It’s summer! That means it is backyard BBQ time vegan style! So fire up the grill and sizzle your pineapple and peppers to fiery perfection!
Finally, the season of BBQ’s and outdoor activities have arrived! Most of the time burgers and hot dogs are on the grill; people are bringing sides like potato and pasta salad that are filled with cheese and mayo, and any veggie that you can find is probably just the lettuce and tomatoes that are supposed to be for the hamburgers. However, the alternative is that you can throw an awesome BBQ at home and make it totally vegan! Here are some tips to make it happen.
Think outside the box, but not too outside the box. Instead of grilled burgers, try grilled veggie kabobs, whole Portobello mushrooms, and even corn! Keep the grill as veggie friendly as possible. You can, of course, also go a more traditional route and get the mock meats such as a variety of veggie burgers or veggie dogs if people would be interested in trying them! It might be a good idea to designate a grill master who will be able to execute the menu during the party. However, don’t leave them there for too long; the flames get hot, and they want to socialize, too!
As for the side dishes, you can totally stick to classics like pasta salad and potato salad since vegan mayo tastes just like the real thing. You can also make a tomato basil pasta salad or a Russian potato salad with vinegar as the base. Think fresh, think color, and think flavor! Use fresh herbs and citrus such as lime and lemon to bring out the summery vibe of your party.
You can never go wrong with snack items like chips and cut up fruit so definitely have those on hand! As far as little appetizers go, you could try something unique like an olive bar, or a make your own bruschetta station! The ideas are endless, just make sure there’s variety, so people will want to try everything.
I’ve always liked the idea of a signature cocktail at a wedding, so why not make a signature drink for your BBQ! While you can always buy booze, guests might be more refreshed to have a fresh watermelon spritzer with lime and sparkling water, or you could have a fruit infused water to keep people hydrated in the heat. Make sure that whatever you serve, it’s served cold or that you have a lot of ice on hand! Having drinks in different areas also makes it easily accessible for people to grab what they need without crowding one area. Think coolers packed with a variety of non-boozing things, a water cooler, and a boozer cooler (if you’re offering that).
Color, color, color!! Make the space feel inviting – this isn’t any old BBQ, this is a plant based celebration! Think of napkins, plates, and cutlery as chances to brighten the space and make people want to eat! If you’re having people sit, create designated sitting areas that are inviting (near drinks or food or outside). Make little signs for the food that tell people what everything is, so they aren’t constantly asking, but also be available to answer questions (enthusiastically) about the awesome food!
Want to have a theme party? Even better! Give everyone leis or sunglasses when they come in. Want them to play games? Have corn hole outside and maybe a deck of cards inside! The more there is to do, the longer people will stay!
Of course, your first inclination might be to invite everyone! Of course, it’s going to be awesome so why not spread the love right? Maybe not…. Choose people that you know are going to be supportive of the available vegan options. The last thing you need is a Debbie Downer who runs to McDonald’s to grab a burger (or 10) to bring back to your meat-free shindig. Set a timeline and warn people that there will be no (real) meat. That way they don’t assume it’s an all-day thing and are free to stop in for a quick bite and leave if they are craving more meat options. Just remember to keep it positive! It’s a chance to gather with friends and celebrate summer!