week
Get ready for grilling this sunny National BBQ Week. Aren’t we lucky to have such lovely weather this week? Just perfect to light the grill and start cooking!
Fill the neighbourhood air with the smoky smell of fire and enjoy the sun with freshly grilled veggie goodies. Perhaps it’s your first BBQ of the year and you are lacking creativity, or you have had so many barbecues you are running out of ideas? Not to worry; we are here to share some lovely ideas to make your BBQ the best in the neighbourhood.
Be open minded
Not all barbecues are about sausages and burgers. There are many other dishes that can be prepared on the grill. For a change, you could make a paella or a risotto using your outdoor grill. Add red peppers, mushrooms or even vegan chorizo to spice things up. Some more ideas for your next BBQ:
- Stuffed portabello mushrooms, which can be served as a burger or with polenta.
- Marinated tempeh (fermented soy beans). Can be sliced thinly to resemble crispy bacon for a burger topping.
- Marinated veg and tofu skewers.
- Curry marinated paneer skewers served with naan bread. Paneer is not vegan, but is suitable for vegetarians. Perfect if you’re not a fan of tofu.
- Halloumi (vegetarian squeaky and salty cheese). Can be added on skewers with watermelon for an interesting and refreshing tasty twist.
- Veggie kebabs. Can be made at home and placed on wooden or metal kebab sticks. Serve them with houmous and grilled toasted pittas.
- Char-grill veggies: corn on the cob, portobello mushrooms, bell peppers, asparagus, courgette, aubergine or even red onion.
Using the above suggested vegetables for grilling, pick your favourite to throw into a salad. For extra grilled flavour, you could even grill your romaine lettuce rubbed with some oil on a high heat. Mix your grilled vegetables of choice with baby mixed leaves, lettuce or even giant couscous if you’re not a fan of salad leaves. Add a dash of olive oil, pinch of salt and some pomegranate if you like some extra crunch. Grill half a lemon for some caramelised flavours and squeeze into your salad. Tear up some fresh herbs such as basil, chives, parsley or mint. Toss... and voila! A perfect side for a sunny day, suitable for any barbecue dishes. No one would say no to this colourful dish.
If you want to be extra creative you can even make a grilled dessert. Grilled pineapple makes a tasty treat, topped with ice cream or yoghurt. It is even possible to make a fruit crumble on the barbecue, too. Stew your chosen fruit in an ovenproof dish, or even wrapped in foil on the grill. Make the crumble topping beforehand and sprinkle on the fruit before serving.
Keep it traditional
If you prefer your BBQ more traditional with burgers and sausages, I suggest buying burgers without breadcrumbs, because they tend to burn on the barbecue. It is best to defrost frozen food overnight so it is easier to cook on the grill.
My favourite BBQ-ready products:
- Linda McCartney’s Vegetarian Chorizo and Red Pepper Sausages
- Goodlife Mighty Non Meaty Sausages
- Iceland No Bull Burgers
- Linda McCartney’s Vegetarian Lincolnshire Sausages
- Morrisons V Taste Sweet Potato and Edamame Burgers
- The Beyond Sausages and The Beyond Burgers
- Vivera Plant Burgers
- Aldi Plant Menu Korean Inspired Veggiebabs
- Tesco Fire Pit Sweet Potato and Black Bean Burgers
- Waitrose Vegan Spanish Style Whirls
If you are not a fan of meat replacements, don’t worry. Many veggie sausages and burgers made from vegetables are not suitable for grilling, because of the outer layer. Why not to make something like this yourself?
We have included our bean burger recipe if you would like to make something at home. It is very simple and tasty!
Spicy bean burger
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 10ml/2 tsp olive oil
- 1 medium carrot, grated medium
- ½ tsp mild chilli powder
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tin rinsed and drained pinto or kidney beans
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard (a mild type)
- 1 tbsp soya sauce – use tamari for a gluten-free option
- 1 tbsp tomato purée
- 75g/3oz rolled oats – use either jumbo or porridge
- Oil spray
- Fry onion and garlic in oil until softened. Add a little water if mixture starts to stick – a tablespoon or two.
- Add grated carrot and spices and cook for another minute or two, stirring to make sure nothing sticks.
- In a bowl, mash beans thoroughly with a potato masher. Add mustard, soya sauce, tomato purée and oats and mix all ingredients well.
- If you have time, chill the mixture in the fridge before making into burgers – makes it easier to handle.
- With wet hands, form mix into burgers. Flatten each one with back of wooden spatula or spoon. (Use a cup as a cookie cutter if you want them evenly round or use a burger press if you want a real pro look.)
- Using 2 squirts of oil spray, spray both sides of the burger. Barbecue the burgers on the grill for a few minutes on each side until they are brown on the outside and squidgy in the middle. Take care when flipping.
- Serve with salad and baked potatoes, or on a wholemeal roll with a little Plamil vegan mayo, relish and salad.