Barbeques are, for most Americans at least, one of the quintessential summer activities. There is nothing like spending a warm summer evening grilling outside with friends and eating delicious, freshly fire roasted food.
When people consider a barbeque, however, lots of meat usually comes to mind- steaks, ribs, burgers, and hot dogs. Does this mean vegetarians don’t have barbeques at all? Of course not. There are a lot of ways to be creative in the kitchen, especially for vegetarians. With a little planning, vegetarians can have amazing barbeques as well, full of healthy, delicious, and summery food.
One of the most obvious choices for a vegetarian barbeque is the wide variety of fake meat products. Vegetarian “meats” come in a wide variety of forms now, and in the last few years, the demand for these products has really taken off. Vegetarians can enjoy ribs, burgers, large sausages, hot dogs, and other products. Make sure to follow the directions on the packaging when grilling these items, since cooking times can vary widely from the actual meat equivalents.
If the thought of meat substitutes doesn’t appeal to you, consider a real veggie burger. Portabella caps marinated in Italian dressing can make wonderful burger alternatives and can taste remarkably meaty, particularly when a little cheese and perhaps some pesto is added to the bun. Your grill will need to be properly oiled, however, to prevent the mushroom caps from sticking. Cook them on medium or high heat until just tender and serve immediately.
Another great, less conventional option is grilling vegetables and tossing them along with some herbs and olive oil. Prepare vegetables like eggplant, zucchini, squash, cherry tomatoes, onions, and anything else you’d like by cutting them, where applicable, into long strips that won’t fall through the grates on the grill. Rub them with some olive oil and grill until they are tender (the tomatoes will take very little time). Take them off the grill, let them sit until cool enough to touch, then cut into bite-size chunks. Toss in a bowl with more oil, a little salt, and fresh herbs like parsley, oregano, and basil. If you feel like adding a little protein, grill a little tofu along with the vegetables and toss with them.
Adding a few side dishes like potato salad, either herbed or traditional, fresh fruit, and anything else that seems to fit the mood of your party will ensure that you have a fun, healthy, and delicious barbeque that even the staunchest meat eater will rave about. The key is to have a wide variety of options and a little creativity to go along with them.
To ensure you’re grilling your vegetables perfect each time, it’s crucial to have the grill that will suit your needs. For grilling parties, you might want to consider a 3 burner or a 4 burner grill to have enough area to cook larger meals. Both grills offer enough space to grill food more comfortably, which is important in cookouts where you also have to socialize with your guests.