Put another corn on the barbie
Advice and ideas for the upcoming BBQ season by Karin Ridgers
Not much beats having a fantastic vegan BBQ - relaxing in the sunshine, perhaps with my weekly Friday night radio show playing in the background with the best old school club classics and an abundance of vegan burgers grilling.
However, as we get out and about again, we may be faced with an invitation to go to a non-vegan BBQ - how do you feel about this?
It can be a case of awkward questions and confrontation - or a chance to chat positively about your wonderful lifestyle choice.
For me, personally, it has been a fair few years since going to a non-vegan BBQ and it really doesn't appeal to me to stand around with friends or even family while they munch on a BBQ cow and breathing in the smoke. I am old-school, and perhaps not everyone feels this way!
However, going to a non-vegan barbie can be a great way to show how wonderful vegan BBQ food can be - but I do say it is all about communication and in as much advance as possible.
Top tips and chef advice
Often, the host will first cook vegan food on the grill, however, if like me you are averse to your vegan delights being cooked with meat options, do let your host know (and ideally before the event).
If it would help keep your mind at ease, take your own BBQ, even if it's one of the disposable ones or cook your food beforehand and warm it up on a separate grill when you arrive. Remember to bring along your own condiments like vegan mayo (I'm a fan of the original Plamil!) and dairy-free spreads for things like corn and jacket potatoes.
Take lots of food to share if you can. Impress everyone who may well feel that BBQs need to mean animal products. They do not. Plant-powered chef, Keith Squires (keithonfood.com), loves making a Tandoori Marinade for a special kick for a vegan BBQ (you can find the recipe on VeggieVision TV). He says: \"Tandoori cooking is like a BBQ every day, as everything is made on an open fire. It's a great way to make vegetables and vegan burgers even more tasty. Add in some milk-free naan bread and the usual salads, and everyone will feel in the party mood!\"
Fantastic vegan chef, Hunni Jade Palmer, co-founder of vegan-run Yovedic Retreats (@sweetlikehunniuk) has an abundance of quick-fire vegan-friendly BBQ recipes and learnt her vegan cookery skills in India.
She says: \"A vegan BBQ is a wonderful way to share a positive vegan eating experience. If you are planning your own vegan BBQ, allow yourself lots of time and see what you can make in advance.\"
BBQ food ideas
Try making a few of these delicious BBQ delights - they are sure to impress all who try them.
First, boil a whole corn, then grill on the BBQ. Garnish with homemade cashew cream (soaked then blended cashews) lots of coriander, spring onions, chilli flakes, avocado oil and sea salt with wedges of lime on the side.
Seitan kebabs with satay sauce
Marinate slices of seitan in the following mixture: garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, thyme, nutritional yeast, liquid smoke, olive oil and tomato paste. Grill and then garnish with coriander and serve with fresh lime on the side. It can also be served with strips of cucumber and vegan satay sauce on top.
Skewer a variety of different veggies. Try mushrooms, peppers, cherry tomatoes, apricots, courgettes etc. Grill and glaze with an oily vegan pesto and top with seeds or pomegranate.
'Meaty' aubergine kebabs
Cube an aubergine and marinate in a tahini and ginger dressing. Chargrill to produce a meaty texture with lots of flavour.
Season large pieces of cauliflower florets in spices and hot sauce. Skewer the pieces, grill on the BBQ then garnish with vegan blue cheese and crispy onions.
Whole sweet BBQ onions
Peel brown outer layers of an onion. Carve out a cone shape in the middle and stuff with diced tomatoes, garlic and brown sugar, wrap in foil and grill.