It's that time of year again-the beaches, parks, and backyards are calling and it's time to answer up with some delicious BBQ treats. Unfortunately, traditional BBQs and cookouts tend not to favor vegetarians or vegans and this could lead to some hurt feelings and empty stomachs. So, here are a few foods, dishes, tips and tricks vegetarians and vegans can use to help make the BBQ season far yummier and certainly less stressful.
- Be the host! The best way to show off your vegetarian cooking skills and still hold onto tradition is host your own BBQ. Gather friends and family in your back yard or local park and fill your guests with grilled veggie burgers and barbecued vegan sausages. Put portabella mushrooms, pineapple, and squash on the grill. Make a cold pasta salad and serve up chips and dip. Your guests will be glad to try all your dishes knowing you put such hard work into it. If you can't host the event yourself....
- Be the star of someone else's show. Just because someone else is hosting the BBQ doesn't mean you aren't allowed to bring your own dishes and supplies. In fact, by bring your favorite pasta salad, fresh veggies and fruits for grilling and soy ice cream for desert you can take some of the pressure off the non-vegetarian host and get some of the guests to try foods outside their comfort zone. Traditional cookout foods like burgers, bratwursts, and hot dogs may be the main attraction for the meat-eater guests at this highly anticipated group function, but just as fun are the fresh and sizzling veggie skewers, pasta and potato salads, and fresh watermelon and pineapple.
- Don't be afraid to express your needs. Most likely the host already knows you fairly well and knows you don't eat meat, so letting them know your concerns also helps them assuage any of their hosting fears. Most people don't want to run the risk of offering up treats you can't eat, so let the event's host know what you do and do not consume and ask them what you can bring to help make things easier.
- If you truly feel like the BBQ will be a bust you have two options: don't go (you are not obligated to ignore yourself in favor of others) or eat a hearty meal (preferably with lots of protein and fiber to sustain you and keep you full) before hand and see what you can pick at. You can't have everything in life and sometimes people choose not to be accommodating or feel annoyed at the thought of you bringing your own food. You will just know better and choose to attend another event next time.