Vegan barbeque

How to barbeque plant-based style

Last year my bank sent a postcard announcing “Member Appreciation” day and invited me—and all of their customers—to a BBQ. I went, but was disappointed. There were no plant-based foods at the event. Not even fruit.

When I said, tongue-in-cheek, that maybe they didn’t appreciate their vegan customers, I was told, "It IS a barbeque."

We do often equate barbecues with meat, but meat doesn’t have to be the focus of a good cookout. I generally equate cookouts with picnics, and while the grill is important, side dishes can be equally important. I was raised on cookouts that also included fruit like watermelon or grapes or berries or fruit salad, and homemade baked beans and coleslaw that didn’t include dairy.

Today my husband and I eat all of that and more. We grill vegetables and Portabello mushrooms and corn. We include potato salad that isn’t made with dairy—or grill potatoes, and we don’t limit ourselves to white potatoes. We make salads with green beans or marinated vegetables or even pasta salads. We make a variety of bean dips.

When we’re invited to people’s homes, we bring some of these options with us (and some to share), so we never go hungry.

But if for you a barbeque means barbeque sauce and grilled meat, you can always slather some barbeque sauce on some tempeh (or that Portabello mushroom) and grill it. By the time it's fully charred, you won't even miss the meat.