I haven’t blogged in what seems like ages, and the main reason is that we’ve been enjoying the sunshine and having lots and lots of barbecues (that and I was being lazy). It’s been such a fun way to spend time outdoors with the kids and they’ve loved it. This post might be a little late for people here in Ireland as it’s raining now, but we’ll get more sun, I’m sure! I really love vegan barbecues. I think they’re actually much better than meaty barbecues. There’s more variety, veggies are delicious barbecued, they’re healthier, and of course cruelty-free.
One of my favourite summers, 5 years ago, me and my friends from college had veggie barbecues all summer and I have such great memories from them. We became even closer friends, had lots of fun, and had great food. Well, there was one vegan cake we tried to make that tasted like vinegar, but other than that, great food! Since then, I’ve really loved vegan barbecues. And this week I’ve tried so many ideas and have more ideas to try soon!
So here are a few ideas of the kind of things we cook on barbecues. They’re also useful dishes to bring with you if you’re invited to a non-vegan barbecue. I think even meat eaters would like them.
Veggie Burgers, homemade or store bought, are always delicious. Most store-bought burger buns are vegan, or try putting them in a pitta or wrap. Serve with ketchup, vegan mayonnaise, vegan cheese, or houmous, guacamole or salsa are also really nice. As well as salad leaves, pickles, tomatoes, or whatever you like.
I love making bean burgers, in particular falafel burgers, made with chickpeas and lots of fresh herbs. Just use any falafel recipe but flatten the falafels into burger shapes. Cook for 5-10 minutes on each side. They’re really good served with salad, vegan tzatziki, tahini sauce or houmous, and chilli sauce, in a pitta or wrap.
Veggie Sausages are delicious cooked on a barbecue and quick and easy to cook. You can make homemade ones but I like Dee’s Wholefoods vegan sausages. They cook perfectly on a barbecue and are really handy to bring to family barbecues.
Big Mushrooms make a simple burger alternative, which is cheaper and less processed than many store-bought veggie burgers, and are quite “meaty” tasting. You can marinade them or simply brush them with oil and cook either side. Serve in a burger bun with any toppings you want. Delicious!
Corn on the Cob is quick and simple to barbecue. I don’t parboil it, simply place on the barbecue, brush with some oil if you want, and cook until charred in places, turning occasionally to cook all sides.
The kids really love it. Oran (12 months) likes having a half a cob because it’s easier to hold and will eat lots of it, and Rian (3 years) likes having a whole one.
Veggie Kebabs are another quick and easy idea. Just chop up your favourite veggies into roughly the same size, put them on a skewer, brush with a little oil, and cook until charred at the edges.
I like them with peppers, cherry tomatoes, button mushrooms, red onion, shallots, courgette, parboiled sweet potato or butternut squash, cooked baby potatoes or marinated tofu. Yum!
Vegetables like aubergine, courgette, tomatoes and peppers are delicious barbecued. It really brings out their flavour, making them sweet and charred. Slice aubergine and courgette into thin slices or wedges, cut peppers into big pieces or use whole small peppers with seeds removed, slice big tomatoes in half and cook cut-side down, or put cherry tomatoes on the vine straight onto the barbecue. Or put some whole asparagus, spring onions, baby courgettes halved lengthways, straight onto the barbecue to cook. It couldn’t be easier and tastes great.
You can marinate them first if you like, which is really nice for aubergine and courgette. I like to marinate them with some olive oil, garlic, smoked paprika and tamari/soy sauce. Or simply brush them with some oil and sprinkle with salt.
Fruit can also be delicious barbecued. I especially love barbecued pineapple. I’m not normally a big pineapple fan but it’s so delicious barbecued. It’s great on skewers, or cut into rings and used as a topping for veggie burgers. Peaches and nectarines are also really good cooked on the barbecue, simply slice them in half, remove the stone, and cook cut-side down until charred. They make a nice, healthy dessert, especially if served with some whipped coconut cream or vegan ice-cream.
Sweet Potatoes are amazing cooked on the barbecued. Simple poke a few holes in them with a fork, brush some oil on them if you like, double wrap them in aluminium foil and place on the barbecue for about half an hour (for smallish ones), turning occasionally, until a fork can easily pierce them.
Then slice open the skin, put some toppings on if you want, and eat. They’re delicious with mashed avocado or houmous on top. I plan to try this soon with regular potatoes too, which should work well.
Stuffed Peppers or Mushrooms are one of my favourite foods to barbecue. For the peppers, either cut off the top or slice in half length ways, remove the seeds and white bits, and fill with whatever you want really. For mushrooms, use big, flat mushrooms, remove the stalk, and fill the mushroom. Then cook on the barbecue.
They’re really good with spicy rice or cous cous, chickpeas, even some vegan cheese. These ones are filled with fried onion, garlic, tomato, and chickpeas with thyme, cumin, chilli and smoked paprika. Stuffed mini peppers are a handy size for kids to eat. My two love them.
I hope you like these ideas and I hope we all get some good weather soon too! If you try any of these, I’d love to see them or hear how you get on.