Ah, the sweet, smokey smell of a good barbecue. The tanginess of the sauce, that slight bit of char. There’s nothing quite like a good burger or steak, right? Well, that may be true, unless you’re vegan. If you don’t eat animal products, you may feel like you’re limited to the fruit and veggie tray at a lot of parties. But just because you’re a vegan doesn’t mean you have to miss out on delicious grilled meals. In fact, even if you’re not vegan, cooking a vegan meal is a great way to incorporate additional vegetables into your diet.
Why Do People Eat Vegan?
To put it simply, a person who eats a vegan diet doesn’t consume any animal products. That includes meat, milk, eggs, fish, and any other food obtained from animals. A vegan diet is strictly plant-based.
Some people choose to follow a vegan diet simply because they don’t like meat or dairy. Others do it for environmental reasons and feel that eating vegan is better for the planet. There are also people that don’t approve of the way some farm animals are treated and eat vegan in support of different practices. Ultimately, following a vegan diet comes down to a matter of personal preference. Whatever the reason, eating vegan may cut down on food choices, but that doesn’t mean it has to cut back on flavor.
What Foods are Vegan?
Many foods that you may eat every day are vegan, and you might not even realize it. Do you prefer almond milk in your coffee or use vegetable oil to cook? Those are vegan products. Those nuts and seeds in your trail mix? Those are vegan too. Vegan foods are all around you if you know what you are looking for. Here are some common vegan foods you might be familiar with:
- Legumes (including peas, beans, lentils, etc.)
- Nuts and Seeds
- Carbs (like bread, pasta, and rice as long as they don’t contain dairy products or eggs.)
- Vegetable Oils
- Dairy alternatives (dairy-free milk, butter, yogurt, etc.)
And don’t be fooled. Just because vegan foods don’t contain animal products doesn’t mean they aren’t delicious. Have you ever tried a vegan cheesecake? The texture is basically the same, and the taste? A little nuttier than you might expect, but equally as delectable as the original version.
Grilling for Vegan Guests
Now let’s get back to that barbecue. Take a step back for a moment. Let’s say your friend will be there, and they’re vegan. What are you going to serve beyond that fruit and veggie tray?
First, be open and honest with your friend. Ask a few questions about their food preferences and explain to them that you want to be sure there’s plenty of food they’ll be able to eat. Ask how they like their food to be prepared, and what foods are their favorite.
If you’re feeding both vegan and non-vegan guests, be sure to make food that will please everyone’s palate. It is possible to adapt recipes to both diets. The easiest thing to do is to omit or substitute some ingredients for ones that are vegan-friendly. Consider switching out dairy cheese to vegan cheese or serving meat alternatives instead of traditional meat dishes. Always be sure to make your guests aware of these changes. Many vegan products are very realistic, so your guests may not even notice the difference.
Recipes to Try
||This recipe is especially great for the fall season. You don’t even have to peel it! Our recipe calls for cutting the squash in half, which makes a beautiful presentation. Plus, you’ll get some amazing-looking grill marks and just enough char to really bump up the grilled flavor.
||Don’t forget about this simple and delicious dish. It’s colorful, flavorful, and really packs a punch when it comes to presentation. Feel free to substitute some of your favorite vegetables or use up some of that leftover produce you have from your summer garden. You can serve the skewers with your favorite dipping sauce, too.
||Now that you’re getting into a vegan mindset, you may be wondering how you can incorporate some of your favorite barbecue dishes. The answer? Potato salad with Fresh chives and parsley. A zesty, mustard-based dressing truly brings this recipe to life. Bonus: You can make this dish ahead of time so it’s ready to serve when your guests arrive.
||You don’t have to serve that same old salad with Romaine lettuce, either. Why not try our version with black eyed peas and dandelion greens? Diced jalapenos and chopped red onion give this salad a hint of spice, and a dressing made with red wine vinegar and olive oil ties it all together.
||Still craving a burger? We’ve got you covered. Our spicy portorizo burger is a zesty vegan take on a classic beef burger. The secret ingredients? Portobello mushrooms and tequila. How’s that for a punch of flavor! A blend of savory spices, including curry powder, cumin, and chili powder, will make you forget that this burger isn’t made of meat.
||Who wants pizza! And we’re not talking about your typical cheese and pepperoni pie. This one uses wild mushrooms, leeks, and vegan gorgonzola to add a savory twist on an old favorite. A tomato-cognac sauce really elevates this dish. Be sure to pick up some extra portions of vegan pizza dough because you’ll be throwing more on the grill in no time!
||Do you still have room for dessert? We hope so, because our grilled sweet pineapple is the perfect end to any meal. The caramelized cinnamon sugar on the outside gives just the right amount of sweetness, and this recipe cooks up quickly, making it perfect for a barbecue.
And Don’t Forget...
Remember to clean your grill! Simply trying to burn off all the old food and emptying the grease tray isn’t enough. Cleaning your grill is especially important if you were using it constantly during the warmer months. Not sure where to start? You can find some tips and tricks here.
Did you know that you should season your gas grill before you use it? It’ll help you get some amazing flavor and regulate the temperature of your grill, helping you avoid those dreaded hot spots.
And don’t forget to stock up on Blue Rhino propane! You can use our easy-to-use propane finder to locate a retailer near you. You can also use our home delivery service in many markets.
Whatever you’re grilling this season, don’t underestimate the power of stepping out of your comfort zone. It will help you and your guests alike discover some amazing new meals. Happy grilling!