Vegetarians DO Attend BarbecuesWhether you are a vegetarian yourself or are hosting a BBQ with vegetarians attending,here’s our how-to guide for catering…Feeling ComfortableThere’s nothing worse for a vegetarian than being made to feel that they’re being fussy noteating meat. It’s not uncommon for a vegetarian to find themselves nibbling on side saladswhile others eat huge amounts of freshly barbecued meats.Going to a barbecue and being faced with slabs of raw meat, the possibility of meat juicesflowing onto their food and the constant ‘not eating the burgers?’ from other members ofthe barbecue party can be a bit wearing to say the least.Meat is MeatThe second thing to point out is that chicken, ham, bacon, salami and all other bi-productsof meat are not vegetarian. There’s a tendency for many non-veggies to ask vegetarians ifthey eat chicken or ham. Strange but true!That said, a large number of people often referred to as ‘vegetarian’ do, in fact, eat fish, somaybe that’s where the confusion lies.The best thing to do is to check with your vegetarian guest whether they are vegan (nomeat, no fish, no dairy?), vegetarian (no meat, no fish?) or other (what don’t you eat?).Once you’ve established which foods can and can’t be served and whom you have to caterfor, you’ll be in a far better position to serve up a feast to please everyone’s pallet.Keep Meat and Vegetables SeparateCatering for vegetarians doesn’t have to be too much extra hassle. Everyone loves a jacketpotato, Portobello mushroom, corn on the cob, salads and a spot of dressing or relish.But there are a couple of very important points to remember.Vegetarians really don’t like meat juices or remnants touching their food so clean the grillthoroughly beforehand.Cook the vegetables on one side of the barbecue and keep this as the ‘no meat’ area. Youcould even put a piece of tin foil across the grill to keep things really clear. Somevegetarians are stricter than others and may not be comfortable with meat and vegetablessharing the same grill. If this is the case, cook the vegetables and non-meat items first andremove them before putting on the meat.If you’re using two barbecues, keep one for the meat and one for the vegetables. Whereyou put the fish will depend on whether your guests eat seafood.Don’t put the meat and non-meat on the same plate once cooked or you’ll undo all yourgood work.
Veggie SubstitutesThere are good veggie sausages and there are not so good veggie sausages, there are goodveggie burgers and there are not so bad veggie burgers.Veggie versions of traditional meat items can be great, but if you’re not sure which ones togo for and haven’t tried any of them, the best thing might simply be to steer clear. Servevegetables but make sure you do something hearty and filling for the vegetarians too.If you do go with meat substitutes, check the cooking instructions – some of the items can’tbe put on BBQs. Also, meat substitutes don’t have the same juices that meat has so puttingoil on the grill before barbecuing them is a good idea to prevent them sticking.Splendid SkewersVegetarian kebabs are a delicious option and a little marinade can go a long way in turningthem from bland vege-laden skewer to mouth-watering feast.Try marinating red and green peppers, mushrooms and onion in chilli oil, cumin and crushedcoriander, before placing them on a skewer ready for the barbeque. Aubergines andcourgettes are also very tasty coated with a little oil and barbecued.Another taste-tingling option is a skewer of Halloumi cheese, onion, peppers andmushroom. Brush the mushrooms with oil beforehand, cut the Halloumi into cubes and putthem on the skewers along with the vegetables of your choice. The Halloumi has a greattexture and is wonderfully filling.Tofu Satay is a vegetarian barbecue option not to be missed. It just takes a bit of marinadewith coconut milk, peanuts, and chilli beforehand and around 6 minutes on the barbecue toproduce something vegetarians and meat-eaters alike will enjoy.If you’d like to stay with the Thai feel, you could try cooking jasmine rice with coconut milkand chilli, then put the rice into a tortilla and put on the barbecue until it’s warmed through.Mmm.Our Top 5 TipsHere are our top 5 tips for catering for vegetarians at barbeques: 1. Find out what your vegetarian guest does or doesn’t eat, ie. how strict they are, if they are vegan, if they eat fish, and so on 2. Plan your menu carefully and try to make the majority of the food suitable for the majority of the people. For example, if you do Thai Tofu skewers, do Thai Chicken skewers too and serve both with rice, marinated vegetables and salad.. That way you won’t have to cook entirely separate meals and it’ll make the vegetarians feel more comfortable 3. Clean the grill thoroughly and keep meat and non-meat separate
4. If there are vegetarian and meat options at your barbecue, make sure the vegetarians get the first choice on what to eat so that the veggie options don’t disappear before they get there5. If you’re buying and cooking meat substitute products, check the cooking instructions carefully as some products won’t cook on the barbecue