When you’re planning a barbecue, either for a friendly get together at home, a community event, a wedding, a festival, a business event, or an event at a hotel or pub, it’s vital that you remember to cater for everyone to make the event enjoyable, and something that your guests can talk about positively for a long time to come. So event planners, make sure you think about all eventualities. This must most definitely include people with food allergies, and should make sure that vegetarians and vegans have a great selection of appealing food, rather than just being left with the side salad!
Catering for all tastes is good news
Not taking people’s food preferences, intolerances, or beliefs and values seriously can lead to disgruntled guests and customers and can even have catastrophic consequences for your business. The Gourmet Burger Kitchen found this out the hard way in 2016 when it gambled on an ad campaign that poked fun at vegetarians. Thousands of people took to Twitter to protest. Vegetarians, vegans and meat-eating customers were outraged by the brand’s seemingly flippant attitude.
And meat certainly isn’t the only thing that tastes great on the BBQ. There are lots of delicious vegetarian dishes that taste just fabulous cooked on the grill and which are very healthy and nutritious too.
Here are just a couple of ideas for some vitamin-packed, low-calorie, fresh and flavoursome dishes:
Piri Piri Halloumi skewers
Originating from Portugal, piri piri adds heat and zing to tasty meat-free kebabs.
Makes: 6 skewers
2 large courgettes, trimmed
2 red peppers, seeds and stalk removed
250g pack Halloumi
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp Piri Piri Rub
2 x 300g packs tomatoes
2 cloves garlic
1 tbsp dark brown sugar
1 tbsp sherry vinegar
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
25g pack fresh basil, leaves only
Preheat the barbecue to high. Using a vegetable peeler, cut the courgettes into long thin ribbons. Cut the peppers and cheese into 2–3cm pieces.
Mix the olive oil and the rub together and toss with the vegetables and cheese until evenly coated. Set aside to marinate for at least 1 hour or for up to 6 hours. Thread onto metal skewers, alternating with folded courgette ribbons.
Place the tomatoes on their vines on the barbecue, griddle. Cook for 4 minutes until starting to blacken and burst, then remove and set aside until cool enough to handle.
Remove the cooked tomatoes from their vines and place in a saucepan. Add the garlic, brown sugar, vinegar and extra virgin olive oil. Cook over a medium heat for 15 minutes or until reduced and pulpy. Add the basil and blitz with a stick blender. Season and keep warm.
Meanwhile, place the skewers on the barbecue, griddle or grill and cook for 10–15 minutes, turning occasionally, until coloured and the vegetables are tender. Serve the skewers with small bowls of the tomato sauce to dip.
BBQ Corn on the Cob
This is a great option if you're trying to be a bit healthier - and it's super simple:
Soak the corn in water for at least 30 minutes
Shake off the excess water and rub the corn with a little (but not too much!) butter and season with salt and pepper - you could also add some garlic or chilli flakes for extra flavour at this point
Wrap in two layers of tin foil
Place on a medium heat barbecue and cook for at least 25 minutes, turning occasionally, until charred
Be careful in your cooking and preparation methods
And don’t forget… if your barbecue is for meat-eaters as well, make sure you partition off a section of the barbecue with foil. Keep some separate utensils for veggie use, and a bowl of soapy water on standby is useful for washing hands.
Rustle up some delicious vegetarian treats on your Cinders barbecue and with a little imagination, you can make these the star of the show!