A meat-free diet is becoming more and more popular by the day due to the increasing awareness of the benefits of a vegetarian or vegan diet. For some people, though, giving up certain beloved tastes and habits, such as eating smoke flavoured barbequed food, is making the commitment difficult.
Luckily, the variety of meat-free products today makes it possible to have the same familiar tastes, feels, and scents with vegetarian or vegan food.
What is a Vegetarian?
The principles are easy; a vegetarian diet does not include any kind of meat (yes, fish and chicken so-called white meat included). Often vegetarians consume eggs and dairy, and a specific name for them is lacto-ovo-vegetarian.
A vegan diet is then one-step stricter and does not include any products of animal origin – such as meat, dairy, eggs, or gelatine. This leaves plenty of colourful and nutritious options available that include all vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes, rice, and potatoes in the whole foods department and all kinds of animal product replacements such as meat-like products and many different plant and non-dairy milk products in the more processed foods department. Eating a plant-based diet or at least reducing the intake of meat and other animal products has plenty of health and environmental benefits.
Luckily, it does not mean giving up on taste and habits. Here are some plant-full and meat-free barbeque tips to get you started to organize a BBQ with family and friends!
Delicious Meat-Free Barbeque Foods
Vegetarian barbeque has never been as easy as today. There are plant-based “chicken” and “beef” strips, sausages, viennas, burgers and much more available at food markets. The same spices and methods can be used as with real meat, but because these products are often pre-cooked, and it is anyway safe to eat plants raw, the cooking times on the grill are shorter than those of real meat are.
- Hamburger buns
- Salad, tomatoes, onions
- Egg and dairy free mayonnaise
- Tomato sauce
- Ready-made frozen vegan burger OR make your own
Vegan burger – mix 1 onion, some garlic, a can of drained chickpeas, herbs, salt and spices, 1 tablespoon of flour in a blender / mixer until the mixture is an evenly chopped and mixed easy-to-handle mass. Form into burgers and cook a few minutes per side. Assemble burgers as usual.
Other meat-like products for the grill
- Plant-based sausages and viennas
- Crumbled chicken type patties or nuggets
- Beef or chicken type strips – perfect to cook on kebab sticks with vegetables, onions, green peppers etc.
Creamy Dairy-Free Pasta Salad
- 3 cups boiled pasta
- 1 chopped red pepper
- 1 cup of cherry tomatoes cut in half
- 1 avocado, chopped into small pieces
- Salt & pepper
- 2-3 tablespoons of lemon juice
- Half a cup, or according to taste, of vegan-friendly mayonnaise
Mix ingredients and keep in fridge until ready to serve.
Tasty and Fresh New Potato Salad
- 1 kg chopped new potatoes
- ½ cup finely chopped shallots or other mild onions
- ½ cup of chopped fresh parsley
- 6 tablespoons olive oil
- 1-2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 2-3 tablespoons vinegar
Add a sprinkle of salt and pepper according to taste.
Boil potatoes in salted water. While potatoes are cooking, chop the onions and parsley. Add drained potatoes and all other ingredients. Mix gently. Leave some parsley for decorating. Place the ready-made potato salad in the fridge and enjoy it chilled. This goes best with barbequed food.
Tips for the Health Conscious
Remember that many vegetables and even fruits are very tasty when cooked on the grill. Adding a bit of barbeque sauce or spice makes them a meal on its own and meat-replacements are not always necessary.
The most famous grill-friendly veggie is probably corn, which can be grilled as is and enjoyed with a dash of salt. Fresh green salad is also a great healthy option for a side dish with barbequed food.