When Vegetables and Barbecues Unite

BBQ lovers and vegetarians seldom see eye-to-eye. The accepted stereotype of the beer-drinking, meat-loving, barbecue hogging finds little space for salad munching vegetarians. And yet, it doesn’t have to be that way. If you are a BBQ lover and haven’t tried barbecued vegetables, you are missing out on something spectacular. And my vegetarian friends, without adding a bit of BBQ magic to your palate, you too are short-changing yourself.

Good things happen when two worlds collide.

Grilling vegetables does something special to them. It brings out the flavors, adds a touch of savoriness so that they just pop in your mouth. And meat by itself can get pretty dull after a point of time. A few grilled zucchinis, onions, pineapples and broccoli can go a long way to add some variety to your diet. And let’s never forget the nutrition benefits of grilled veggies either.

If you are on a diet, BBQ vegetables are the perfect indulgence. To be perfectly honest, eating raw vegetables for lunch can get pretty dull after a month or two. Popping them on the grill elevates their taste and adds a touch of drama and satiety – exactly what you need to stick to the diet.

Going Beyond Grilled Vegetables

Why limit yourself to grilled zucchinis alone? Vegetables are very versatile. Given the right preparation, you can make a meal to that’ll get even hardcore meat eaters salivating.

Enter the Kabobs

On a recent trip to India, I was surprised to find so many barbecued vegetarian offerings on sale almost everywhere I went. India is largely a vegetarian country, so the chefs here have adapted the barbecue to include vegetarian fare.

And boy, have they done a remarkable job!

Cubes of cottage cheese marinated in curd and a spice mix, then popped into a ‘tandoor’ (an Indian clay oven, similar to a barbecue), heavily spiced rolls of tofu, pounded peas and soybean mixtures, skewered mushrooms, onions and green peppers – it’s a heady delight. I was a little skeptical if the barbecue oven could really be used to churn out delectable vegetarian fare, but after my India trip, I’m a firm believer.

Try your hand at some Indian style vegetarian kabobs. Google should be your starting point. Trust me, once you try them out, you’ll never see vegetables the same way again.

Beyond Kabobs

One of my favorite barbecued vegetables is the humble potato. Baked potatoes topped with cream and cheese, or chilly, or even some salsa and chopped onions makes for a wonderful treat.

Corn on the cob is another vegetarian staple in our house. Pop it on the BBQ, glaze on some butter, and you’re guaranteed a treat the whole family can love.

Portobello mushroom burgers, sweet potatoes drizzled with olive oil, peach, pear, and pineapples with a coating of lemon and honey – all these simple vegetables and fruits taste magical after spending a few minutes on the grill.

The next weekend (or whenever spring breaks), promise yourself to stay away from ribs and steak and give BBQ vegetables a try instead. You won’t be disappointed.

By Laura