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Why is Vegetarian Barbecue So Hard to Get Your Head Around?
When you think bbq, you think hot dogs, burgers, steaks, and ribs. Maybe you've gone healthy and have tried putting fish on your grill. It's all delicious, but your plant-based friends will tell you that you're missing a whole lot by skipping past the vegetarian bbq.
Vegan and vegetarian barbecue has health benefits. Eating fruits, vegetables, and legumes can help lower cholesterol, blood pressure, and stabilize blood sugar levels, oh, and help you lose weight. While those are all good and make your doctor happy, adding vegetarian options to your menu is a great way to challenge your cooking skills. A vegetarian barbecue is, maybe, the most overlooked place to start your culinary scene. Try these tips to amaze and astonish all your friends, even the meat-lovers.
Go Big or Go Home!
The first thing to know about grilling fruits and veggies is that you need to unlearn what you've taught about preparing them. Chopping for a vegetarian-friendly grill means leaving fruits and vegetables big, or not chopping them at all. (Yes, we said grilling fruit. We talked about it in our last bbq blog. Click here for a refresher.) Yeah, it's counterintuitive to make salads when you want to make a mouthful, but it's not anymore when you have the grill. Remember, you have to get your food on a grate. You don't want a beautiful portobello mushroom to fall through and go to bbq home, aka, the charcoal.
"But I'll just use foil," I hear you say.
Sure, that's good for an easy cleanup, but small pieces cook fast. Do you want to have to stand over your grill to find that sweet spot between ready-to-eat and a black, crispy treat? So, yeah. Keep it big. Size does matter.
Football Season is Vegan BBQ Season
Image by RitaE from Pixabay
You laugh, especially if you're in the South where weddings are planned around SEC football, but it's true--stick with me. Football season, also known as autumn, is when root vegetables and gourds come back into season. You hear a lot about oven-roasted squash and beets, right? Imagine adding them to your tailgate! It's all in the math:
- Quarter your potatoes
- Halve your squash
- Keep beets whole
Follow these guidelines, add some spice, and throw on the portable grill to become MVP of the game.
Vegetarian BBQ to Make Meat Jealous
Okay. I know. You just can't get past the idea of some kind of heavier, main-dish on the grill. I get it. If you listen to most vegetarians, they will tell you that tofu is the gateway meat alternative for good reason. Tofu is quite flexible in terms of taste. It can be marinated in a variety of flavors and spices to suit your taste buds. Brita, the founder of Food With Feeling, shared this blog about grilling tofu. She admits that it took some adjustment to find the right recipe, but "I love the smokey crust that the tofu gets after being on the grill for a bit. It's ridiculously easy to throw together and surprisingly SO GOOD".
Depending on how you flavor it, you can have any of the following veggie-friendly flavors:
- Korean bbq
- Mexican (mmmm, tacos!)
Be careful, you may find yourself in transition. It's a few small steps from steak to tofu to tofu steak!
Food With Feeling's Brita advises her readers to take their own tofu along to barbeques to ensure they aren't left eating a plate full of side dishes. If you have friends who are vegan or vegetarian, be the cool host who thinks about them. If you're hosting the next backyard barbecue, put plant-based vegetarian barbecue options alongside the traditional favorites. Score big on the tailgate with perfectly grilled vegan bbq selections. You may be surprised to find that some of your friends prefer these healthier choices. Even more, you may be surprised to find you like them too.
Remember to show us what you're grilling with Mama. Through August 31, if you tag us with #heymamalookatme, you could win free products from Mama's Masalas!