Entertaining: Vegetarian Barbecue Ingredients

barbecueThere is a vast range of ingredients suitable for a vegetarian barbecue. Most vegetables and some fruits can be barbecued, even salad leaves. Here, I have a list of commonly used vegetarian barbecue ingredients, starting from mock meats:

1. Mock Meats
• Veggie burgers and patties
• Veggie schnitzels like Quorn, Fry’s or Suzy Spoon’s
• Veggie sausages Linda McCartney’s vegetarian sausages or Sanitarium BBQ sausages. Suzie Spoon has a good range of vegan sausages, too.
• Veggie prawns, larger the better
• Mock fish like Lamyong’s Chunky Fish
• Lamyong Soy Nuggets and Mushroom Chunks on skewer
• Cowgirl Steaks
• Seitan

2. Tofu
Tofu needs to be marinated before it is barbecued as it has neutral taste and will absorb all the flavours from marinade. Firm or smoked varieties work best.

3. Tempeh
Tempeh has a nutty flavour and is quite robust on a hot barbecue. Just like tofu, tempeh also need to be marinated.

4. Cheese
When it comes to cheese, I’d say, some cheeses are more suitable for barbecue than others. Haloumi cheese for example is a type of Cypriot cheese which remains firm and takes on a marvellous flavour when barbecued. Camembert in its rind casing is also a good choice for a barbecue. Choose firmer cheeses for barbecuing and experiment with different types.

5. Vegetables
Most vegetables are suitable for grilling, even salad leaves. Here are some suggestions for vegetables that you can use:

Eggplants can be barbecued whole, cut in half or sliced. The trick here is that they shouldn’t be peeled. A good way of cooking them is to cut them in half horizontally, score the flesh in a criss-cross pattern with a sharp knife, and then brush them all over with a good quality olive oil.

I prefer to use small zucchini for the job. You could leave them whole or cut into long slices or thread chunks on to skewers. They go well with other vegetables as well as mock meats.

Capsicums of any colour barbecue more successfully than perhaps any other vegetables as barbecuing brings out their natural sweetness. They can be grilled whole, then placed in a plastic bag until cool enough to handle, and the skins peeled off and the cores and seeds removed. Alternatively, you can cut them into large pieces after they are cored, seeded. They can also be cut into chunks and threaded onto skewers with other vegetables.

Prepare in the usual way and cut them in half and brush with olive oil before barbecuing.

Whole garlic bulbs
Whole garlic bulbs can be grilled in their skins until tender, and then split open. The juicy, pungent flesh can be mashed up and spread on mock meats, bread and potatoes.

Trim the woody ends of asparagus stalks and brush with olive oil or melted butter before you place on the barbecue.

Trim the stems level with the caps and thread on to skewers, or wrap in kitchen foil with garlic-flavoured butter and herbs. Or you can simply brush some large open-cap mushrooms with plenty of melted butter and a grinding of black pepper and grill until tender. I personally like portobello mushrooms.

Corn on the cob
You can use large or baby ones. Shuck the corn, removing the outer husks and remove the silks. Barbecue for 5-10 minutes, rotating them when dark spots appear and ears cook thoroughly and evenly. Serve with butter and salt.

Red, white and brown onions are all suitable for barbecuing. They can be left whole, brushed with olive oil, sprinkled with herbs and grilled in their skins to seal in maximum flavour; or they can be peeled and cut into quarters or large chunks before barbecuing.

You can use regular, vine ripened or Roma tomatoes. Choose firm red ones and leave whole or cut in half. Barbecue until blackened. You might like to remove the skins before eating. They slip out easily anyway.

Small, slim leeks cook successfully on a barbecue. Wash them thoroughly before using to remove any dirt, and trim the ends. Brush with olive oil before cooking.

Large potatoes can be wrapped in foil and then placed directly above the hot coals or cooked in the embers of the fire. Small unpeeled new potatoes can be parboiled for 5 – 10 minutes, then drained and brushed with olive oil, and put on the hot grill.

Sweet potatoes (kumera)
Grill whole, wrapped in kitchen foil, in the ashes of the fire, or cut into chunks or slices, brush with oil or butter and barbecue until tender all the way through.

Salad leaves
Many salad leaves and greens can be seared very quickly on the barbecue. Choose strongly-flavoured greens which will not disintegrate or go limp easily and be careful with cooking times.

Small fennel bulbs, either halved or sliced thickly, taste delicious barbecued. Brush them with olive oil and turn once during cooking.

6. Fruits
Watermelon, pineapple, pears and peaches are the first ones that come to mind. The sweetness of pineapple creates a nice contrast to charred flavour.

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