When you think of a barbecue, do burgers and bangers immediately spring to mind? It’s easy to get stuck in the rut of only grilling kebabs, sausages and other meaty treats. After all, they’re classics simply because they taste so good. So much so that barbecues used to be almost no-go areas for vegetarians.
But nowadays, with more and more people deciding to go vegetarian and vegan, there are plenty more ideas and choices for those who choose not to eat meat. Meaning it’s easier for you to up your and your kids’ fruit and veggie intake, too.
Even better, you don’t have to worry about greasy stains on tops and tablecloths. Although if a sauce splodge does inevitably end up down a T-shirt or two, simply rinse and treat it directly with a squirt of Bold 2in1 Gel before running it through the wash.
Still not convinced? Try these dishes when you next get the grill out and you’ll be a veggie barbecue convert…
Native to Asia, jackfruit tastes sweet when it’s ripe and raw. However, when young and not yet ripe, it’s much like tofu and simply takes on the flavours it’s cooked with. Once cooked, it can be also be shredded so it has a consistency similar to pulled pork.
To cook, drain and rinse a can of young jackfruit and chop it into chunks – buy the kind that’s sold in water or brine, not in syrup! Fry an onion and some garlic, add the jackfruit, 250ml of water and your choice of sauce (barbecue and jerk work well), and cook for 20 minutes.
Use a masher or large fork to break up the fruit so it has a pulled consistency and cook for a further 20 minutes, adding more water if needed. Serve with salad in warm buns fresh off the grill.
Tofu is a great meat alternative for kebabs, and one of the main benefits is that it doesn’t need to marinate as long as meat does – so it’s ideal if you wake up to sunshine and decide on an impromptu barbecue.
Simply marinade chunks of extra-firm tofu in tandoori paste for half an hour. You could save time with a shop-bought version, or create your own using yoghurt, garam masala, cayenne pepper, paprika, garlic and ginger.
Chop red onion and red peppers into chunks, and thread onto skewers along with the marinated tofu. Grill the kebabs on the barbecue for about five minutes per side, brushing occasionally with extra marinade, and serve with salad.
It’s not just for guacamole and hipster toast! Avocado also tastes awesome barbecued. Squeeze a lime, then add a clove of garlic and a tablespoon of olive oil to the juice. Brush this mixture onto halved avocadoes, and grill for five minutes, flesh side down.
Make salsa by mixing together finely chopped fresh tomatoes, red onion, garlic, a small chilli and some coriander. Add salt and pepper, some olive oil and a squeeze of lime. Serve with the warm avocado.
A street food staple in Mexico, it’s the toppings that really elevate classically grilled corn.
Brush your barbecue with vegetable oil and grill your husked ears of corn until charred, about 10 minutes.
While they cook, mix 50ml each of mayonnaise and sour cream and add chilli powder, cayenne pepper, minced garlic and chopped coriander. Finally, crumble in 100g of cheese – feta or parmesan work well.
Once the corn is cooked, put it in a bowl and pour over the mayo mixture. Alternatively, serve the topping ingredients in separate bowls so that your guests can adjust their toppings to taste. Finish with a squeeze of lime – and supply lots of napkins!
These are so moreish that even hardened meat eaters will struggle to resist. Thinly slice the aubergines lengthwise, then rub them with a mix of olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. You can add some chilli too if you’d prefer a hint of spice – either fresh, powdered or a sauce.
Cut thin slices of halloumi and put on the barbecue along with the aubergines. Once cooked, place a slice of halloumi in the middle of a slice of aubergine, top with a mint leaf and then bring the aubergine sides over to create a parcel, securing with a cocktail stick. Delicious!
Do you have any fab vegetarian barbecue dishes? We’d love for you to share them in the comments section below.