BBQ Recipes for Vegetarians

Look up the definition of barbecue in any dictionary and you’ll get some variation of the following: ‘a meal, usually in the open air and often as a political or social gathering, at which meats are roasted over an open hearth or pit’. Most people will agree that a barbecue just ‘aint a barbecue unless there’s a large selection of deliciously roasting meats slathered in a variety of tasty marinades and sauces – not exactly the vegetarian’s idea of a great meal. However there is so much more to a barbecue than just the meal itself.  A good barbecue is just as much about the fun of coming together and enjoying good food, drink and good company in the great outdoors as it is about the food. And nowadays there are so many tasty meat alternatives that with a little foresight and planning, all your vegetarian guests can quite easily be catered for. 

One of the most obvious alternatives to steak, chicken and burgers is Quorn. Quorn is a meat substitute made from a mushroom protein called mycroprotein. Flavours and spices are then added to it and it is sold in a variety of guises from mince to cubes to burger patties. On its own it tastes quite bland so we wouldn’t recommend slapping a Quorn burger in a bun and handing it to your vegetarian guest as it is, but with a little imagination you can turn it into a tasty veggie delight. If you’re thinking of serving Quorn burgers at your BBQs, then it might be a better idea to make your own rather than serve the pre-made ones. This way you can add your own twist to the patties and make them that bit more interesting. The other great thing about making Quorn burgers is that they are virtually fat free, so they’re also a good option for guests who may be watching their weight but don’t want to miss out on a good time with friends and family. 

Here’s a really simple recipe you might like to try for yourselves:

  • 350g of Quorn mince
  • One medium onion, finely chopped
  • One red pepper, finely chopped
  • One tablespoon of tomato purée
  • One medium egg
  • 100g of plain white flour
  • 2 teaspoons Cajun spice
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • Salt and pepper to season

Simply mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl then shape the mixture into 8 burger patties. Chill the burgers in the fridge for an hour before you want to use them to allow all the ingredients to bind together then cook them as you would a regular burger and serve them in a bun with salad. For ease of cooking get yourself a gas barbecue.

Another good option for veggies at a barbecue are vegetarian sausages. Now the very idea of veggie sausages just doesn’t sound right to some people, but nowadays you can purchase gourmet varieties that really are extremely tasty and make a great addition to a barbecue plate. Lightlife do a fantastic range, which includes Italian style, chorizo and smoked style sausages. The Linda McCartney range is still hugely popular, Tesco do their own range of meat free snags, and of course there’s always the old reliable Quorn sausages. The great thing about all these sausages is that they absorb the flavour of whatever you cook them in, so in order to give your guests that delicious barbecue taste, why not marinade your sausages in some vegetarian barbecue sauce? 

You can make your own sauce by combining the following ingredients in a bowl and basting your sausages just before you pop them on the grill:

  • 1 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp sugar or honey
  • 1/2 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup onion, minced
  • 1/2 cup water

The next thing on your menu should be a good range of salads and side dishes. Barbecued stuffed peppers are a great addition to any meal, and these will go down a treat with the meat eaters as well as the veggies. You can stuff your peppers with pretty much anything you like as long as the consistency of the filling is fairly stodgy to prevent them from falling apart on the barbecue. Rice, pine nuts, garlic and some gorgonzola mixed together makes a super-tasty filling, but be warned these stuffed peppers won’t stay around for long, so make sure you let your vegetarian guests get to them first before they’re devoured!

A good old-fashioned potato salad is also a must at any barbecue, and something all your guests can enjoy. If you’d like your salad to be mushy and creamy then use potatoes that are particularly good for mashing. If you’d prefer a slightly more robust potato salad, then use good quality potatoes with a waxy consistency and take care not to overcook them. This way you can chop them into cubes and they won’t fall apart when you combine them with your chopped onions, chives and mayonnaise. Be sure to make a large portion of this particular salad, as it’s another all-time barbecue favourite and tends to disappear as soon as it’s put out on the serving table. 

Before you set off to the supermarket to buy all the grub for your barbecue, it’s a good idea to try and find out in advance how many vegetarians you’ll be feeding, that way you can plan your menu properly and will know roughly how much food to buy. And remember to tell your meat-eating guests to stick to the real burgers and steaks; there’s nothing worse than having to tell your veggie friends that you’ve run out because the carnivores have demolished the lot!