The iconic backyard barbecue has long been the domain of the meat lover, but the rise of vegetarianism and plant-based eating has seen veggies become the stars of the show.

In fact, one of the biggest food trends in recent years has been flexitarianism—eating predominantly, but not strictly, vegetarian. One online survey suggests that 11 percent of American adults under 50 are strictly or mostly vegan or vegetarian.

The key to a good barbecue is finding the balance between protein, plenty of veggies, and substantial grain and carbohydrate dishes, with extra flavor from herbs, spices, pickles, sauces, and condiments. Here are our top tips for hosting a very veggie barbecue:

get sizzling

Some veggies lend themselves particularly well to the grill. Corn on the cob, large mushrooms, onion slices, and strips of zucchini and bell pepper are great options. Step up the creativity by threading shish-kebab skewers with smaller pieces of the same veggies along with cherry tomatoes and cubes of feta cheese and firm tofu.

Why not try some more adventurous veggies such as eggplant slices or halved bok choy?

super sides

While salads are a must, a barbecue isn’t complete without some substantial sides, and, happily, some of the tastiest ones are vegetarian and pair perfectly with any grilled veggies—this is where you can get your grains and legumes in too.

Why not try a zesty coleslaw, Moroccan chickpea salad, or creamy potato salad?

go for meat alternatives

If you don’t want to make your own meat alternatives, don’t stress. There are plenty of ready-made, meat-free alternatives stocking supermarket shelves.

Why not try vegetarian burger patties, sausages, fillets, and various other meat alternatives available at your local supermarket?

involve your guests

The best part of entertaining is time spent with family and friends, so get them involved. Plan dishes that guests can make their own way so that they can cater to their own needs.

Why not try veggie skewers or Mexican burgers?

more than veggies

Fruit on the barbecue may seem strange, but the char-grilling process brings out delicious caramelization, taking your dessert to the next level.

Why not try grilled fruit kebabs or cinnamon-­sprinkled pineapple rings?

Article courtesy of Sanitarium Health & Wellbeing. Visit sanitarium.com.au and subscribe to Wholicious Living for more great health and nutrition info each month.

Health Matters

by Sanitarium Health & Wellbeing
  
From the July 2019 Signs