Vegan BBQ fun with both savoury and sweet delights by Michelle - 25th August 2016 I spent many years as a child standing around a hot BBQ, watching my dad cook up countless pieces of “juicy” meat. Fills me with dread when I think back… But there is something so special about a BBQ – the joy of outdoor cooking surrounded by sunny skies, a gentle breeze and the people you love all outdoors having a laugh and squabbling over who does what. Since going vegan there is a lot less BBQ’ing happening in our world. The slightly hesitant conversations with people trying to reassure you they didn’t turn your veggie burger with the same spatula as that which flipped the fillet steaks…far from fun! With the weather taking a brighter turn it seemed fitting to jump back in and learn how to have an entirely vegan BBQ. The aim was to create an experience that would have everyone licking their lips, no matter what their lifestyle choices are. Nibbly bits You can’t go wrong with hummus and toasted pitta breads, with some juicy olives. We recently made a smashing hummus recipe with a super smokey flavour which feels like the perfect vegan BBQ accompaniment! You can find nutritional yeast in any good health food store, we sell it in our luxury vegan hamper too. For the pitta’s I love The Food Doctor variety which are easy to get hold of in any grocery store. I despised olives growing up and it wasn’t until a few months after going vegan that I ate one for the first time. And like anyone who finds a new passion later on in life, I went through every brand out there like a kid takes to ice-skating, with wild abandon and overflowing enthusiasm. Having tried a few there are definitely olives I will pass on every time as they taste sour to me. These particular olives we found at Ocado are a bit more expensive but they are WELL worth it! Drinks for the Chef and Guests We tend to treat the BBQ chef as a sort of king in our family. Funny really, given how much work goes on “behind the scenes” in the kitchen to pull everything together! BBQ pecking order aside 😉 it’s important to keep everyone refreshed – adults, kids and the teetotal alike. You can’t go wrong with a nice lightly sparkling rosé (Meinklang Pinot Noir Frizzante Rose is fab!) and a few vegan ice-cold craft beers. Check out this post talking about And Union craft beers – the Summer and Friday beers are two particular favourites of mine. For the non-alcoholic a sparkling punch with cut fruit and mint always feels festive. The great thing is it can be pre-prepared and left steeping in the fridge and is super refreshing. The main vegan BBQ dishes 1) Marinated Tofu and Falafel Filo Pastry Balls We picked up a few groceries at M&S because we were passing by, but you could get pre-made falafel and filo pastry sheets at any large grocery store. The Koya Tofu (freeze dried tofu) requires a but more planning ahead, but you can find it at some independent health food stores. We made a simple marinade from liquid aminos and maple syrup with a few dried herbs, soaked the tofu in this for around 10 minutes and it just sponged the marinade up! Adding a little filtered water made the tofu a bit softer after letting it stand for a further 10 minutes. Taking the same pack of filo pastry, we cut a few sheets in half then spread a bit of mustard, alternating between wholegrain and old english for some variety. Throw a falafel ball into the middle and pull all the corners of the filo together into a messy sort of parcel. Remember to brush the tops lightly with soy milk before wrapping them in tinfoil. The result was amazing. After being on the vegan BBQ wrapped in tinfoil for around 20 minutes the tofu was crisp and delicious. The final step was to remove the tinfoil and place them directly on the grill for a couple of minutes each side. Even the tofu haters at the table were asking for seconds! The pastry parcels turned out great, if a little dry. Next time we try making them we’ll brush the filo pastry with a dairy-free milk before cooking them. I am also going to experiment with different sauces inside the parcel to make them even juicier. 2) Whole Roasted Garlic Now that I’ve tried this I will never BBQ again without them! Simply slice one side off the whole bulb of garlic (not the root side as this holds the bulb together). Then place in tinfoil with ground pepper, finely chopped chilli and olive oil. Bake on the BBQ for around 20-25 minutes. 3) And the rest… You can’t have a BBQ without a salad. Make it easy on yourself by grabbing a bag of mixed washed leaves, add tomatoes, onion, cucumber, avocado and toasted pinenuts. Great vegan BBQ dessert If everyone still has room for dessert (how is it that we always seem to be able to make space?!) you can’t go wrong with a BBQ’d banana topped with melted stoneground chocolate almond spread and a blob of vegan vanilla ice-cream. bananas can be prepared ahead by peeling and placing inside tinfoil (shiny side in) when the main food has been removed from the BBQ turn the heat down low and put the bananas on they’ll take 15-20 minutes to get all gooey remove from the BBQ and throw away tinfoil microwave a few tablespoons of chocolate spread in a glass jug (1-2 mins max) spoon a blob of ice-cream onto each banana and pour a little chocolate over Bliss… Simplifying Happy and Summery Choices!