No meat, no problem. Say hello to the plant-based BBQ. Barbecues have always been difficult for those who adopt on plant-based diets – until now. With the prevalence of more plant-based options in grocery stores, it’s easier than ever to make quick, simple swaps for the vegetarian and vegan food you prefer. Gone are the days of cardboard-like alternatives. This is real, good-tasting, plant-based swaps that will make your grilling holidays much, much easier. That’s why we’re sharing our favorite vegan and vegetarian swaps that are sure to help you achieve your grilling goals. The best part is that we’re not going to tell you to just grill more vegetables.
Enjoy these tasty plant-based BBQ swaps!
Our Favorite Plant-Based BBQ Swaps:
Unlike tofu, tempeh has more substance and is more grillable. It’s also the perfect swap for meat, as it’s rich in protein, fiber, and prebiotics. The structure and texture of it will leave you wondering why you ever liked meat in the first place. Tempeh can also be marinated and cut into different forms to best suit what you’re grilling: a burger, kebab, panini, or whatever you like. However, those with a soy allergy should avoid tempeh just as they avoid tofu. (If you do have a soy allergy, skip down below for the jackfruit swap!)
Nut or Tofu-based Cheese
Satisfy your cheeseburger cravings with a plant-based BBQ alternative. Swap dairy cheese for a nut-based alternative. If you’ve ever had dairy cheese, you likely won’t even notice the difference with the substitute. You could probably make your own, but there are so many brands and options available now at your local grocery store. Imagine having tofu cheddar, cashew mozzarella, or almond brie make an appearance at your next BBQ.
DIY BBQ Sauce
Many store-bought BBQ sauces come with minor ingredients that are definitely not vegan, like honey, milk products, or even anchovies. Plus, making your own sauce can be easy and rewarding. It may take a few tries to come up with the perfect flavor for your tastes, but that’s where the fun is. Combine the essential ingredients (about a cup of ketchup; 2-3 tbsps of apple cider vinegar; 1 tbsp of vegan worcestershire sauce; 2 tbsps of brown sugar; ¼ cup of water; ½ tsp of pepper, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, and chili powder) into a saucepan and simply let it cook until it reduces into a sauce. That’s it!
Jackfruit is an odd fruit that is still relatively unknown in many parts of the world, and it’s just now getting attention for the possibilities it brings to plant-based diets. The jackfruit has earned the nickname “vegetarian meat” because of its texture, which is remarkably similar to the texture of chicken or pork. Grilling this fruit is just as easy, making it a great substitute. Jackfruit can also make a great crab substitute for grilled crabcakes, too!
No one can really deny that hot dogs are one of America’s most popular BBQ stars, but when many people adopt a plant-based diet, they tend to focus more on burgers when they try to find meat substitutes. Instead, try replacing the hometown hotdog with a cooked carrot. Yes, a carrot. Carrots of the right size and shape can be grilled to a softer density that comes very close to the nostalgia-inducing hotdog. Place it in a bun with your favorite condiments and enjoy.
Mushroom Cap Sliders
This is a veggie swap that isn’t just about grilling more veggies. Mushrooms have just the right thickness to stand up to the high heat of the grill, and the right kind of taste and texture. The portobello mushroom is a popular and common option for burgers, but we particularly love turning smaller mushrooms into sliders that can be customized with different toppings and condiments. With sliders, everyone gets exactly what they want.
Plant-Based Burger Options
Veggie burgers have come a long way since their conception. Brands like Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods have created plant-based burger patties that actually taste pretty meaty. If you’re craving a juicy burger, these options (with all the fixings of course!) can satisfy so good.
Those are the most popular swaps that we personally love, but there are many more if they don’t suit your taste buds. This really is the golden age for plant-based diets.