How to Host the Perfect Vegetarian BBQ

Lauren Caris Short

By Lauren Caris Short


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If you think the idea of a vegetarian BBQ is crazy, think again. It’s perfectly possible to have a great grill party that everyone will enjoy. Summer is the time to throw on your sunglasses, gather some friends and enjoy the whole experience of cooking and eating outside.

So how do you get that same summer barbecue vibe without any meat products?

In this post, I’m going to show you my top tips for hosting a great vegetarian BBQ, from the kind of grill I recommend, to a few great recipes everyone will love! If you love barbecue tips, pin the image below so you can come back to this post any time!

Use coals

There’s a whole host of great barbecue options out there, but in my opinion, coals are the best. Yes, they involve more cleanup than a gas barbecue, but nothing compares to that true, chargrilled flavour. Once you’ve got the hang of lighting coals, you’ll never do a barbecue another way again. Trust me, our first couple of attempts were laughable, but now we’ve got the knack, it’s a breeze!

Here’s a great tutorial on lighting a coal barbecue that will last as long as you need it to!

Embrace the meat substitute options

While I don’t recommend relying on these heavily on a day to day basis, there are some absolutely amazing options out there that are perfect for a vegetarian barbecue. You can get everything from sausages, to burgers, barbecue coated fillets and much more. You name it and it’s probably out there! Have a go at putting together your favorite grill platter and don’t forget the barbecue sauce!

Get some drinks

As well as soft drinks, everyone likes to have a beer at a barbecue, right? While alcohol can be a difficult area to find vegan options, there are actually plenty around.

Most beers are vegan, and are made using barley malt, water, hops and yeast. However, some breweries may use animal products in the filtering process.

Wine is more tricky, because it’s very common for animal products to be used in the filtering process. The most common ones are blood and bone marrow, casein (milk protein), chitin (fiber from crustacean shells), egg albumen (derived from egg whites), fish oil, gelatin (protein from boiling animal parts), and isinglass (gelatin from fish bladder membranes). However, there are many vegan wine options available using non animal derived filtering agents. has a database of thousands of vegan beer, wine and spirit options, so you should be able to find something that is available in your area. They also have a handy search function where you can type in a brand and it will tell you if it’s vegan or not.

A vegan barbecue would not be complete without some side dishes. Here are some of my favourites that I’ve shared countless times with friends this summer!

Quinoa Salad

My top tips for hosting the perfect vegan barbecue. Click through to get my best tips as well as 4 recipes for a great vegan barbecue this summer!

This quinoa salad is great, it’s really got a bit of everything. The sweetness from the kidney beans stands out against the other flavours, and the addition of quinoa gives the salad a really nice bulk.

Get the Recipe Here

Potato Salad

My favourite way to make a quick potato salad is so simple, and ready in around 20 minutes. It’s hardly even a recipe really, but it’s a great side dish. Here’s how it’s made:

Cut some new potatoes in half, and leave the skin on. Boil them until they are soft, normally around 15 minutes. Drain and set aside.

In a small saucepan heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil with 1 minced garlic clove, for 3-4 minutes until the garlic begins to cook. Add the potatoes to the pan and toss so they are all coated.

Add 2 tablespoons of freshly chopped parsley to the pan and stir again to coat all the potatoes.

Corn on the cob

One of the key things to know when cooking a corn on the cob, is how to get that perfectly juicy, sweet texture, and the charred smokey grill flavour simultaneously. Personally I find cooking the corn on the grill from start to finish causes the kernels to dry out, leaving you with the smokey flavour but no juiciness, and that’s just no good.

So, my perfect solution is to steam (not boil) the corn for 10 minutes, then give it a light brush with some olive oil and grill it on the barbecue for 5-10 minutes. That way you get the best of both worlds and the most delicious corn!

Vegetable kebabs

This is a great way to use up tons of veggies you have lying around, and make the perfect compliment to any barbecue. Just grab some kebab sticks, chop your veg into large chunks and load them up.

My favourite vegetables for kebabs are bell peppers, tomatoes, zucchini, eggplant, mushrooms and onions (red or white). You could even add some chunks of tofu inbetween the vegetables as well.

Drizzle the kebabs with a little olive oil, and season with salt, pepper and some smoked paprika before cooking. Cook for 10 minutes, turning frequently until the vegetables are completely cooked and a little charred.

Chargrilled cauliflower salad with lentils

This cauliflower salad is perfect for a vegan barbecue, as you can prepare most of the salad in advance, and then chargrill the cauliflower at the last minute so it has a nice warm, smokey flavour. It will add some nice contrast to the whole salad to have a warm element.

My top tips for hosting the perfect vegan barbecue. Click through to get my best tips as well as 4 recipes for a great vegan barbecue this summer!

Get the Recipe Here

So there you have my top tips and favorite side dishes for a great vegetarian BBQ. Do you have any more tips or dishes? Let me know in the comments below!

Images by Lauren Caris Short.

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