Barbeque season is upon us. Chances are, you’ve already caught a whiff of the signature smell of summer, which can trigger a sense of nostalgia (and hunger) amongst even the most dedicated vegans and vegetarians.
However, barbeques are about so much more than eating meat. It’s a chance to get together with friends and family in a garden or on a patio and spend some quality time – and just because you’re not one to partake in the burgers or hot dogs, it doesn’t mean you have to miss out!
Whether you’re a vegan, vegetarian, or just looking for some ethical, healthy alternatives, check out some of our favourite meat-free recipes and get inspired to diversify the menu at your next BBQ!
Vegan-friendly BBQ ingredients
Beef burgers, hot dogs, and chicken wings are the classic things you used to find on the BBQ, but luckily there are many clever ingredients that can provide all the same deliciousness and satisfaction without any of the meat.
Seitan:Made from wheat gluten, this meat alternative has a chewy texture and is high in protein, making it a great substitute in vegan and vegetarian recipes (especially if you’re avoiding soy).
It also crumbles well and can easily be mixed into sauces or formed into patties. You can find it pre-assembled, or combine vital wheat gluten flour with spices and water to make your own base.
Tofu:Made of condensed soy milk, tofu takes on other flavours really well. If you’re planning on grilling with tofu, make sure to choose a firm variety and press the moisture out before you cook it – simply wrap it in a clean absorbent cloth or paper towel and balance a heavy item on top to encourage the liquid to drain out.
From there, you can crumble it and mix it with other ingredients or seasonings or cut it out and marinate it in your favourite sauce.
Tempeh:Also made from soybeans, tempeh has a more condensed and chewy texture than tofu. It also takes well to marinades, making it a great choice if you’re looking for an alternative to use in traditional meat recipes, such as burgers or ribs.
One of the classic criticisms of meat alternatives is that they lack flavour – but luckily that’s an easy fix. All you need to do is get your marinade and spices right, and you can create a dish that nobody will dare to question.
Start with a liquid base
The dominant sauce should reflect the type of flavour you’re going for. BBQ sauce is a classic starting point if you’re making burgers or meat-free ribs, but you can also get creative and use ketchup, soy sauce, peanut butter, vinegar, coconut milk, and even maple syrup to create a marinade that suits your menu!
Spice it up
Once you’ve established your base flavours, add depth with spices. Paprika, black pepper, liquid smoke, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper are all classic additions for an authentic barbeque taste, but you can also create more exotic flavours with the addition of turmeric, cumin, or even curry powder.
6 easy vegan BBQ recipes to try
If you’re looking for a little more guidance or inspiration for your vegan BBQ menu, check out these quick and easy vegan recipes from some of our favourite food blogs.
The main event
Grilled tofu skewers with peanut sauce
This recipe from It Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken is as simple as prepping the tofu, whipping up a marinade, blending up a dipping sauce, and grilling away.
Vegan barbeque “ribs”
When your guests catch a glimpse of these beautiful chunks of seitan on the grill, we bet they’ll be they’re surprised that they’re vegan – and they’ll demand that you hurry up because they’re hungry! It’s all about the marinade – check out the recipe from Baked In.
Black bean burgers
These vegan black bean burgers from Pickles & Honey are perfect for a barbeque – they take less than 15 minutes to assemble, and the firm texture of the patty means you can just as easily throw them onto the grill!
On the side
Creamy cilantro lime corn on the cob
Take the classic BBQ side to the next level with a delicious, creamy vegan sauce made with cashews, nutritional yeast, and a high-speed blender – check out the recipe from It Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken.
Vegan Cesar salad
This summertime classic is a staple dish for any barbeque or picnic – and now you can enjoy it in all its vegan glory. Work your way through a recipe that has all of the nostalgia and none of the dairy from Baked In.
No bake mini s’mores cheesecakes
Just when you thought you were full, someone always mentions dessert… Indulge in that nostalgic campfire flavour with these no bake, s’mores-inspired cheesecake bites from Pickles & Honey.
There are countless ways you can reinvent the traditional barbeque menu and transform it into something that’s more ethical, sustainable, and, of course, delicious! For more summertime cooking ideas, learn how to make vegan baked eggplant sesame fries and jackfruit BBQ tacos.