7 Tasty vegan barbecue food ideas

Samantha Priestley 18 July 2022

Move aside meat eaters—this is the era of the vegan barbecue! Here are the best vegan foods and recipes to stick on the grill

There’s nothing quite like firing up the barbecue on a balmy summer day and inviting all your family and friends round to your garden.

But while it might be easy to keep meat eaters happy, serving up good vegan barbecue food has always been more challenging.

Not anymore. With the popularity of a vegan diet rising, vegan food for barbecues just gets better and better. Here are the best vegan foods for your barbecue.

Vegan burger

Hands holding vegan burger stuffed with cucumber and saladGone are the days of portobello mushroom burger or nothing—you can also try chickpea, lentils, or jackfruit patties.

We’ll start with the obvious. Vegan burgers have come a long way since those awful mushed vegetable things we were once served as a “burger”.

Now vegan burgers look, and taste, like regular meat burgers if you want them to, and if that’s not your thing you can get a variety of different types of patties.

"Have fun making a bean burger, a lentil burger, jackfruit, or a mushroom burger"

You can buy really good vegan burgers from the supermarket, or you can make your own. The great thing about making your own is you get to decide what goes into it. Have fun making a bean burger, a lentil burger, jackfruit, or a mushroom burger.

Make the patty you like and serve with vegan cheese, vegan mayo and gherkins.

Tofu kebabs

Tofu skewers served with tomatoes and cucumber on barbecueTofu skewers taste delicious when served with grilled vegetables like tomatoes and cucumber

Tofu is a tricky one for many people. Even vegans struggle with its weird texture, but cover it in marinade and grill it on a barbecue and you have a completely different tofu experience.

You can add whatever you like to your tofu skewers. You can marinade it in barbecue sauce or sweet chilli, or hot and spicy. Add chunks of onion, pepper, courgette, and cherry tomatoes, and you have the perfect vegan barbecue kebabs.

You’ll be a tofu convert.

Potato salad

Vegan potato salad with mustard seeds and chives on platePotato salad is easy to make vegan by swapping in vegan mayonnaise

Yes, a potato salad is mostly vegetables and salad, but what really makes a potato salad is the mayo. You can buy vegan mayo easily at the supermarket. Just add in garlic and chives, dill, and parsley, and you have the perfect sauce for your potato salad.

You can use white potatoes or sweet potatoes if you prefer.

Pre-boil the potatoes and let them cool, then chop them up and add cucumber, celery, bell pepper, radish, tomato, red onion, and whatever other salad and vegetable you like.

Mixed together, it makes the perfect barbecue accompaniment, and even your meat eater friends won’t know the difference between this and a non-vegan potato salad.

Grilled peas in the pod

Grilled peas in pod on plateCredit: T.Tseng via Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0). Chargrilled peas in a pod are a simple to make but oh so moreish dish

Quick and easy, this vegan side dish will impress everyone at your barbecue—even the meat eaters.

Take your peas in the pod and turn them in olive oil, then simply pop them on the barbecue. Turn them until all sides are charred, and squeeze some lemon over them in a dish.

Your guests can pop the peas out of their pods and eat them like edamame beans or crunch them as they are.

Vegan hot dog

Plate of vegan hot dogs served with salad, ketchup and mustardMix up your vegan hot dog toppings with some Mexican salsa or macaroni and vegan cheese

Aside from the burger, the other food you’re guaranteed to find at any barbecue is hot dogs. You can buy vegan sausages at the supermarket and make very simple hot dogs, or you can get more creative with your dog.

"Try a Mexican dog with salsa and crushed tortilla chips, or a mac and cheese dog"

Some vegan sausages are better than others, so go for a good brand, but you can put just about anything on your hot dog.

Fried onions and mushrooms with ketchup and mustard are traditional and still keep it vegan, or try a Mexican dog with salsa and crushed tortilla chips, or a mac and cheese dog with a bit of of macaroni in vegan cheese.

Grilled vegetable platter

Grilled eggplant, tomatoes, onions and mushroomsGrilled vegetables taste great marinaded in honey, or you can simply barbecue with a drizzle of olive oil and salt

You can grill just about any vegetable on your barbecue, as long as it’s big enough to slice. Aubergine, sweet potato, bell peppers, beef tomatoes, and large courgettes—all make great veggies for barbecuing.

You can marinade them how you like, but a drizzle of olive oil and some salt and pepper is good enough to make a plate full of tasty grilled vegetables.

The colours and presentation of the fresh veg look great when served as a side on a large platter.

Barbecue ribs

Barbecued seitain strips on plate with courgette ribbons, tomatoes and crusty breadGrilled seitan strips can be used to replicate barbecue ribs if you marinade it in BBQ sauce

There are some meat dishes that are harder than others to replicate with a vegan alternative, and barbecue ribs have always been a tricky one.

Seitan makes the best meat alternative for this, but is still difficult to pull off. You can make seitan yourself, but do put aside some time for this as it isn’t easy.

"You can make seitan yourself, but do put aside some time for this as it isn’t easy"

You can also buy seitan read-made, but it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to pick it up in your local supermarket. You’ll probably have to order it from a specialist stockist.

Once you have your seitan, you simply brush all over with barbecue sauce and bake it, turn it, brush with the sauce again, and bake some more. Cooking time is about half an hour, so you can start it while the barbecue is being fired up.

Read more: Tips on how to become a vegan for a meat lover

Read more: Summer BBQs: What you need to know

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