First, let's talk about the usual suspects. Veggie burgers and hot dogs are, of course, the easy, fun, and traditional way to have a BBQ for vegans. Corn on the cob and baked potatoes are also expected and taste great. For a nice change and a little crunch, go ahead and grill your buns for about one minute. But for those who want to try something new to show people how creative vegans can be with a traditionally omnivorous feast, here are some fun ideas that everyone enjoy.
When you give tofu actual flavor, most carnivores are willing to give it a try. And some even admit to liking it. Extra firm tofu can be grilled without a problem, and marinating it 24 hours prior is the way to go. Here is a list of spice mixes you can used for inspiration, and add a few of these ingredients for the liquid part of the marinade: soy sauce, olive oil, nut oil, lemon juice, wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar, fresh garlic, tomato soup, and/or sugar (to break acidity - only if needed). Grill for just a few minutes on each side.
Veggie Kabob or Grilled Vegetables
Cut your veggies according to what you are planning to do with them. Then, using the same or a different marinade as the tofu, let your veggies soak for a few hours before cooking them. Grill until they get that lovely little black line on each side, and until veggies are just a bit soft.
Kabob: Cut into fairly large squares. Use whole mushrooms, coloured peppers, eggplant, tofu, cherry tomatoes, zucchini and baby potato halves. Any veggie that doesn't break down too easy but also cooks quickly is great here.
Classic Grilled Veggies: Make fairly thick slices except for carrots. Other veggies to use are eggplants, celery, peppers, and zucchini.
Grilled Home Fries
First, heat a generous quantity of olive oil. Add fresh garlic, herbs and salt to taste. Roast quickly - the garlic won't take long, remove from stove and let cool. Slice large baking potatoes thinly - 1/4 inch is good. In a bowl, mix the potatoes and oil until potatoes are well covered. Grill until cooked through.
- Save the excess oil as this can be used as a condiment for the corn on the cob, baked potatoes or burgers and hot dogs.
- You can also choose to bake the home fries. Cover a cookie pan with oil, lay out the potatoes, making sure none of them overlap, and bake for about 15 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through.
- In a pinch, any kind of oil is good and dried herbs are just fine. Infused oils are fantastic, too.
- Rosemary is the herb of choice for these. Use vegan mayonnaise as a dip.
Take the stem off the mushrooms. Take the tops and cover them with the home fries oil mix. If you prefer, you can wait and add heated spaghetti sauce in the center where the stem used to be to make a kind of sloppy joe. Grill lightly on both sides until mushroom is soft.
Use bottoms in a side salad, or fry them to make a topping for the burgers and hot dogs, or as a side dish by themselves.
Crimini Mushroom, Spinach, Broccoli and Cauliflower Stew
Use either some of the excess marinade, excess homefries oil or some spaghetti sauce diluted with a milk alternative. Put in a bowl. Leave mushrooms whole. Make small bite-sized stems with the broccoli and cauliflower. Cut spinach into large pieces. Put all veggies in the bowl and mix until all veggies are well covered with the liquid. Pour the entire mixture - liquid included - into a large sheet of aluminum foil. Wrap tight and put on the grill for about 5 to 10 minutes. Check on the mix often and don't let the broccoli and cauliflower break down.
Core and dice apples. Keep the slices fairly thick; this is better if they are still a bit crunchy. Brush with a nut or grapeseed oil, or any other kind that works with sweets. If you have time, make an oil infusion with ginger by cutting fresh ginger roots and putting them in some oil about one day before the BBQ. Grill for one minute on each side. Drizzle with either chocolate sauce or icing sugar and decorate with a mint leaf and a sprinkle of paprika (which looks fabulous on dark chocolate and gives a great kick).
Using this recipe, make kebabs. Brush with almond oil. Grill for only one or two minutes. Drizzle with the raspberry vinaigrette when on the plate.
** If you plan on making these desserts, don't forget to leave a clean spot on the grill so the flavors don't mix.
*Image courtesy Flickr creative commons.