Champneys Blog

A guide to a vegan and vegetarian summer BBQ

BBQ season signals the height of summer, but for some people who enjoy a vegan or vegetarian diet, the more traditional fare of burgers, sausages and chicken isn’t going to prove popular on the menu.
People who suffer from food allergies or those looking to sustain a meat-free diet can find enjoying a BBQ tricky – after all, there are only so many vegetables you can grill. A BBQ can be a daunting experience for someone with a complex diet, so we have compiled a range of recipes and BBQ ideas from fellow vegan and vegetarian bloggers and asked them for their top recipes that’ll enable you to enjoy a meat-free summer feast without the fuss.
A rising trend

The number of people choosing a vegan, vegetarian or even plant-based lifestyle has rocketed since 2018 and is now one of the UK’s fastest growing culinary food trends. With more and more consumers become accustomed to the health and environmental benefits that come in conjunction with cutting meat, dairy and gluten out of your diet.

As more than 3 million people in roughly 2 years have opted to switch their diets, fast food chains and some of the UK’s largest supermarkets have followed in suit to keep up with the ever-changing consumer market. But why has veganism and other similar lifestyle choices grown in popularity so quickly?

If you’re thinking about trying a vegan diet, have a read of our blog Everything you need to know before becoming vegan.

Your health

Healthy eating guidelines and an abundance of rich fruits, vegetables and seeds provide a balanced and rich diet for those who choose to make the switch. Some believe that a plant-based diet is linked to reducing the risk of various illnesses. The Vegan Society reported:

“Some research has linked vegan diets with lower blood pressure and cholesterol, and lower rates of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some types of cancer. Going vegan is a great opportunity to learn more about nutrition and cooking, and improve your diet. Getting your nutrients from plant foods allows more room in your diet for health-promoting options like whole grains, fruit, nuts, seeds and vegetables, which are packed full of beneficial fibre, vitamins and minerals.”

The animals

Of course, going vegan or vegetarian means that you don’t consume meat, and although this isn’t the reason everyone chooses a plant-based lifestyle, it remains one of the highest deciding factors for those that do. The belief that animals have the right to enjoy a life of freedom and the emotional attachment to the animals themselves can be an opinion that sways many into converting their diet. Taking a stand against animal cruelty and the exploitation of animals can be demonstrated by employing a vegan lifestyle which doesn’t just avoid meat but all animal products.

The environment

Everyone knows the effects that greenhouse gases are having on our planet and since the call for change has become more prevalent, people have chosen to become vegan in a bid to do their bit for the environment.

The production of meat and dairy products is proven to be one of the largest contributors to greenhouse gases and the increase in emissions, making it a red flag for many trying to counteract the change. Many say that choosing a plant-based lifestyle will preserve vital species and habitats, reduce our greenhouses gases and even conserve water.

The Recipes

Chilli and Lime Corn on the Cob

Forget average corn on the cob chargrilled on the BBQ, this pimped up corn is a game-changer at a summer celebration. Although it is a vegetable that is known for being high in carbohydrates, corn is also known to promote great vision and lower blood pressure. Add a splash of colour, spice and tang and you’ve got a fun, finger food that everyone can tuck into.

3 x corn on the cob
1 tbsp Avocado oil mayo (vegan mayo if you’re vegan)
½ Serrano pepper or chilli
Squeeze Lime
Paprika (optional)

- Mix your choice of mayo, chilli or pepper, a squeeze of lime and seasoning into a bowl.
- Remove the husks from your corn and wash thoroughly.
- Brush your corn with the mixture and add a sprinkling of paprika on top if desired.
- Cook the corn on the BBQ until chargrilled and soft.

Homemade Black Bean Burgers

You don’t want to feel left out when you head to a summer BBQ, so this black bean burger recipe is the perfect option for those wanting to join in on the burger action, just without the meat. These homemade vegan black bean burgers are protein-rich and low in sugar, low in calories and perfect for the BBQ. Customise to your taste with garnish and sauces and tuck into a guilt-free BBQ winner!

“Most store-bought burgers in my area aren’t a healthy choice; they’re made with refined oil, flour and sugar, and also with preservatives or additives. Homemade burgers are more affordable, super healthy and you can add any ingredients you like or have on hand, and they’re super easy to make, especially if you use canned beans or have a pressure cooker”. The Simple Vegan Blog quote on their website.

330g cooked black beans
½ cup instant oats
¼ nutritional yeast
1 tbsp flax seed
1 tbsp onion powder
1 clove crushed garlic
1 tbsp paprika

- Drain and wash your black beans and cook in accordance with the tin instructions.
- Add to a mixing bowl along with all the dried ingredients, add oats and mash until combined.
- Add a little more oats if consistency is too wet.
- Shape the mixture into burgers with your hands.
- Cook on the BBQ for 5 to 10 minutes.
- Garnish with gluten free bread and salad.

Mexican Street Corn Salad

We spoke to Elizabeth at I Heart Vegetables who told us all about her recipe for Mexican Street Corn Salad, the perfect side dish for vegetarians to enjoy at a summer BBQ.

