Vegetarians at the BBQ (Part 1)

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By Emma Snow

4.1.1

 

Nowadays, there are lots of options for vegetarians. Meatless alternatives seem to abound everywhere, from the neighborhood deli, to the sushi shop, to the hamburger joint.

The hamburger joint? Yes, you heard correctly. With the introduction of several brands of meatless “burgers,” vegetarians can brave the very den of carnivorous pleasure.

Once viewed as an eccentric oddity, vegetarians have moved from the fringes to the mainstream. But the truth is, all too often the meatless menu option isn’t vegetarian at all—it’s just a menu item, minus the meat. Unfortunately, a white hoagie bun topped with iceberg lettuce, pickles, onions, mayonnaise and mustard is about as unappealing to vegetarians as it is to their carnivore counterparts.

If friends or family members are vegans, there’s no need for angst the next time you invite them over for a barbecue. With the following tips, rest assured they’ll be licking their fingers and singing your praises as enthusiastically as your steak-loving comrades.

The first rule of thumb when barbecuing for vegetarians is that veggies are not just a sideshow anymore. Don’t doom your vegetarian guests to pick and choose among the sides to make their meals. Potato salad, relish plates and deviled eggs? Consider: You offer steak, chicken and fish to your meat-loving friends, but the vegetarian in attendance is offered only corn on the cob? Lame!

If you want to really impress your vegetarian guests, offer at least one meat-free main dish. While there are a few meat substitutions out there, I advise you to think outside the box. A quick Internet search will reveal literally hundreds of recipes for preparing veggies on the grill. A shortlist of the easiest-to-prepare (and most popular) vegetables would include potatoes, corn, tomatoes and zucchini.

If you’re willing to put in a little more effort, you can prepare a bowl of pasta to serve with the grilled veggies. Don’t blame me if your meat-loving friends fill up on this entrée and you have to make more!

Tune in tomorrow for Part 2 of this article.

Emma Snow is contributing author and publisher of http://www.bbq-shop.net/, an online resource that provides you with information and articles of interest related to barbecues.

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