Put Down the Burgers! A Meat Free Twist on the After Work Barbeque.

We’ve been barbequing since the first rays of spring sun hit Notts’ streets this year. No joke. I remember back in March dragging one of my best lamps outside because we had misjudged how long the days were and were barbequing in the dark. 

Ask me a year ago what I thought barbequing was all about and I’d say my dad stood at the huge built in barbeque at my parent’s house surrounded by piles of cobs and enough burgers to feed an army. It’d be an all day prep affair and not worth the effort unless most of the extended family and half the neighbours were in attendance.

But this year barbequing’s turned into something completely different -a  quick after-work dinner that can be eaten as it’s ready and finished and packed away by 7pm. I love it because it means that I can do the gardening while my boyfriend cooks us something amazing and we still get to chat about our day and enjoy the sun! I think I need to point out here that my boyfriend’s a chef so I’m not being unfair with the cooking duties, I’m just genuinely not very good at it and he is.

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Now when I say barbeque, what we actually use is a Kadai Firebowl. It came with two different height stands so that you can use it as a heater in the colder summer evenings as well as a barbeque. My boyfriend also made a cool table top for ours so it functions as a nice outdoor table when not being used. I bought it in the middle of winter when they were on sale but I didn’t save loads so don’t miss out this summer if you’re thinking about getting one. I’ve seen them in Brookfield’s Garden Centre and The Worm That Turned on Derby Road.

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One of my favourite things about this dinner, however, isn’t the burgers or the hot dogs but all the veg that seems to taste three millions times better for being cooked on a barbeque! Seriously, I didn’t even like asparagus in December, now I’d swap it for a burger any day.

If like me you can’t see past the kebabs and Dairylea slices when it comes to alfresco summer dining here’s some meat free alternatives to mix up your barbeque repertoire, trust me you’re going to love them …

Add a drizzle of cold pressed British rape seed oil to all veg to stop it sticking and help with cooking.

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Asparagus 

Put them straight onto the grill and cook them from raw. Season them and finish with a bit of lemon juice. Keep an eye on them, you want to keep a bit of bite so don’t over cook.

Sweet potatoes 

Leave them whole and wrap them in foil (cut them in half if you’re in a rush), season them and chuck them in the coals before you put the grill on. Take them out when you’ve cooked everything else. Even if you burn them they’re going to taste good, especially with a bit of soured cream!

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New potatoes

Slice them thin, season them, add a bit of butter and wrap them in foil. If you’ve got herbs in the garden add a bit of rosemary and thyme for extra flavouring. Chuck them in the coals while you get your other bits ready but take them out and move to the grill once you start grilling.

Padron peppers

Put these on skewers and season with a bit of salt. Char them on the grill until done to your liking.

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Baby gem lettuce

This is super tasty, you won’t touch a salad unless it’s been grilled after this! Cut it in half, season and cook on the grill. It should just have a nice charred edge, don’t overdo it.

Corn on the cob

Ok, so there’s nothing new about putting this on the barbeque, even my dads been doing this since day dot. But to make it even tastier, chuck a pan of butter and chillies on the barbeque too and keep brushing the corn with it as it cooks. Not dead healthy I know but dead tasty!

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Halloumi

This was a new one we tried because I insisted on grabbing some at the super market. Place it on the grill until it’s golden brown (flip it and cook both sides). This is nice if you just take it off and eat as finger food while it’s still pretty warm.

And here’s my barbeque dinner …

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For Dessert

Bananas

We put these on the grill whole while we eat dinner. Cook them until the skin is totally brown then split them and serve them with ice cream. They taste super sweet and are better than a lot of desserts that are less kind on the waistline.

Plums

If bananas aren’t for you then try stewing plums in a pan on the grill instead. Cut them in half and take the stones out before your cook them. Again, tastes great with ice cream or sponge cake.

I don’t have to tell you to be careful and don’t literally chuck stuff on the barbeque, use the tongs! Happy barbequing and let me know how you get on x