Are you hosting a 4th of July vegan BBQ this year, and in need of some fabulous ideas? Or maybe you've been invited to a non-vegan do, and need some suggestions to give to your host. Or perhaps you'll be taking your own food to cook, and don't want to have to resort to visiting the supermarket for supplies. Or you simply want to dazzle the omnis in your life with how awesome vegan food can be!
I must admit that in almost all cases, I prefer to take my own food because all too often, I've turned up at a barbie, only to find that either the host has inadvertently bought vegetarian burgers and sossies, not vegan ones, or they've completely forgotten altogether, and hastily cuts a couple of peppers in half, and throws them on the grill, in an attempt to provide me with something with which to fill my belly.
Spoiler: ain't never gonna happen.
As some of you know from my 4th of July round-up last year, not only is it American Independence Day, it also happens to be my birthday, so this year, we're having a barbecue at Beet Bar. Yay!
EDIT: Since the initial one was so successful - I mean hugely successful - we're now having BBQs at Beet Bar every weekend throughout the summer!
Naturally, as the resident chef, I will be providing the food, and I thought it a good opportunity to give you all some ideas if you're in need yourselves!
The world’s best vegan sausages may be a bold claim to make but I can honestly say that I have never tasted better vegan sausages… anywhere. These sausages are moist, firm, and tremendously full of flavour; they really are better than anything you can buy in the shops!
My ultimate veggie burgers are made with chickpeas, butternut squash, leeks, mushrooms, and tahini, coated with polenta (cornmeal), and gently fried until they are crispy on the outside but soft in the middle.
Glazed with a with a deliciously sticky barbecue sauce, and perfect for summer al fresco entertaining, these meaty BBQ seitan ribs are really simple to make, and practically guaranteed to keep everyone at your gathering coming back for more!
Crisp herbed potatoes team up with crunchy kale chips, fluffy quinoa, and a host of garden-fresh vegetables to make this power-packed roast potato, quinoa, and garden veggie salad a complete and deliciously filling meal.
Still with potatoes, this simple, yet so satisfying, delicious mayo-free loaded potato salad is brimming with nourishing spring veggies, and perfect for al fresco dining and barbecues.
Caprese il Tricolore is one of my all-time favourite salads at any time of the year. It’s light, it’s refreshing, and really simple to make. It’s one of the easiest meals in the world to make, and takes its name from the Italian flag, il Tricolore Italiano.
If spicy salads are your thing, then my Thai pomelo salad (vegan yum som-o) is sure to be right up your street. It's super-simple to make, and a deliciously refreshing example of the Thai flavour cycle of hot, sour, salty, and sweet.
Loaded with protein and yumminess, this spicy buckwheat and mung bean salad is really easy to make, and is as delicious as it is nutritious and frugal!
Panzanella (Tuscan bread salad) is one of my favourite salads – it’s the epitome of spring and summer for me. And not only is it super-easy to make (no cooking!), it’s a great way to use up stale bread.
Vegan Dips and Condiments
Creamy, smoky and oh so moreish, this perfectly smooth and creamy hummus is ready in under five minutes, and is fantastic as part of a meze platter, on crackers and toast, in wraps and salads, or, if you’re like me, from a spoon!
With only half a dozen ingredients, my creamy avocado hummus is ready in just a few minutes, and is full of goodness, and super-delicious. Especially when eaten by the spoonful! (Yes, there's a theme here!)
Baba ghanouj (pronounced bubba gan-oosh) is a traditional Levantine meze; I had it a gazillion times when I lived in Morocco as well (where I learned to make it), and and in Turkey and Oman as well. I could, in truth, eat it all day!
A staple of Balkan cuisine, ajvar (pronounced eye-var) is a delicious rich red pepper spread that’s perfect with fresh rustic bread, pasta, crackers, baked potatoes, sausages, burgers, etc. And best of all… it’s naturally vegan!
Fantastic with so many dishes, and made with just a handful of staple ingredients, my vegan nacho cheese is so creamy and cheesy, with a little bit of a spicy kick - you'd never know there is no dairy in it. I love slathering it over hot dogs and on top of burgers!
My super easy home-made tofu-free veganaise (vegan mayo) is so much better than store-bought; it’s rich, creamy, and silky, and is totally deliciously more-ish! It’s fantastic on burgers, with sausages, in sandwiches, on potato salad… and of course, with fries or wedges!
Of course, you don't have to save any of these for the barbecue - they're just as delicious eaten indoors as out, and are great for picnics too, so whenever you have them, enjoy!