Entertaining: Introduction to Vegetarian Barbecues

barbecues

Australia Day, Queens birthday, public holidays or any sunny day is a good excuse for Australians to fire up their barbecue or barbie as they call it. When you think about it, we are blessed with good weather at this part of the world so that the barbecue season can be extended for as long as we want.

Even though, barbecues are prone to be meat-centric –thanks to some abusive ads on the TV—it doesn’t have to be that way. There are so many delicious vegetarian barbecue recipes that give us vegetarians the pleasure to enjoy some alfresco meals, especially during balmy Australian summers.

It’s not that difficult to put together a vegetarian barbecue, either. With a little bit of imagination and a vast variety of vegetables, fruits, tofu, burgers, patties, veggie sausages and cheese, you can transform all of these into a mouth-watering vegetarian menu.

Most people think that vegetarian barbecues consist of just grilled mushroom kebabs. In fact, you can use almost any vegetable for barbecuing: zucchinis, cauliflower, peppers, tomatoes, garlic, mushrooms, onions, asparagus, and eggplants.

Vegetarian barbecue is also a healthy way of cooking simply because we use so little oil and our ingredients do not contain too much fat like flesh foods. On top of that, because barbecued food is cooked very quickly and is exposed to intense heat, the food quickly becomes crispy on the outside and the outer crust seals in the moisture and prevent it from drying out. This helps retain the nutrients in vegetables, especially minerals and fat-soluble vitamins which can be diminished by boiling, frying or roasting.

Good things happen in the flavour department, too! The delicate taste of eggplants and zucchini is enhanced by the slightly blackened skins when barbecued; the natural sweetness of colourful capsicum is revealed; and the robust flavours of root vegetables, onions and garlic are stronger and more pungent.

As I mentioned before, there are so many tasty and interesting vegetarian dishes that can be cooked over hot coals. But before we get there, I’d like to talk about barbecue equipment, ingredients, marinades, flavoured butters, barbecue preparation and barbecuing and cleaning tips. So, stay tuned for my next posts.

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