Sunday, 30 June 2013

Vegetarian vs. BBQ: 5 Steps to Winning at the Next BBQ

Photo by woodleywonderworks

People of Vegetaria, summer is here and unless you're a hermit you're going to be invited to bbqs. With meat. Yes, I know. If this is your first bbq season as a vegan or vegetarian, fear not, for I am happy to share my survival tips on how to win at the next summer bbq.

Step 1. Rep ya ends

Stand proud and be prepared for that wind up merchant friend of your friend who sometimes shows up at these things, even though you don't know why, to start in with 'but what do you eat?' and 'carrots have feelings too' and 'if we're not supposed to eat animals, then why do they taste so good?'. With the meats sweats, he might wear himself out, but if not make sure you have something to say for your fine veggie self. Mention some things you love about being veggie, read a book for some vital stats or drop some names for cool points. Say something like 'Yeah, I lost 10 lbs almost immediately after I became vegetarian'. Or 'But pork says in you system for almost a month after you eat it'. Or 'Russel Simmons is vegetarian, so are Prince, Venus Williams, Bill Clinton and Erykah Badu.'

Step 2. Let them know you're coming

This might sound obvious, but if you're partner made the arrangements they might have forgotten to mention it. Call, text, tweet, FB message  or send a a raven to say something like 'I'm a lactose intolerant vegetarian, should I bring a dish?' This will save the host feeling inadequate and might mean they save some space on the grill.

Step 3. Go hard or stay home

Seriously though. I'm cool with veggie sausages and veggie burgers and everything, but they just look sad on a grill. They don't have the same amount of fat or moisture as their flesh filled counterparts and so most of the time they just burn or go really hard. So BRING YOUR A GAME. Whip up your best guacamole, your super 'slaw, or banging beetroot hummus and show how you really get down. Plus, grilled vegetables are amazing and delicious. If you don't have time to cook something, grab some asparagus, bell peppers, portabello mushrooms, or corn on the cob, slather it in olive oil stick it on the grill. They will look beautiful and taste fantastic and suddenly everyone will be wishin' they're in on what you're dishin'. Which brings me swiftly to Step 4...

Step 4. Ain't nobody fresher than your clique

Bring enough to share. Not enough to feed the whole party, I mean it is someone else's bbq, but bring enough that other people can have a little taste. Keep an ear out for other vegetarians/vegans and let them know that you've got some luscious grilled artichokes on the go or that you've just put your 5 star potato salad on the table. In no time flat, you'll be swapping recipes, comparing notes on one guy at the farmers market and even the omni will be asking you the secret ingredient in your vegan olive tapenade.

Step 5. Have a good time

I mean this genuinely. Look good. Laugh loud. And do your best electric slide. You're amongst friends so don't sit around looking sorry for yourself or scowling at the spare ribs. I'm not saying you should sit right next to the burger pile, but if you really want to do something for the veggie cause, then having a proper good time with some really tasty food on a sunny afternoon will speak volumes. 

Grab your greens and get out there.


  1. Well spoken :) I never thought of BBQ as something to win or lose, but it's true that in my experience nothing is more convincing to omnivores than to taste really good veggie food.

    1. At my family barbecues, there is always a little bit of friendly competition over who's brought the best coleslaw, collard greens, or potato salad ;) It's something to be proud of, something to share and something to talk about. Veggie grub is gorgeous and we definitely have a lot to offer on this front!

  2. This is my first summer as a Vegetarian and I totally appreciate your tips. I'm like you ... I like, but don't necessarily love, veggie burgers/links etc. Now, if I could only conquer grilled fruit! I hear peaches work really well on the barbie.

  3. Hey Ms P! Thanks for stopping by! I went to a few BBQs before I perfected my technique, now it's a breeze! Yes peaches grill up really nicely and bananas are nice too if you wrap them in foil. Also check out Cooking Stoned's Grilled Mango and Grilled Fig

  4. This was really helpful! I'm not a vegetarian (yet) but I'm slowly easing myself into that lifestyle. It's really hard to reprogram how I think of food, a 20 + year mindset, but I'm willing to take small steps to better, healthier living.


    Chymere Anais

    1. Thanks for stopping by. I've been vegetarian for 2 years now, after 27 years of eating the S.A.D., and sometimes it can be difficult but if it's something that you really want to do then the people you care about will get behind you on it....and you shouldn't really worry about other folks :) I'm not vegan but I have a very low dairy diet because I'm lactose intolerant, so sometimes I have goats cheese, and being vegetarian's been great for my health. I keep finding all sorts of new fruit and veg to try and learning new recipes and meeting new people. It's kind of awesome.