What do vegans eat at BBQs? is a question we get asked a lot, as we raise an eyebrow.
Um….a lot, we reply.
We can definitely understand though how people might be confused at what business vegans have at an oft meat-heavy affair, but theres plenty for people who dont eat animal products to chow down on.
And its not all limp lettuce and grilled vegetables, let us assure you.
Now, if youre a vegan who loves mock meat, or youre catering for one who does, then your first port of call should absolutely be Icelands No Bull burger.
Its like the real deal but without the gross meat smell – and was the UKs first bleeding vegan burger available to buy in supermarkets.
The patty has that pink meat middle thats surprisingly realistic.
Linda McCartney quarter pounder burgers are also an excellent go-to.
We had our burgers in white seeded buns with mixed salad, fried onions, gherkins, ketchup and Sainsburys Deliciously Free From cheddar-style slices.
Violife original flavour slices are also really great.
Most burger buns will be vegan, but double check the packet – we used Icelands white burger buns.
We heated up some Sainsburys sweet and smoky BBQ pulled jackfruit on the barbecue (see top image) and served it in a white seeded bun with rocket, pickled red cabbage and Rubies in the Rubble chipotle vegan mayo, kinda like a vegan twist on a sloppy Joe.
It was delicious.
Rosie Chik – founder of street food stand Smokin Lotus – recommends marinating and grilling tofu for a vegan twist on a burger, popping the tofu in a soft bun with salad leaves.
If youre pushed for time you can get some really tasty vegan friendly sauces for a quick-fix marinade, Rosie tells us.
My preferred choice is Lee Kum Kees Chilli Garlic Sauce, it has a real depth of flavour with a gentle kick of spice.
For a better, more meaty texture I press my tofu – cut it into 1cm slices, lay a clean tea towel on a board, place the tofu on top then cover with another clean tea towel.
Place a second board on top with a weight eg cans, and leave for 1 hour.
If youre after a more bouji burger, Iceland gave us a recipe for a blueberry salsa, which would work on top of mock meat patties, or indeed the above tofu idea, if you chose a more smoky marinade.
Iceland's blueberry salsa recipe
200g frozen blueberries
1 punnet cherry tomatoes chopped into halves
1 finely chopped red onion
Juice of 2 limes
1 tablespoon chopped chillies
2 tablespoons of olive oil
Good pinch of salt
Mix all together and leave for 20 mins before serving, allowing the blueberries to soften.
Another vegan staple is, of course, Linda McCartney meat-free sausages – delicious barbecued and whacked in a hot dog bun with ketchup, American mustard and onions.
If youve got vegans coming who arent into eating imitation meat, have no fear – Asda have got your back.
Theyve got a new range of vegan delights out, and while theyre burger and sausage shaped, theyre made from veggies, rice, seeds and grains.
By way of condiments, ketchup is generally vegan, but obviously double check each brand.
American mustard is usually vegan too.
Most barbecue sauce will be vegan but we used Bulls Eye New York steakhouse BBQ sauce and Bulls Eye smokey chipotle hot sauce – purely because they got sent in free to the office, but they turned out to be hella good.
Were also big fans of cheap, own-brand barbecue sauce though. Childhood. Memories.
For sides, vegans can obviously eat regular salad, and you can even make a vegan potato salad, either using vegan mayo or replacing mayo with avocado, like in this Detoxinista cream potato salad recipe.
We made the Detoxinista potato salad but did it the night before, and despite adding loads of lemon juice, it went brown. So sadly, there are no pics for you.
Take our word that it tasted good though. Despite the grim colour.
If you dont have time to make your own salads, you can also grab salad pots like Iceland beetroot salad.
Obviously, vegans can also eat grilled vegetables and corn, so long as theyre cooked with oil or vegan spread, and not butter.
There are lots of vegan spreads on the market – we used Vitalite dairy-free spread.
For salad dressings, obviously its super easy to make your own with olive oil, lemon/lime juice and salt, but we also welcomed two delish Sainsburys ones to the table – Taste the Difference raspberry vinaigrette and Taste the Difference pomegranate and ras el hanout dressing.
This is also quite possibly the most delicious vegan dressing you will ever put in your mouth – this Oh She Glows green goddess dressing recipe is magnificent, with avocado, olive oil, garlic lemon and herbs.
(Heads up, that green goddess dressing also tastes real good if you make it fairly thick and drizzle over a brunch stack of hash browns, sliced avocado, scrambled tofu, garlic mushrooms, tomato and wilted spinach. Oh my days.)
Drinks-wise, why not mix up a sangria made from vegan red wine, orange juice and Iceland sangria fruit mix?
If youre confused about what makes a wine vegan, check out this handy guide.
Because its summer, it would be illegal to not have an Aperol spritz – and thank the baby jeebers that Aperol is vegan.
Mix it with a vegan Prosecco, like Sainsburys So Organic extra dry Prosecco, which is guaranteed organic and vegan.
So you see, its really easy to be a vegan or cater for vegans at a BBQ – whether youve got time to make your own dishes, or simply want to grab stuff from the supermarket.
Get those (separate) tongs, pals.