Summer has officially arrived in Vancouver and so has BBQ season! It’s time to take to the beaches, parks and backyards to enjoy the warm, long evenings. Vegan BBQ items aren’t as difficult as they sound and these tasty alternatives are great so people with vegan diets can have a proper meal and not fill up on the (usually junky) snacks. Since this time of year also come along with spending the day in the sunshine and had a few glass of beer or other alcoholic beverages it becomes even more important to provide our bodies with extra fuel and nutrition.
Whether you’re hosting a BBQ or bringing communal dishes, these ideas will satisfy both the vegans and omnivores alike:
Vegan Potato Salad
Nothing says ‘picnic’ like homemade potato salad. Instead of a mayonnaise-based dressing, try this dairy-free and egg-free creamy cauliflower dressing:
- 1 head of cauliflower, roasted
- 1/2 cup non-dairy milk (almond or soy)
- salt and pepper
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- 3 cloves of roasted garlic
- 1 tbsp dijon
- 3 tsp dried dill or 1 tsp of fresh dill (add more/less to your taste)
- 1 green scallion, chopped
Combine all of the ingredients except dill and scallion in a blender and puree. Add more dijon and/or lemon to adjust to your taste. Toss with dill, scallion and steamed or boiled potatoes. Find the full recipe here.
Why it’s a great BBQ salad: you don’t have to miss out on those classic BBQ dishes, it’s healthy and it’s filling.
Fresh Lemon Quinoa Lentil Salad
- 1 cup cooked quinoa
- 1 cup cooked green lentils
- 2 cups fresh arugula
- 1/2 cup cucumber, chopped
- 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 tsp lemon rind
- juice of one lemon
- 1 clove garlic, crushed (optional)
Combine all the salad ingredients in a bowl. In a jar or other sealable container, mix all the dressing ingredients and shake. Pour over salad and mix.
Why it’s a great BBQ salad: it’s a complete protein and will taste great with almost anything else you serve it with!
Hummus and veggies
Picnics and outdoor eating require food that’s easy to prepare at home and pack to another location. Hummus and veggies are a classic addition to any outdoor summer party. Cut up cucumber and carrots and any other vegetables you like into sticks, pack them in a to-go container, pick up some hummus and you’re ready to go. Homemade hummus is easy to make, but if you prefer to buy some from the grocery store, check out Yummus Organic Hummus that’s made locally in Vancouver and doesn’t have any chemicals or preservatives like other store-bought brands. Once you try Yummus, you won’t go back.
Why it’s a great BBQ snack: it’s a great source of protein, doesn’t require cutlery and will help fill the hunger gap before dinner.
Image: Food Republic
Homemade guacamole is always a hit at BBQs and it’s easy and quick to make. Pick up:
- 3-4 ripe avocados,
- the juice of 1 lemon,
- salt and pepper to taste,
- 1 medium tomato, finely chopped,
- 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion,
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro,
- 2 tsp grated jalapeno pepper (optional).
Mash up the avocados and add the remaining ingredients. The lemon should prevent the avocado from turning brown, but you can always leave one of the pits in the dish as well. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.
Why it’s a great BBQ dip: it’s a great source of healthy fat and goes with everything – veggie sticks, chips and as a burger topping.
Image: Picky Eater Blog
The Perfect Homemade Veggie Burgers by Oh She Glows
Pre-made veggie burgers, Tofurky dogs or Field Roast Sausages are always quick options to grab, but if you have more time, homemade veggie burgers can be oh-so-satisfying.
Homemade burgers require preparation but are healthier because they come from your kitchen, not a package. They’re unprocessed and full of delicious fresh foods and spices. Oh She Glows is a fantastic vegan food blog and Angela has created “the perfect veggie burger” that won’t fall apart on the BBQ, tastes great and has a great chewy texture. The oats, black beans, almonds and sunflower seeds provide hearty substance and protein.
Why it’s a great BBQ item: whether you put it on a bun, wrap it in lettuce or have it on its own, it’s a main meal that will re-fuel you after a busy day and leave you feeling satiated.
Image: Oh She Glows
It’s a classic for vegans and non-vegans alike. If you’re feeling brave and believe you have thick enough slices of whatever vegetable(s) you’re making to not fall through the grill, put them straight on the grill brushed with olive oil. Zucchini wedges, large yam rounds and whole peppers work well for this.
Alternatively, try these roasted veggie combinations:
- Yam + red onion + drizzle of maple syrup + garnish with pecans
- Asparagus + green beans + drizzle of fresh lemon juice + salt & pepper + garnish with pine nuts
Wrap up the veggies and spices in tin foil, toss them in olive oil and put on the BBQ. When cooked, add the garnish.
Why it’s a great BBQ side: roasted yams with pecans can almost be considered dessert they’re so good! Roasted veggies are also a great item to munch on throughout the night.
Image: For the Love of Cooking
Marinated Portobello Mushrooms
Portobello’s are a quintessential vegan alternative to burgers, and for good reason. Portobello’s have a great ‘meaty’ texture and they BBQ well. Try this simple marinade to add a little something extra to the dish.
If you have time, marinate the portobello for a few hours, but it will still work to brush on right before you run out the door.
Brush cap of mushroom with a bit of olive oil. For each mushroom on the underside of the mushroom cap (on the ‘gills’), drizzle approximately 1-2 tsp(s) of balsamic vinegar, spread 1-2 tsp(s) of dijon mustard, and spread on 1 small garlic bulb (crushed). When you BBQ the mushroom, cook it cap down so the marinade does not drip off. Close the BBQ – the mushroom doesn’t need to be flipped. Depending on the heat of the BBQ, cook for 7-10 minutes, or until mushroom flattens out a bit and looked cooked. Once cooked you can eat it on its own, or add some burger fixings and make it a burger!
Why it’s a great BBQ addition: it’s easy, tasty and satisfying!
Fresh blueberries, strawberries and blackberries are in season in Vancouver. Take advantage of the local produce (or forage your own) for a sweet end to the evening.
Why it’s a great BBQ dessert: it’s no work required but always a hit
Cut up fresh pineapple into chunks and put on skewers. BBQ the pineapple on low heat until the sugars from the pineapple start to caramelize and turn golden brown.
Why it’s a great BBQ dessert: it’s simple, easy to transport and oh-so-delicious.
Image: Center Cut Cook