Tiffin Tuesday - Vegetarian Barbecue!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Posted by jokergirl@wererabbits

It's summer!
Here, this means that whether or not the weather actually reflects it - you have to have a barbecue party on the weekends!

Which is nice, of course, if you eat meat. I don't - so I was regularly stuck with salad, bread and maybe a baked potato or grilled corn cob, if I was lucky. Until I decided to change this!

There are a lot of vegetarian variants to typical barbecue food, whether you are a vegetarian or simply want to add a bit of variation to your barbecue. My lunchbox contains some examples:

In the big box to the left, grilled couscous patties:
2dl couscous (the one I used was a bit too coarse - you should use really fine grained couscous so the patties stick together well!
150g feta, crumbled finely
Sundried tomatoes, chopped finely (amount to taste)
1/2 red onion, chopped finely
1 egg
Breadcrumbs (to improve stickiness, also creamcheese/creme fraiche might help)
Salt, pepper, herbs (I used fresh rosemary), olive oil for the grill

Cook the couscous according to the instructions. (for most that means to add boiling water/stock, salt and oil/butter and let it steam). Cool it.
Mix all the ingredients together in a big bowl. With wet hands, form patties and brush them with olive oil.
Barbecue. (They may crumble, so best use an aluminium pan if you're unsure)

To the right and on the plate in front are grilled vegetable-and-feta spits. The idea about those is to let the cheese melt into the bread, as cheese alone on the grill wouldn't work! This also works really really well with sliced mozarella (see below).
I used wholeweat toast here, but sliced baguette would be even better.

In the small compartments are frozen strawberries, a container with chives and yoghurt as dip for the patties (bottom) and tsatsiki and tomato salad (top).

Vegetables on a spit
There are a lot of vegetables that are excellent for barbecuing. For example, the spit on the right is made of champignon mushrooms, red bell peppers, asparagus, spring onions, mini corn, yellow zucchini, and baguettes with mozarella stuck between them and melted into the bread, as described above.

The heat from the barbecue grill is especially great for cooking vegetables. Try it! It brings out the taste and juiciness really well. Vegetables that profit especially are:
-mushrooms of all kinds
-bell peppers

How to prepare your spit:
Cut the veggies to chunks of similar sizes. Put on spits, making sure that the bread and mozarella are fixed closely together by some hard vegetable (zucchini or peppers work well).
Salt, add herbs and chili of choice. I use a spray bottle with scented olive oil to add a very, very thin coat of oil as well, which is much more useful than a brush.

You can also marinate your veggies first. Fresh herbs, pepper, garlic and chili is always a good idea.
For something a little more oriental, why not try a veggie yakitori spit? A sauce of peanut butter, soy, chopped onions, ginger, garlic and coriander and some hot broth makes the perfect marinade and doubles as dipsauce. Yes, marinating with peanut butter sounds odd, but I got this from a reliable source - and mushrooms smeared with it are especially great!

Burgers without Beans
I admit it - I don't like Tofu very much.
Neither (or possibly even less) do I like any vegetarian "meat" replacement product I have tasted to date - soyburgers? No, thanks. It's... okay. I can eat it. But it has no specific taste, no texture, and seriously - I don't miss meat. I don't need anything to replace it because I didn't like it that much to begin with. My diet is not incomplete if I can't have the feeling of biting into a hotdog or a steak once in a while.

So what do I fill my burgers with?

I already posted the recipe for couscous patties above - if you are not too worried about having a starchy bun, this works. If you prefer more protein, you could replace the couscous with mashed beans or chickpeas.
On the cheesy side, we have Feta and Halloumi cheese, which is a Greek cheese that won't melt on the barbecue.
But I wouldn't be happy unless I could also add my own creation to the possible filling and make entirely vegetable burger fillings!

In the picture: Glazed champignon hats on mini-baguettes with tsatsiki and cherry tomatoes.
I bought a bunch of champignons, selecting those with very large hats. Don't wash them - rub them off with a brush or a damp towel, but don't wet them! I cut each hat in half horizontally and removed the stem (it will fall out if you cut it exactly in the middle anyway.
Then I marinated all the mushroom cutlets I got by spraying them with olive oil (I love my oil spray for reducing the amount of fat I use!) and rolling them in french herbs, crushed garlic, salt and pepper. While they marinated, I heated the grill and made my tsatsiki.

There won't be a recipe for the tsatsiki. I find that instead of being adventurous, doing it the way your family has always done it is usually the right way. I do love the thick greek yoghurt you get here, though - it makes a really lovely tsatsiki!

After putting the marinated mushrooms on the grill, I let them brown a little on both sides. During that, I poured a splash of balsamico vinegar in the bowl they had marinated in and mixed it with the spices and garlic that had remained in there and some more salt. When the mushrooms were heated on both sides, I brushed them with balsamico marinade and grilled them until they were nice and glazed - it tastes delicious! Very sweet and tasty.

Since the budget variant already tasted so nice, I wonder how portobello or oyster mushrooms will taste with the same method? I shall try next time.

What are your ideas for a vegetarian barbecue? Do you have good ideas for a healthy summer party? Comment and let me know!

Are you interested in contributing to The Daily Tiffin? Drop us an email: blogmeeta@gmail.com. We look forward to hearing your ideas.

This Post was written by jokergirl from Were Rabbits.


JG, I love vegetable barbecues. WHat we are eating a lot of is grilled green asparagus. All I do in marinate them in olive oil a bit of lime juice and salt and pepper, then grill them for a few minutes. They taste brilliant. The same way you can prepare, leeks, peppers etc.

I loved the ideas with the couscous patties, I definitely will be trying those out the next time.

Meeta K. Wolff said...
June 12, 2007 at 9:00:00 PM GMT+2  

Wow! Thanks for all these brilliant ideas. I am always loking for more options for my vegetarian friends when we have a BBQ.

Helene said...
June 12, 2007 at 11:36:00 PM GMT+2  

Love the couscous patties recipe. It has never occurred to me that couscous can be used as a main ing rather than a bed over which I normally serve the entree.

Suganya said...
June 13, 2007 at 12:48:00 AM GMT+2  

Those sound really yummy, although I am a meat eater I maybe trying the mushroom burger and the couscous pattie recipes. Thanks!!!

Pat said...
June 13, 2007 at 7:27:00 AM GMT+2  

Couscous patties look awesome. Love grilled veggies and all the wonderful ideas depicted by you. Nice presentation as wel.

Seema Bhat said...
June 13, 2007 at 4:06:00 PM GMT+2  

For more great grilled vegetables, check out The Vegetarian Grill by Andrea Chesman--an amazing cookbook! Grilling really brings out the flavors of all your veggies.

Anonymous said...
June 13, 2007 at 10:40:00 PM GMT+2  

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