Even 10 years ago, I would feel embarrassed to go to a barbecue and say that I am a vegetarian. I used to cringe to say this to the host. Not only would I feel uncomfortable, so would the hosts, because they did not know what to serve me, besides a store bought burger which had to be cooked with the meat, and the same utensils. Many vegetarians and vegans like me, do not relish that.
I have been to several barbecues where I’ve managed to get by with just salad, chips and a drink. There had even been some where I have only been able to have the appetizer and dessert. And I know of a couple where my vegan friends could only have a drink, because both the salad and dessert had dairy.
Recently though, “some” barbecues have started becoming vegetarian/vegan friendly. At a recent house concert at a wonderful friends home, she served up a fabulous barbecue, with two separate grills one for vegetarians/vegans and the other for meat eaters. There were plenty of salads to choose from. While the hosts were fabulous and so was the amazing grill manager, many who attended did not hesitate to use the same utensils that were used for a shrimp salad in a clearly marked vegetarian salad dish.
Many meat eaters do not realize that being vegetarian means not just avoiding meats and poultry and fish, but also not using the same utensils for vegetables and meats. It’s a good idea to keep them separate. It is also a great idea to have two separate food areas, one for vegetarians and one for meat eaters.
Are you having some vegetarians or vegans over for your a barbecue this summer? Don’t fret… In todays environment, catering to a vegan or a vegetarian is extremely easy.
Optionally, here is a radical thought.. Have you thought about a vegetarian only Barbecue?
All it takes is some prior thinking and planning and your barbecue will be a hit with everyone, vegetarian or not. In fact introducing some of these vegetarian recipes adds elegance and pizzazz to your regular everyday barbecue.
Grilled Peppers With Spicy Guacamole
Alternately you can take these grilled veggies, mix them in with pasta, rotini or penne are my favorites for this. Use Guacamole as the sauce and toss it all together, you have yourself a creamy mexican style pasta dish.
Pepper Crusted Tofu
Slices of your favorite organic tofu, about an inch think. Run a handful of whole black, red and white pepper and give it a rough blend. The resulting mixture should be coarse and not powdery. Mix it with a cup of panko bread crumbs, and salt. Dip the Tofu in a bowl of milk/water mixed with a teaspoon of cornstarch, and then coat with the pepper mix. Push the mix it as much as you can to embed it i the tofu. Grill. Serve ith burger condiments, as in ketchup, mustard, pickles, relish, lettuce leaves, avocados, caramelized onions and sliced tomates. Let your vegetarian guests assemble their own Pepper Crusted Tofu burgers.
Tandoori Paneer Rolls
Paneer is an Indian cheese that has a fabulous rich flavor. Tandoori masala is an orange colored masala that is available at Whole Foods and Indian grocery stores. Mix the masala with yoghurt as per instructions. Add fresh chopped cilantro to the yoghurt mixture. Cut the paneer cheese into long 1 inch rods (I hate to say this, but kind of like hot dogs) Dip the in the yoghurt mixture and grill. Stack them on a plate and garnish with finely chopped cilantro and jalapeno. Serve as you would a hot dog with a roll and condiments. Suggested condiments include, mango chutney, mint chutney, fresh chopped onions, arugula, and raita. This can also be cubed up and served on a bed of arugula as a salad. Or serve it up as a burrito style wrap.
Cube red onions, zucchini, summer squash, beets, peppers (green and red). Add cherry tomatoes. Mix lightly with oil (of your choice) salt and pepper. Presoak bamboo skewers and arrange the vegetables in the skewers (great project for kids)
Grill. While this is grilling prepare the drizzle/dressing. To 1 cup of sesame oil, add 1/2 cup lemon juice, 1/2 spoon cayene pepper, 1/2 tsp cumin powder, 1/2 spoon coriander powder, 1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic and mix well. Drizzle this over the grilled kebabs and serve over a bed of rice tossed in ghee/butter, salt, fresh cilantro and toasted cumin seeds.
Grilled Flatbread Pizza
You can use any kind of flatbread for this. My personal favorite is a garlic naan. I have no idea why eggs are used in naans, that is certainly not the traditional recipe. Nevertheless, there are several varieties of garlic naan that are not made with eggs. That’s an aside.
Going back to the pizza, have your guests put their own pizza together, it’s a great hit with adults and youngsters alike. Lay out sun dried tomatoes, onions regular and caramelized, pineapples, fresh (really) thinly sliced jalapenos, avocados, raw mangos, cheese both vegetarian and vegan. The sky is the limit as far as toppings for this pizza are concerned.
If you are doing a Mexican theme, choose Mexican toppings, or choose a Mediterranean theme and go crazy with feta, kalamata olives and the likes. This dish can easily be paired with one of the dishes above, or others to tie in with a theme.
Grill the pizza and add fresh herbs before serving.
And the accompaniments are important too!
All of these dishes above are very simple and easy to make. Pair these with simple salads, the sky is the limit as far as salads are concerned. Here are links to some of my favorite salads.
Serve these awesome spiked drinks on the side.
Another great list of vegan barbecue options from Buzzfeed is here.