Barbecues and potlucks can be a fun way to spend time with friends and family, but they often surround meat. If you are a vegetarian or vegan, or simply trying to cut back on meat, it can be hard to enjoy. Here are some different options for adding Healthy Vegetarian BBQ Ideas.
Meatless Burger Substitutes
If you are trying to eat healthier at a barbecue, your biggest struggle might be choosing main dishes that are meatless, especially when you want a vegetarian burger. Whether you are a vegetarian or vegan, or you simply want to cut back on the meat for your potluck or BBQ, the following meatless burger substitutes provide some great options for you.
Portobello Mushroom Burger
This is an excellent idea for a meatless burger that is super easy to make. Unlike the other options on this list, you don’t have to make ground vegetables in a food processor first before putting it all together. All you need to do is get some portabella mushroom caps, add olive oil and your own seasonings, then grill it until you are happy with the results. Between 5 and 8 minutes is usually enough for this type of burger. You aren’t trying to make raw meat, so it is up to how hot, grilled, and soft you want your mushrooms.
Many people enjoy mushroom caps on their regular beef hamburgers, so even if you have meat-eaters at the barbecue, they probably won’t miss the meat part of the burger all that much!
Bean and Rice Burger
The next option actually combines two popular burger alternatives: black beans and quinoa. Quinoa instead of other types of rice is going to work great since it is high in fiber, but lower in fat and carbs. The black beans are also perfect for a burger alternative since the cooked texture is very similar to meat.
You will need to combine your black beans and rice together, along with an egg, bread crumbs, and any seasonings you want to use. This will bind the rice and beans together and make it much easier to turn into hamburger patties. You can then grill them as you would any other burger, except it should cook a lot faster than meat. Healthy Vegetarian BBQ Ideas
Why not make a Mediterranean style vegetarian burger with chickpeas? You want to get the chickpeas ground in a food processor, similar to when you are making hummus, however, they won’t be ground quite as thinly. To make it a bit thicker, add in some other veggies like peppers and carrots to the food processor, then some egg and flour to allow you to create patties. Cook this on your grill and everyone will love it. Healthy Vegetarian BBQ Ideas
If you have people at your BBQ who are fans of cauliflower, this will be a popular one. Cauliflower really takes on any flavor you cook it with, so all you need to do is put the cauliflower into a food processor, mold it into burger shapes, and grill it with any seasonings you want. Healthy Vegetarian BBQ Ideas
Cauliflower Main and Side Dishes
Cauliflower is quickly becoming the king of vegetables in all things healthy. Not only is it often used for low-carb diets because it helps replace potatoes and rice, but you can also make some killer meatless food options with it. Healthy Vegetarian BBQ Ideas
The great thing about cauliflower is that it has a great texture for anything, from popcorn chicken to steaks. Here are some different ways to use cauliflower for your meatless BBQ dishes:
Make Cauliflower Steaks
Who doesn’t love a good steak? Unfortunately, this isn’t something you or other vegetarians are going to eat at a barbecue. While the meat-eaters might not eat it, it is great to grill up for all those vegetarian-friendly folks. No, it isn’t going to look or taste like meat, but it lets you have a main dish that goes right on a grill to eat with your other vegetarian side dishes. It is definitely a win-win for a barbecue or potluck. Healthy Vegetarian BBQ Ideas
Turn it Into ‘Meat’-balls
Why not make some meatballs without meat? These can be fun at a BBQ to have on sticks as a little appetizer or finger food, instead of on a big plate of pasta. You can definitely make them with cauliflower if you choose the right seasonings and sauce. You want your cauliflower ground up first, then combined with egg and bread crumbs to turn them into balls. Cook or grill them how you prefer with your choice of seasonings. Find a vegetarian-friendly sauce to go on top, and you have a winner. Healthy Vegetarian BBQ Ideas
Try Some Buffalo Wings
These are becoming really popular and are super easy to make. What’s better, is no food processing is required to make them. You can use the little cauliflower florets you pull off the head of cauliflower, then drench them in a mixture of your favorite buffalo sauce. Another option is to go one step further to bread them on the outside, cook them up, then cover them in the sauce. This is entirely up to you and determined by whether or not you want to use those bread crumbs.
Make Popcorn ‘Chicken’
This is going to be similar to how you made them into buffalo wings. You definitely want to bread the balls of cauliflower after combining them with eggs to make them stick together. You can then deep fry them, bake, or grill, depending on your preference. Serve them with different sauces like barbecue sauce or a creamy dressing if you’re not concerned about it being vegan. Healthy Vegetarian BBQ Ideas
Vegetarian Kabobs Your Friends Will Love
Do you know what you can find at just about every barbecue you attend? Kabobs! Also called skewers, since the kabobs are inserted onto skewer sticks or bamboo skewers. These are super fun, easy to eat while standing or walking around and are fun even for the kids.
