Here in the U.K, it’s currently Summer (aka BBQ season). On those rare, long, hot and sticky days, throughout the hazy afternoons on into the lazy evenings, you’ll find the city parks alive with friendly chatter and that distinctive BBQ smell. Here in Bristol, we’re so lucky to have Durdham Downs; a massive open grassy park that allows BBQs. I genuinely think BBQs are my favourite thing about summer. I’ve really enjoyed being able to meet friends again to chat, eat, and just chill out (all socially distanced of course).
A good BBQ is just as much about the food as it is the event. When you’re in good company, you can make almost anything fun, but when you have your friends and delicious food, it’s all the better. As a vegan, the idea of a BBQ could be daunting, especially if you’re meeting with omnivore friends. However, with a bit of planning, it can be very simple. We recommend taking your own BBQ, something small and foldable that stands off the floor (and preferably not disposable), simply to avoid any cross-contamination. It’s also good to create a simple menu with just a few key dishes. Bellow, I’ll give a few examples of the types of things we love to take to a BBQ, some prepared and others to go straight onto the coals. Most often we’ll take 2 sides, 1 or 2 mains and plenty of condiments, and then on special occasions, we’ll bring a dessert too!
On the BBQ
Corn on the cob – I bloody love corn on the cob. This year, our local shop has started selling corn in its husk, which is so much better as they don’t come in any unnecessary excess packaging. They’re also cheaper than the pre husked ones, so that’s a bonus! I love having them simply tossed in olive oil & salt and then left to go slightly charred. They may seem overdone, but a little carbonation can add a delicious savoury element to them. Alternatively, you could try Mexican inspired street corn. Once the corn’s cooked through, roll them in cashew cream and coat with lime, chilli and chopped coriander. Absolute corn perfection!
Off the BBQ
Potato Salad – This classic BBQ side is always a crowd-pleaser. It’s great because you can make it way in advance and not have to worry at all. Our current favourite way to make it is to do it without vegan mayonnaise, we like to make an Italian inspired potato salad instead. We use potatoes with plenty of good quality olive oil, salt, garlic, parsley, spring onion and chives.
Other things that always go down a treat are:
- Crisps and dips
On the BBQ
Beetroot Burgers – Nothing says BBQ more than a delicious burger. One of our current favourites is the beetroot burgers from Co-op’s GRO range. You get 2 in a pack for £3, and they taste great! They’re lovely and moist and go really well in a vegan brioche bun (like Bread Roll Co’s burger buns).
Cumberland Shroomdogs – If you’re not in the mood for a big burger then maybe a hotdog will do the trick. A personal favourite is Sainsbury’s Plant Pioneers Cumberland Shroomdogs. They’re great for a BBQ because similar to meat sausages, they have a skin, which means they retain so much more moisture than something like a Linda McCartney Vegetarian Sausage. You can buy them in a pack of 6 for £2.50, which will easily feed 2-3 people. We love to have them in a slightly toasted ciabatta roll, topped with American style mustard and crispy onions!
Other mains we love are:
- Vegetable/vegan chicken skewers
- Portabello mushroom burgers
- BBQ glazed cauliflower steaks
- Moving Mountains Burgers
- Beyond Meat Burger
- Plant Pioneers Ultimate Plant Burger
- Richmond Meat-Free Sausages
On the BBQ
Chocolate stuffed bananas – I have such fond memories of these from my childhood. They’re so simple too! Just cut a slit in the banana and stuff with a few squares of your favourite vegan chocolate. Wrap the bananas and chocolate in foil, then once the BBQ is finished with, place the parcels into the embers. The chocolate will melt, and the bananas will be lovely and hot and sweet. Just be careful not to burn your mouth when you eat them, the bananas can be like molten lava in the middle!
Off the BBQ
Frozen Pineapple – This is such a great alternative to ice lollies or ice cream. You can read all about them in this blog post. It’s as simple as cutting the pineapple into triangles and leaving in the freezer!
Some other excellent BBQ desserts are:
- Vegan Magnum icecreams
- BBQ boozy peaches
- Strawberries and vegan chocolate mousse
No BBQ is quite complete without the perfect condiments. Our favourites include:
- Helman’s vegan mayo
- Sweet Baby Rays BBQ Sauce
- Crispy onions
- Pickled red onion
- American mustard
Some of the main things to keep in mind are that some BBQ sauces are made with honey, and since it’s not an allergen, it’s easy to miss on the ingredients list. Also, most bread rolls are vegan, but as mentioned before, a vegan brioche bun or a ciabatta roll is always an excellent choice!
Just writing this post has made me so excited for our next vegan BBQ, which we’re having tomorrow at our friends’ allotment. We’re going to be taking the Italian inspired potato salad, some vegan slaw, Cumberland shroomdogs and ciabatta rolls.
If you had your own vegan BBQ, we’d love to know how you got on! Write a comment, like, or share this recipe with your friends.