"I've been a vegetarian for over 10 years, but I still love going to barbecues - I'm all about the side dishes! My body feels best when I'm fuelling it with lots of fruits and vegetables, so I love bringing a few of my favourite side dishes to a cookout. This Spicy Mexican Street Corn Salad is my favourite dish to serve with tacos or fajitas. It’s great for a crowd because you can make it ahead of time and you can make it as spicy or as mild as you like. This recipe serves enough for a crowd but you can easily divide it in half for a smaller portion.”

2 x 400g bags of frozen corn
1 tbsp olive oil
4 tbsp mayonnaise
225g feta cheese
1/2 jalapeno, diced
60g chopped cilantro
3 cloves garlic
1 lime
1/2 tsp chipotle sea salt (or 1/4 tsp chilli powder + 1/2 tsp sea salt)
Pinch of red pepper flakes

- In a large frying pan, cook the corn for 10-12 minutes.
- In a large bowl, mix the mayo and feta.
- Stir in the chopped jalapeno and cilantro.
- Crush the garlic and add in.
- Squeeze the lime into the mix.
- Add the corn into the cheese mixture and mix together thoroughly.
- Sprinkle with chipotle sea salt, and red pepper flakes and serve.

BBQ Tofu Skewers

Much like marmite, many vegans and vegetarians either love or hate tofu, but with this BBQ soaked recipe, we are sure even the non-believers will be happy. BBQ tofu and vegetable skewers offer a sweet, sticky and crunchy BBQ offering. The crunchy tofu and the soft peppers and courgette offer a contrast in textures, whilst the BBQ offers a sweet and sticky sauce perfect for dunking. Who says BBQ’s have to be boring?

2 blocks tofu
2 courgettes
1 onion
2 peppers
5 tbsp BBQ sauce (Use vegan BBQ sauce to make this recipe vegan)

- Cut up the tofu, onion, pepper and courgette into small chunks.
- Place in a bowl or container and add BBQ sauce, leave to marinade for 30 minutes.
- Add chunks onto a skewer, alternating between tofu and vegetables.
- Cook on a BBQ for 5 minutes or until chargrilled.
- Serve with BBQ sauce.

Portobello Mushroom with Pesto Drizzle

Making Thyme for Health shared this wonderful portobello mushroom recipe on her website, she also discussed why she enjoys eating healthy and hearty food: “I LOVE food. I love healthy food that makes me feel energized and happy. I love knowing that what I eat isn’t causing any harm to another conscious being or the planet. Above all, I love supporting others that are making their livelihood working towards that same goal.”

This simple and incredibly easy BBQed mushroom is the perfect alternative to a meat steak and is crammed full of powerful flavours. Soaked in balsamic vinegar and drizzled with pesto mayo, this will soon become a BBQ favourite. Low in calories and high in nutritional value, mushrooms are a great way of packing vitamin B, potassium and vitamin D into your diet.  

1 large portobello mushroom
A drizzle balsamic vinegar
4 tbsp vegan mayo
Squeeze lemon
1 garlic clove
1 tbsp vegetarian/vegan pesto

- Wash the mushroom and pat dry with a cloth or towel.
- Mix the balsamic vinegar, garlic and lemon juice together and drizzle over the mushroom.
- Cook on the BBQ for 2-3 minutes, turning halfway through.
- Mix the pesto and vegan mayo together in a bowl.
- Drizzle over the cooked mushroom.
- Add a finishing splash of lemon.

Jackfruit Pulled Pork

We spoke to Hannah from Two Spoons who recommended her favourite Jackfruit Pulled Pork Burger for a BBQ, We also asked her why she enjoys following a plant-based diet: “A plant-based diet has really helped my overall health and wellbeing. I eat an abundance of colourful food, it's healthy and delicious! Eating healthy and vegan certainly doesn't need to compromise on taste. And it feels so good to know that I am helping the environment and animals by doing so.”

2 cans jackfruit
5tbsps vegan BBQ sauce
1 sachet or packet BBQ seasoning
1tsp garlic powder
1tsp paprika

- Tear the jackfruit and place in a bowl along with the BBQ sauce.
- Add the seasoning, garlic powder and paprika.
- Leave to marinade for 30 minutes.
- Add the jackfruit to pan on a low heat and cook for roughly 10 minutes.
- Serve with your choice of bread and garnish.

BBQ Aubergine

Jam-packed with fibre, aubergines are rich in antioxidants and vitamins B1 and B6. Grilled vegetables don’t have to be boring and almost any flavoured sauce will compliment them on the BBQ. Serve alone, with rice or with sweet potatoes fries.

1 large aubergine
4 tbsp vegan BBQ sauce
½ lime
1 tbsp oil (any oil)
Salt and pepper
1 tsp paprika

- Wash your aubergine and cut into thick slices.
- Mix your BBQ sauce, lime juice, oil, paprika, salt and pepper to create a marinade.
- Brush the marinade onto the slices of aubergine, making sure both sides are covered.
- Cook on the BBQ for 2-3 minutes.

With all of these mouth-watering recipes in mind, we hope you now have some new and innovative vegan and vegetarian ideas to try out on your summer BBQ. No matter what your eating preferences are, there are always some flavourful and creative dishes out there that will ensure you aren’t left out of the party.

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