There is some sort of patriotic magic where honoring those who protected this country kicks off summer in a haze of parades, fireworks and the traditional summer BBQ. The long weekend reminds children school is almost out and gives the working world a much needed break. As you plan your backyard get together or lakeside day of fun, the center of all the festivities begins to revolve around food. As a smart and conscientious eater, you want to create a mouthwatering, plant-based meal while still preserving the customary carbon flame. So how do you get around this meat heavy holiday?
Try out some of these excellent flavors and you will be a grill master!
The secret to a great meatless BBQ is in the marinades and sauces. BBQ sauce can be both marinade and sauce with sweet maple bases or tart vinegar bases; use your favorite store brand or try mixing up a few on your own. Remember variety is the spice of life, so check out tomato bases and mustard bases with different fruits, chilies and herbs. Another great option is the global smorgasbord of sauces like Argentina’s chimichurri sauce, which is an easy blend of parsley, cilantro, olive oil, garlic and a splash of vinegar. Try Piri-piri sauce from Mozambique, Hoisin sauce from Cantonese BBQ or a citrusy Caribbean sauce.
The next step is choosing a wide variety of vegetables for their texture and ability to hold up under fire! Luckily recreating the burger is an easy one. Recipes for veggie burgers are endless with bases in lentils, black beans, mushrooms, oats and eggplant, or the classic Portobello mushroom burger which only requires your sauce! For the confident plant-based eater, don’t forget tofu is amazing grilled for skewers, burgers or simply slices to dip in BBQ sauce. Another great grill item are avocado halves stuffed with your choice of salsas or roasted vegetables. To simulate a classic BBQ brisket, try using seitan! Marinade and place it directly on the grate allowing it to “smoke” inside the grill.
When not emulating meat textures and flavors, there are some incredible vegetables that taste even better slathered in BBQ sauce and tossed on the grill. Fill a foil pack with sliced onions and a little olive oil, place it on the back of the grill and leave them until they’re soft. Sit whole scallions directly on the grill until lightly charred. Put fresh green beans in a foil pack covered in your sauce of choice and cook till tender. Stuff jalapenos with any dairy free cream cheese, garlic and your preferred spices, then place them directly on the rack or on a sheet of foil. Some classic BBQ veggies are potatoes and corn on the cob. These two can be as simple or elaborate as you want!