Don’t panic! the vegetarians are coming
Vegetarians are not alien beings. It may surprise many, but vegetarians like barbecues too!
But what can vegetarians eat and how do you cater for them? Here are some hints and tips that we got exclusively from a long-term vegetarian.
Tips from a long-term vegetarian…
Firstly, don’t panic; your vegetarian guests will enjoy most of the side dishes that are normally found at a barbecue, such as rice or potato salads, coleslaw, summer leaves and breads and dips. Make sure you check the ingredients and flavours of the crisps and dips you choose to ensure they are suitable for vegetarians and remember to never mix meaty flavours with others in serving bowls!
There are a wide range of vegetarian sausages and burgers available from supermarkets that are perfect for barbecuing or you could offer tofu and warmed cheeses to your vegetarian guests. Ask your vegetarian guests what their preference is prior to the barbecue as they may not enjoy vegetarian meat substitutes or might not eat dairy products or eggs.
There are a huge amount of vegetable-based barbecue dishes that taste delicious too. Barbecued vegetables such as corn on the cob, grilled aubergine and butternut squash are usually a good choice as they barbecue very well and can cater to your vegetarian guests as well as your meat-eating friends!
In asking your vegetarian friends about their preferences, you will often find that they are willing to contribute side dishes to the barbecue; and in fact many vegetarians prefer to bring their own food as they like to know exactly what’s in it and where it’s come from.
One area of concern for vegetarians is cross contamination from the barbecue cooking surfaces. In an ideal situation you would have one barbecue for meat and another one for vegetables, as well as separate tools. Alternatively, it is usually ok to keep one side of the barbecue exclusively for vegetarian food, minimising the chance of the meat products coming into contact with non-meat. Using separate tools to cook and serve with and separate warming trays and serving dishes is very important.
Here are some vegetarian recipe ideas…
– Corn on the cob (check about dairy products before covering it in butter)
- Portabello mushroom burger
- Twice baked potatoes (again check about dairy products)
- Crispy marinated Tofu