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Aveen Bannon

It’s BBQ time! It is one thing that we all look forward to, and although we traditionally think about burgers and steaks, why not this year try a more plant-based BBQ? There is a lot more to a plant-based meal than just vegetables and salads, and you definitely don’t have to be a vegetarian or vegan to reap some of the health benefits and flavours. In fact, plant-based options can taste just as delicious as our regular go-to burgers and sausages and help add variety to our usual meals. Some options will also make great starters or side dishes that meat-eaters might want to serve alongside their grilled meat dishes. When it comes to grilling, almost anything goes! Why not try doing something a bit different at your next summer gathering?

  • Get creative. Create a side dish or recipe that’s just a little unexpected, like grilled watermelon or a salad dressed with a grilled lemon vinaigrette.
  • Try grilling vegetables like aubergines, courgettes, red peppers and onions. You can drizzle with a dressing of lemon juice, olive oil, garlic and herbs to add flavour — perfect for pairing with a veggie burger or some grilled tofu!
  • Veggie burgers are an easy alternative to beef burgers and can taste just as good! Try using chickpeas as a base. Add in couscous, tomato puree, herbs and spices for flavour. These burgers can be made in a food processor and then shaped into patties and cooked straight on the BBQ. You can add in some chillies for those who like a bit of heat!
  • Meatless proteins like tofu and tempeh are also super easy to marinate and throw on the BBQ. These soy-based proteins are also a good option for making plant-based skewers with grilled veggies.
  • Think beyond the corn. What other vegetarian goodies can you grill up? Think grilled halloumi cheese, grilled pineapple or other fruits, charred cauliflower steaks, grilled romaine for your salad, and fun skewers. Get the kids also involved with making fun skewers, as this will help with vegetable exposure.
  • A tasty marinade is essential to getting flavour inside a pressed block of tofu or some vegetables. Dry spice rubs add spice, but you get a delicious crusty coating when you cook the food. Cayenne, Cajun or paprika can give a spicy kick to both vegetables and tofu. Consider making your own marinade: brown sugar mixed with oil, ginger and soya sauce makes a delicious marinade for tofu or how about a spicey alternative whereby you mix some apple cider vinegar, chopped chillies, oil and maple syrup. Yum!
  • Of course, no BBQ is complete without its side dishes. Including some sides with protein can help balance out the meal or offer more plant-based choices. Try mixed bean salads, stuffed peppers or mushrooms with pine nuts and olives, or sharing bread with hummus dip.