The Ultimate Guide to BBQs as a Vegan

Everything you need to navigate BBQs as a vegan this summer

Vegan BBQ food from the grill
Image Credit: AdobeStock

Summer barbecues are a staple tradition when the temperature starts to rise, and thanks to the abundance of plant-based meat alternatives, there’s no reason for vegans to be left out of alfresco feasts.

Whether you’re hosting your own plant-based barbecue or attending as a guest, our ultimate guide to vegan barbecues will make your summer gatherings a breeze.

What to bring to a non-vegan BBQ

Attending a BBQ as the only vegan can be tricky to navigate, but with a little preparation, you’ll fit right into the festivities. It’s probably safe to say most barbecue hosts will already have a variety of salad options, so as an absolute bare minimum, it’s best to be armed with a few basics:

  • Vegan burger buns
  • Meat-free sausages or burgers of choice (check out our guide to vegan barbecue products for ideas)
  • Condiments like vegan mayo or margarine
  • Snacks and nibbles like crisps or vegan ice cream

If you’re comfortable enough with the hosts, you could ask them to keep vegan guests in mind when shopping for their barbecue. There are plenty of accidentally vegan foods available in supermarkets like snacks, drinks and condiments.

Many vegan items are now clearly labelled in supermarkets, and more often than not, the vegan options taste exactly the same as their non-vegan counterparts, making it a no-brainer when making barbecues more inclusive for guests.

Those who really like to be organised could prepare a side dish or two and take it to the barbecue – here are some of our favourite vegan barbecue recipes for inspiration.

Grilled Sausages
Image Credit: Garden Gourmet

Let veggies take centre-stage

Your vegan barbecue dishes don’t have to be all about meat alternatives. If you’re not keen on meat-free sausages and burgers, or want to cater to vegans and omnivores as much as possible with your barbecue, prioritise veggies.

Grilled veggies make great stand-alone snacks or you can use them to add colour and texture to side dishes like pasta.

Add some colour to your BBQ spread by dicing up carrots, bell peppers, onions, broccoli, olives, or whatever else you might already have on hand. Mix the veggies with cooked pasta and a vegan Italian dressing, and voilà, pasta salad! It doesn’t get much easier than that.

Or why not create a delicious and beautiful display by arranging the veggies around a vegan-friendly dip like hummus or salsa? There’s nothing wrong with keeping it classic with the veggie tray that everyone already knows and loves!

A flatlay of grilled/ barbecued vegetables
Image Credit: AdobeStock

Best veggies for grilling

Preparing and marinating veggies doesn’t need to be a time-consuming task – it can take as little as 5-10 minutes to grill them to perfection. Here are some of the most versatile veggies to throw on the grill.

  • Sweetcorn – Of course, no barbecue is complete without corn on the cob! Sprinkle some harissa spice mix over the corn, drizzle with agave nectar syrup and wrap it in tin foil. Grill for around 15 minutes and take the foil off for the last few minutes to achieve a charred effect.
  • Bell peppers – Chop your peppers into the desired shape, add a drizzle of olive oil and grill for a few minutes. The chargrilled lines add a delicious smoky flavour.
  • Aubergines – Chop your aubergine into round slices, drizzle in olive oil and sprinkle with oregano and salt. Grill for a few minutes on both sides.
  • Courgettes – Slice the courgettes into strips, add your desired herbs and spices and drizzle with olive oil. Cook for a few minutes on each side.
  • Asparagus – Drizzle with the juice of half a lemon and grill it for a few minutes, turning regularly. Easy and delicious!
  • Portobello mushrooms – Add a drizzle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and for some extra flavour, sprinkle some pieces of chopped garlic on top. Grill for a few minutes.
Grilled corn on the cob
Image Credit: AdobeStock

Best seasonings for veggies

Veggies don’t have to be bland and boring. Even a basic drizzle of oil can elevate a basic vegetable into a tasty barbecue classic. Don’t be afraid to experiment!

Here are some simple ingredients to get started with:

  • Olive oil
  • Vinegar (either red wine vinegar or balsamic)
  • Lemon juice
  • Dried herbs of choice, such as oregano, parsley and basil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Garlic powder

Vegan BBQ Desserts

There are plenty of vegan ice cream options available in supermarkets these days, but if you want to be more adventurous with your barbecue desserts, why not try grilling some fruit? We think it’s underrated!

Barbecued bananas A banana needs about 15 minutes on the barbecue wrapped in foil, turned once about halfway through. Cut a slit down the middle before you cook it so you can dig the fruit from the skin to eat it. We love stuffing it with some dark chocolate too. Great with vegan ice cream!

Barbecued pineapple Slices of pineapple are great thrown straight onto the grill and need 4-5 minutes each side. You can jazz them up with a glaze of 2 tbsp of brown sugar mixed with 2 tbsp of vegan butter, plus 1 tsp of cinnamon. Yum!

For more tips and inspiration, check out our Veganuary BBQ Month campaign.

Thinking of trying vegan?

Veganuary inspires and supports people all over the world to try vegan for January and beyond. Millions of people have already taken part. Will you join them?