When do you think about a summer barbeque what comes to mind? Juicy hamburgers? Puffy brown hotdogs? Steak, shrimp, or some other meats cooked over the fire? To be honest, most people think of one or more of these things so the words vegan and barbeque might not go together in your mind; however, a meatless barbeque can be anything but boring and tasteless but you will never know until you try so how about throwing your own vegan summer barbeque starting with ingredients from Nutrition Smart, an organic health store Pembroke Pines?
The Main Dish
More and more people are choosing to eat healthily or at least healthier these days, so there are many more options for vegetarians and vegans. What is the difference between vegetarians and vegans, you might wonder; well, a vegetarian is someone who does not eat any kind of meat including fish and chicken. Vegans take things a step further and abstain from consuming or using any type of animal product such as cheese, eggs, honey, wool, leather, and any products like soaps or cosmetics with ingredients derived from animals. So meal planning is a bit more challenging for vegans but it can be done quite successfully.
There are many products on the market that can be substituted for food items made from meat such as veggie burgers made from beans or you can make your own burgers using beans and adding things like legumes and grains for added protein and texture. Of course, you can offer some amazingly tasty main dishes seared to perfection using just vegetables with some great seasoning. Even the meat eaters might forsake their usual burger or dog for these tasty treats.
One great substitute for burgers is Portobello mushrooms that can be marinated and served on buns or with a variety of colorful peppers, onions, zucchini, yellow squash, or cherry tomatoes served with a side of charred corn on the cob. Make sure to have a variety of sauces, condiments, and spreads on hand to jazz things up.
If your grill is normally used to cook animal products, make sure to clean it ahead of time to be vegan-friendly by scraping your grill grates thoroughly with a wire brush and be sure to heat it up for at least 30 minutes to kill off any bacteria, a good idea all of the time not just for vegan cooking. If you will be cooking animal proteins as well as vegan foods but sure to use separate tongs and utilize aluminum foil to keep the two separated.
Toppings, Sides, and Apps
Because Mayo is a popular topping that vegans do not use make sure to offer a vegan variety in addition to other vegan toppings and spreads. There are other popular barbeque dishes that vegans won’t partake of like potato salad made with traditional mayo and macaroni and cheese so again, make sure there are acceptable options such as a great kale and quinoa salad sans egg or another side dish made with quinoa which is very versatile.
As for appetizers, consider kale or other vegan chips and dips like salsa, hummus, or guacamole. Other finger foods that are great options are bruschetta, jalapeno poppers, pretzel bites, olives, pickles, and baked cauliflower.
Don’t Forget These
For dessert, there is nothing better in the summer than a variety of fresh seasonal fruits served ice cold or some homemade pies using vegan ingredient substitutes like coconut flour and cashews. Of course, you will want to have plenty of beverages on hand to beat the heat and help everyone stay hydrated so consider creating a signature cocktail like a watermelon spritzer with a touch of lime for those who enjoy an alcoholic beverage and for those who prefer non-alcoholic drinks or just want a change of pace here and there, try a fruit-infused water, sparkling limeade, and of course, lots of bottled water. Consider some drink “stations” of coolers spaced throughout the venue for easy access for all your guests.
Make sure your invitees are aware of your all-vegan or part-vegan menu and that everyone will be supportive of your vegan guests. Not everyone eats the same way but we should all be supportive of each other’s lifestyles; who knows, you might wind up with some converts or at least those who might find a new group of foods to enjoy they never even considered. Healthy can be delicious and fun.