Despite barbecues predominantly being the preserve of meat eaters, there is no reason for veggie lovers to miss out on a great way to cook food.
There are plenty of options for meat-free barbecuing, many of which are easy to create with only a small amount of knowledge and preparation and all are healthy and delicious.
First things first, clean your grill. If any meat has been on it before it may still be greasy and taint your veggies. In addition, as vegetables don’t have a high fat content they may stick to the metal rather easily. After cleaning it, brush it with some olive oil or non-stick spray and let it heat up.
Thoughts for food
For ease of use its often a good idea to simply raid your supermarket freezer for some non-meat burgers as they stay together well and can take high heat. The bread-crumbed veggie burgers are a little harder to BBQ as they often stick or fall apart, but put them on when the charcoals are cooling down or if you are using a gas barbecue simply put it on a low heat.
Better yet, make your own burgers. There are plenty of recipes online but here’s one to get you started:
Vegetarian burgers recipe
- Sautee 1/2 chopped yellow onion in a little oil until soft (5-6 minutes).
- Mix onions with: 2 cups cooked, drained black beans; 2 cups shredded cheese; 1 cup cooked brown rice; 1 1/2 cups breadcrumbs; 1/2 cup chopped scallions; 1 1/2 tsp. tomato paste; 1 tsp. soy sauce; 1 1/2 tsp. garlic powder; 1 1/2 tsp crumbled dried oregano; 1/4 tsp. ground cayenne; 1 tsp. ground cumin; 1/2 tsp. fresh ground black pepper.
- Mix all these ingredients well, mashing the beans. A potato masher works well for this.
- Form the mixture into patties, move them to your refrigerator, and give them about half an hour to chill and come together before you put them on the grill.
- Cook for about four minutes on each side, turning once.
Quite a lot of vegetarians are into eating tofu. I’m not a huge fan but I recognise its utility and have barbecued it before for my guests. It’s best to use extra-firm tofu where possible to stop it falling apart and if you squeeze it between some kitchen towel first you can dry it out a little and compress it further to make sure it will grill well. It works best when marinated in barbecue or teriyaki sauce and used on skewers as part of a shish kebab with tasty chunks of red peppers, mushrooms, and onions.
Some ‘veggies’ still eat fish. I’m not going to get into the rights and wrongs of this, but if this is you, fish is great on the BBQ and mackerel in particular makes for a simple and very tasty option. But it is still meat you half-veggie!
Plain and simple veg
No doubt as a vegetarian you already know the wonderful taste of vegetables as they naturally are. Barbecues make great use of this and are a great way to keep it simple.
Nearly all vegetables can be sliced, oiled and grilled on your BBQ relatively simply and this will allow you to enjoy the natural taste of veg and the smoky taste of barbecue, just cook it until it has some colour and crispness before taking it off the grill. Tougher vegetables such as carrots and potatoes can be wrapped in tin foil and placed directly on the coals if you are using a charcoal barbecue. Serve with rice, pasta, as part of a sandwich of even on a BBQ pizza.