Everyone loves a summer barbecue and that goes for vegans and vegetarians as well as omnivores. We know that veggie fair isn't what most people think of when they think "barbecue" so today we bring you our vegetarian barbecue top tips and tasty recipes that will delight all lovers of great food.
For vegetarian barbecue inspiration, we like to look around the world to places where cooking over fire is the traditional way of life, whether it's with fire pits and clay pots, ancient domed bread ovens, or tandoor ovens. For example, the Moroccan tagine is cooked over fire; Indian naan breads are cooked inside of a tandoor, Italians are famous for wood-fired pizza ovens. The street-food tradition of adding condiments from around the world to grilled foods takes barbecuing into an exciting flavour realm, enhancing vegetables with a range of chillies and spices.
All this being said, here's how to create a vegetarian barbecue that will show off just how delicious vegetables are when cooked with fire.
Grilled vegetables are a simple but great tasting choice for the barbecue. My little trick for easy barbecuing is to skewer the vegetables flat on a large metal skewer so you can easily flip them over all together and quickly remove the whole lot if the barbecue gets too hot. This is much quicker than removing each piece individually. This method works well with a huge variety of vegetables:
We love to flavour our veggies with jerk spice rub or Moroccan chermoula marinade and serve with zesty salsas and chutneys. For example...
Mexican salsas are traditionally made in a pestle and mortar, and they can be raw or cooked. Salsa Cruda is made with diced or pounded tomatoes or tomatillos and chillies. Salsa Asada is made with roasted tomatoes, chillies and garlic, the flavours balanced with lime juice, salt and sugar.
I like fresh Indian chutneys, which are easy to make. Try a brilliant green chutney made with copious quantity of chopped coriander and mint, green chillies, cumin and lemon. For an unusual sweet and sour chutney, try tamarind chutney made with tamarind pulp, cooked dates, and flavoured with ginger and cayenne. Tamarind has a sour flavour with a sweet aftertaste and works like lemon juice to sour and enhance flavour. Buy tamarind in blocks, which look rather like squashed dates. To extract the pulp, break off a chunk from the block, pour on just enough hot water to cover, and leave to soak, then squeeze out the pulp and discard the fibre and seeds.Sauces
For a Far Eastern twist try a sharp plum sauce, made with plums, which are now in season, cooked down with onion, rice wine vinegar and palm sugar. Palm sugar is made from the sap of the date palm and has a soft molasses flavour, buy it in cone form, which you grate to use. Or try satay sauce made with crushed peanuts or crunchy peanut butter, fresh root ginger and chillies.
Halloumi is a great veggie barbecue choice as it doesn't fall apart or melt and cooks evenly. You can enhance your halloumi with spice rubs, for example in these Jerk Haloumi Kebabs.
For vegan eating, tempeh is the best halloumi alternatives for the barbecue as it stays together (it's much more robust than tofu) and soaks up marinades like a sponge. Just make sure you slice the tempeh thickly so it's easy to turn on the grill. A great option are these Maple, Lime and Chipotle Tempeh Tacos.
Have a go at Australian damper bread. My partner is Australian and he showed me how easy and quick it is to make. Damper can be baked as a loaf in a tin or wrapped in silver foil in the oven, but it’s more fun to make a snake of dough coiled around a wooden stick and cooked over glowing coals. Out in the Australian bush there was no time for yeast leavening so either baking powder or a little wood ash was used to make the dough rise. Authentic damper has a similar chewiness and crisp crust to today’s best sourdoughs and a unique taste from the eucalyptus sticks burnt on the fire.
Delicious food photography by Rob Wicks of Eat Pictures.
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