Feasting Without Meat-in: How To Have A Meat-Less BBQ

The BBQ is certainly not allergic to vegetables. Chicken, beef, ribs, pork, and all the fleshy bits in-between may dominate the barbeque menu traditionally, but even my carnivore father has preyed upon meat free options every now and then, so read on to learn about some of my favourite veggie alternatives that you may not have considered. And who knows, next time you have a BBQ you may try something new if the rain holds off long enough to cook!

Veggie Burgers

Probably the least disruptive way to be a non-meat eater at a barbeque is to just throw a vegetarian burger onto the grill. Most of the big supermarket chains have some kind of bean/vegetable/meat-substitute burgers in their frozen sections. These are easily defrosted, cooked in the oven/grill, and sandwiched into the classic bun/lettuce/cheese/ketchup scenario.

Alternatively, if you want to put your A in GCSE Food Tech to good practice, you could always make your own. Recipes such as ‘The Best Veggie Burger (Better than Store-Bought)’  ( make bold claims, but (with their sixteen-part ingredients list) they are certainly a great way to impress your barbequing friends.

“Cauldron’s falafel balls (not sponsored) are a another great, student-friendly, BBQ cheat.”

Cauldron’s falafel balls (not sponsored) are a another great, student-friendly, BBQ cheat. Once microwaved for two minutes, simply half and place inside your burger bun. Serve with a dollop of hummus to fulfil the falafel’s destiny. Add other trimmings (e.g. spinach, tomato, onions, lettuce, etc.) if you want to achieve the optimal veggie burger.

Veggie Skewers

Cut your favourite vegetables into skewerable sized chunks. Think through the rainbow; tomatoes, bell peppers, courgettes, onions, mushrooms, and so on. Stab them onto long cocktail sticks. At this point, exercise some free choice and decide between theses three options:

1) Throw these beauties straight into the flames. Grill them for a few minutes on both sides until they just begin to char.

2) Marinade. Slather your vegetables in your sauce of choice. Nando’s Mango and Lime is my favourite (I’m mild from my toes to my taste buds). Let them brew for as long as you can be bothered, then barbeque.

Or, 3) Abstain. Top tip: cut those vegetables fat! If you don’t want to end up eating raw onions, you can sit your skewers in the oven on a medium heat for about ten minutes prior to barbequing to soften the veggies up. If you do this, tippy top tip: dampen the ends of the skewers with some water to stop them burning (only do this if they’re wooden though, otherwise you’ll look a fool).

Side note: apparently, these are also called kebabs. I don’t know of the technical difference, but I think skewers, although less easy to spell, is more fun to say.


This well-loved ingredient completes the vegetarian’s holy trinity: falafel, hummus and halloumi. To BBQ your halloumi slices to perfection, marinade it to add flavour and then cast them into the fire (you may lose some halloumi to the flames; we mourn its loss).

“This well-loved ingredient completes the vegetarian’s holy trinity: falafel, hummus and halloumi.”

You can munch on this squeaky crowd-pleaser alongside veggie skewers, or you could pair it with a grilled portobello mushroom and some pesto (two more fab burger fillers). Alternatively, you can just eat by its lonesome. You do you.


Most side dishes are already meat-free! Potato salad, hardboiled egg, pasta salads, garlic bread, crisps, and so on; these are all gloriously veggie, naturally.

It’s not a Reading family barbeque without a bowl of Kettle crisps to eat while we’re grilling the garlic bread to ash. My sister and I even roasted some herby potatoes in the oven for our last barbeque! After all, what are barbeques if not whatever you’d normally eat, but burnt and eaten outside?


Alice Reading

Featured image courtesy of ‘Mauth Studios’ via Flickr.

Image usage license here

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