Veganism is becoming a dietary choice for many. Even celebrities like Beyoncé, Jay-Z, Alicia Silverstone and Jessica Simpson have tried it. And though I still haven’t converted, I don’t mind eating a vegan meal once in a while. That being said, I have many friends who have dropped dairy, meat and eggs altogether. Most of them have become creative in the kitchen and to my surprise, the food and desserts they cook up are very flavourful. Vegans are encouraged to combine new ingredients—if only to prevent their meals from getting too boring.
I like to host parties, but I’m realizing that I have to add vegan options to the appetizers I serve. Since summer calls for BBQ, here are some vegan recipes that will earn star status on the grill.
Playing with Proteins
Meat, poultry and even fish are off the menu for vegans, so your best option is to take tofu to the grill. Tofu has about 8 grams of protein per 100 grams. You can cut it in various ways. Make it into squares for burgers or “steaks,” or into blocks for tofu kabobs. I got a great tip from Kitchn.com, that you should freeze the tofu until solid. Then let it thaw in the fridge overnight before it gets prepared. Apparently, freezing tofu gives it a chewier texture, as well as it helps to absorb the marinades better. Kitchn offers a great recipe from Bryant Terry (Afro-Vegan), Summer Vegetable and Tofu Kebabs.
28 ounces extra-firm tofu
1. Remove the tofu from the refrigerator and let it warm to room temperature. Put the potatoes in a small saucepan, add water to cover, and bring to a boil over high heat. Decrease the heat to medium-low, cover, and cook until fork-tender, 15 to 20 minutes.
2. Prepare a grill for medium-high heat cooking. While the grill is heating, put the oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and cayenne in a large bowl and whisk to combine. Add the potatoes, eggplant, green and red bell pepper, and onion, and toss gently until evenly coated.
3. Next, thread the tofu and vegetables onto 10 metal skewers (or pre-soaked wooden skewers), distributing them evenly among the skewers. Put the remaining 3 cups barbecue sauce in a small saucepan and add any sauce remaining in the ziplock bag. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring frequently, and continue cooking for about 1 minute. Transfer to a serving bowl.
4. Brush the grill’s grates with olive oil. Put the kebabs on the grill and cook, brushing with BBQ sauce and turning frequently, until the tofu is lightly charred and the vegetables are fork-tender, about 8 minutes. Serve with the hot barbecue sauce alongside.
Vegans Love Dem Vegetables
Vegetables are a vegan’s best friend. And coming from a meat eater, grilling veggies is the best way to eat them. There are many ways to prepare grilled vegetables. Veggie kabobs make a great appetizer, and depending on which varieties you use, they can look really colourful. The dressing for these kabobs can be pretty basic, but this vegan green goddess dressing by Oh She Glows makes me want to eat them all day! It’s got avocados, chives, and egg-free mayo. Sounds tasty.
FOR THE DRESSING:
FOR THE KABOBS:
1. For the dressing: Mince the garlic in a food processor. Now add in the tarragon and chives and process until minced. Finally, add in the rest of the ingredients and process until the dressing is smooth (or just about). Adjust seasonings to taste if desired. Dressing can be used immediately or stored in the fridge (in a sealed container) for 3-4 days.
2. For the kabobs: Preheat the BBQ over medium-low heat. Chop vegetables into desired sizes and place on vegetable skewers. Brush oil on veggies to coat all sides and season with salt and pepper. Grill the kabobs for around 15 minutes, rotating every 5 minutes. We grilled for the first 10 minutes on the top rack and then moved them to the bottom rack for the last 3-5 minutes.
3. Serve kabobs immediately with a drizzle of dressing on top.
A convenient way to grill your vegetables is using the BBQ Devil Topper. It helps distribute the heat better than actually placing them on the grill. And more importantly, it prevents any of those smaller cut pieces from falling through the cracks. It’s easy to use and also dishwasher safe.
I’m still uncertain whether corn is a vegetable, a fruit or a grain. For the sake of this article, however, I’m giving it its own category because corn on the BBQ is delicious. For vegans, it’s all about the types of spices and sauces that work for their diet. Instead of using butter, use coconut oil. Now, as a non-vegan, I love this tip and will put coconut oil on my corn this summer. In addition, adding spices like paprika and fresh cilantro makes for a powerful combination. Check out this recipe from Blissful Basil:
1. Heat grill over high until hot.
2. If you want a bit of a char on the corn, pull back a few of the husks on each ear of corn. Place the corn directly on the grill, cover, and grill for 15 to 20 minutes or until the husks are charred on all sides, rotating occasionally. Remove and let cool until they can safely be handled.
3. Remove the husks and silk from each ear of corn. You can either discard the husks completely or fold them back to use as handles.
4. Use a pastry brush or your hands to spread the coconut oil over each ear of corn. Place the corn on a serving platter, sprinkle with the smoked paprika, spritz with the fresh lime juice, sprinkle with cilantro, and season with sea salt and black pepper. Serve.
What’s the vegan verdict? Did your vegan friends love your BBQ?
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