The problem, of course, is that they usually have meat on them. However, you still have some excellent options for having completely meatless kabobs during your BBQ. Take a look at these ideas. Healthy Vegetarian BBQ Ideas
Butter Garlic Mushrooms
This might be a bit unconventional, but mushrooms are actually great with vegetarian kabobs. It gets you away from the standard bell peppers and chopped veggies that you find on skewers, and lets you offer something a little special. Healthy Vegetarian BBQ Ideas
To make these, you first want to flavor your whole button mushrooms or mushroom slices with some butter and garlic, then slide them onto the skewer. You will just grill them up with the rest of your veggies before serving. Healthy Vegetarian BBQ Ideas
Veggie Fajita Kabobs
Next up, you can make kabobs out of the ingredients you would usually need for veggie fajitas. Think of a fajita with chicken or steak, then just remove the meat, and you have yourself some delicious fajitas. For the veggies, a mix of different bell peppers is used, such as red, green, and yellow, then some chunks of onion, and maybe some tomato too. Healthy Vegetarian BBQ Ideas
Fajitas often have cheese, so you can mix in some squares of cheddar or Monterey Jack on the skewer as well. Just make sure you cook the veggies first before adding the cheese, or it will melt. Healthy Vegetarian BBQ Ideas
While most kabobs and skewers are going to have veggies, there is no rule you can’t use them for fruit! You can either put fresh fruit chunks on skewers and serve them like that instead of on plates, or you can grill them up. A lot of fruit actually tastes amazing when grilled, especially pineapple! Choose any fruit you can cut up into chunks, like:
- Honeydew melon
There is absolutely no reason you have to make it overly fancy. You can go basic with a simple veggie kabob that contains all your favorite grilled veggies on one stick. This is a good way to serve veggies at the BBQ without needing an extra room on the plate. You can choose any veggies you want, but here are some great options:
- Bell pepper
As you can see, there are tons of ideas to have fun kabobs without using any type of meat! Healthy V egetarian BBQ Ideas
Delicious Meatless Side Dishes
Now for the side dishes. This is typically an easier option since a lot of BBQ sides already have fruits and vegetables. However, if you want to get away from the standards, here are some different options to bring: Healthy Vegetarian BBQ Ideas
Spicy Cucumber Salad
Cucumber salad is a fan favorite at barbecues and picnics, especially in the summer. Unfortunately, a lot of these salads are a bit boring and bland, plus many are creamy, which might not be the best option when it’s hot out. Another option is to turn it into a lighter, spicy cucumber salad that also happens to be vegan-friendly. Healthy Vegetarian BBQ Ideas
For this type of cucumber salad, make a dressing with spices and oils you have on hand. Some good options are garlic, rice vinegar or sesame oil, diced chilies, and red pepper flakes. Choose your own combination, make the dressing, and toss cucumber slices with it.
Hummus and Pita Bread
Who doesn’t love some good hummus? Made of chickpeas, olive oil, and seasonings, there is a lot you can do with it. For a BBQ, it is the perfect dip when you are vegetarian or vegan in order to get away from the cream-based dips that use dairy. Plus, it can be lighter than a lot of those other dips as well.
Make some hummus and bring either pita bread pieces or pita chips. It can also be used to dip raw veggies and regular chips is provided.
You will probably find fruit at every barbecue you go to, but if you want something a little different, why not grill it? This can help you get a healthy side option that is vegetarian and vegan-friendly but also add a little more fun and flavor to it. Healthy Vegetarian BBQ Ideas
It’s All About the Fruit
Finally, let’s talk fruit. Fruit can be the life of the party when you prepare it in the right way. Here are some delicious ways to bring fruit to your BBQ or potluck and get people’s interest at the same time. Healthy Vegetarian BBQ Ideas
If you want a fruit salad that doesn’t have the regular dairy-based cream mixture, you can instead toss it with some fruity dressing. Another option is to use dairy-free cream that is whipped up until it has stiff peaks, then mixed with the fruit. Healthy Vegetarian BBQ Ideas
For a dessert that uses fruit, you can make some strawberry shortcakes. Lighten this up and increase its health by making low-fat shortbread for the bottom of them, then add some sliced fruit that has not been mixed with sugar for all those added carbs and calories. Toss it with some dairy-free whipped cream and you’re good to go. Healthy Vegetarian BBQ Ideas
Spinach Strawberry Salad
For a regular salad, you can add fruit to it easily with a spinach strawberry salad. This is super healthy and is going to mix it up a little with the more traditional salads being served. Plus, it won’t use cheese or cream dressing if you have vegans attending. All you need is spinach, sliced strawberries, nuts like pecans or walnuts, and some raspberry vinaigrette. Healthy Vegetarian BBQ Ideas
No-Chicken Chicken Salad
Another fun idea is to make a faux chicken salad. Just make what would be a normal chicken salad without the chicken. Trust me – this is good stuff. You really don’t need the extra protein as it is already super healthy and yummy. Start with greens, then mix in some walnuts, cranberries, green apples, and a little cinnamon. To make it all stick together, try a little bit of Greek yogurt.
Hopefully, you found some good ideas for your next vegetarian BBQ or potluck!