How to host the ultimate vegetarian BBQ

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

In fact, one of the biggest food trends in recent years has been Flexitarianism—eating predominantly, but not strictly, vegetarian—with almost half a million New Zealanders stating their diets are ‘almost all’ or ‘all’ vegetarian, up 27% in recent years.

The key to a good BBQ is finding the balance between protein, plenty of veggies, and substantial grain and carbohydrate dishes. Tick all the boxes with a well-planned menu filled with extra flavour from herbs, spices, pickles, sauces and condiments. Here are our top tips to host a very veggie BBQ:

Mix & match

Just like any dinner party, make sure you provide plenty of flavours and options. Yes, it’s a BBQ, but that doesn’t mean you’re only serving grilled veggies. Consider other cold dishes that will support the grill—this is where you can get your grains and legumes in too.

Why not try: A fresh Caprese salad, borlotti bean salad, Moroccan chickpea salad, or a peanut hummus.

Involve your guests

The best part of entertaining is spending time with your family and friends, so get them involved. Plan a menu with dishes that encourage guests to make it their own way, so they can comfortably cater for their own needs.

Why not try: Veggie skewers, jackfruit tacos or plant-based burgers.

Classic swap

The best thing about a vegetarian BBQ is that you can still enjoy burgers and sausages, but just look for plant-based alternatives.

Why not try: Lentil patties, corn and coriander fritters or vegan carrot dogs?

Go for meat alternatives

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

Why not try: Some options from Vegie Delights that will satisfy any BBQ guest, from koftas to patties, sausages and fillets.

More than veggies

Throwing some fruit on the BBQ may seem foreign, but the char-grilling process brings out a delicious caramelisation that’ll take your dessert to the next level.

Why not try: Grilled fruit kebabs, cinnamon sprinkled pineapple rings or apple slices drizzled with maple syrup.