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Vegan BBQ alternatives to all the classic dishes, from mushroom scallops to seitan ribs

Give the classic staples a plant-based spin with these recipes

Olivia Petter
Friday 28 June 2019 09:12
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The sun has got its hat on, the beer gardens are bustling and the SPF-deprived faces of Britain are sporting a ketchup-coloured glow.

Summer has well and truly begun as Britain basks in a heatwave, which means we are knee-deep in BBQ season, or as vegans call it: survival of the fittest via dry lettuce leaves and stodgy burger buns.

Generally speaking, barbecuing is a meat-centric art, leaving little to be desired for the vegan, who can’t even savour the halloumi-embellished alternatives that populate vegetarian BBQs.

But in today’s society, where carnivores, vegans and flexitarians mingle as one, nobody need be excluded from one of the nation’s most established seasonal traditions just because of their diet.

From plant-based “ribs” to lobster-free “lobster” rolls, we’ve rounded up some of the best vegan-friendly alternatives to the classic barbecue staples as designed by Thea Brook, owner and executive chef of The Brook in Hackney, London. Because, vegans, you will go to the BBQ.

The new burger: Seitan ‘ribs’

(The Brook

"These fake ‘rib’ slabs are made from seitan (wheat gluten). Although I don’t recommend people eat it every day, seitan is a great treat for those who want a meat replacement every now and then. It has a good bite to it, is very versatile and can be flavoured and cooked in different ways to create a range of dishes. It looks pretty realistic too!"

Ingredients

  • • 1 cup vital wheat gluten
  • • a bottle of your favourite BBQ sauce
  • • 2 tsp. onion powder
  • • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • • 1 tsp. Chinese five spice
  • • 1 tsp mushroom ketchup (available in Sainsburys)
  • • 1 tbsp. tamari (or other soy sauce)
  • • 1 tbsp. almond butter
  • • 180ml water

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 200 degrees celsius.
  2. Place all the ingredients, except the wheat gluten and BBQ sauce, in a blender and blend until you have one consistency.
  3. In a bowl mix the liquid in to the wheat gluten, ensuring it’s completely mixed in and even throughout.
  4. Place the mixture on a board and press down to flatten it until you have a long rectangle shape that’s roughly 10cm x 25cm.
  5. Transfer the flat slab to an oiled baking tray and use a knife to mark out 12 ribs, roughly 1.5cm wide, along the slab. You want to make an indent that will help them pull apart once they’re cooked but don’t go too far through.
  6. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes.
  7. Remove from the oven and coat one side of the ribs in a generous layer of BBQ sauce and place sauce down on the BBQ for a few minutes.
  8. While it’s cooking coat the other side with BBQ sauce and then flip over for a few minutes. You’re looking for the BBQ sauce to bubble and blacken slightly on the BBQ. Beware, it doesn’t take long on each side!
  9. Remove from the BBQ, brush with more BBQ sauce and serve as a slab to be pulled apart and shared.

The chicken/fish alternative: Mushroom ‘scallops’ with garlic and lemon

“I love this dish – it’s so effective yet extremely simple to make."

“It’s always a crowd pleaser and if you don’t tell them it’s not really scallops they often can’t tell! I recommend marinating them overnight if you can, although they’re still great if they’ve had at least two hours.”

Ingredients

  • • 4 king oyster (or chicken leg) mushrooms
  • • 1 lemon
  • • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • • 1 tsp. powdered nori
  • • ½ cup tamari (or other soy sauce)
  • • 1 cup water

Method

  1. The stem of the mushroom will form the ‘scallops’. Cut off the top of the mushroom and then cut the stem in to 3-4 round slices, each 2-2.5cm wide.
  2.  In a sealable container, mix together the tamari and water, along with the zest of half the lemon, the garlic and nori.
  3. Add the ‘scallops’ to the mix, seal the container and shake it gently to ensure the ‘scallops’ get fully coated. Set this aside in the fridge to marinade and soften the texture of the mushroom stems for at least 2 hours, ideally overnight if you can.
  4. When you’re ready to grill, simple place the ‘scallops’ on the BBQ for 2-3 minutes each side, remove and serve with a squeeze of lemon over the top.

The side dish: BBQ corn with cajun spice and green sauce

(Getty Images

“This tart green sauce is perfect for lazy BBQ days. It adds a punch of flavour to any dish, but I particularly love it on Cajun-grilled corn as the fresh mint and vinegar pair perfectly with the sweetness of the corn kernels.”

Ingredients

For the Corn:

  • • 4 ears of corn (husk removed)
  • • 2 tsp Cajun spice
  • • olive oil

For the Green Sauce:

  • • handful of mixed coriander leaves
  • • a few springs of fresh mint
  • • the juice of 1 lime
  • • 1 tbsp. maple syrup
  • • 1 tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • • 4 tbsp. olive oil
  • • 2 large garlic gloves
  • • a pinch of salt

Method

  1. Place the ears of corn in a pan of boiling water and blanch for 7 minutes. Remove and cool under running, cold water immediately.
  2. Pat them dry and then rub each one with olive oil until they are fully covered.
  3. Place them in a bowl and sprinkle the Cajun spice on top, turning the corn as you do so each side gets covered.
  4. Take each one individually and rub the Cajun spice in to it, until it’s stuck in the gaps between the corn kernels.
  5. Place the ears of corn directly on to the BBQ grill and turn every 5 minutes until the kernels have started to brown slightly.
  6. While they’re cooking, place all the ingredients for the Green Sauce in to an s-blade mixer, and pulse until you have a similar consistency to pesto.
  7. When the corn has finished grilling, place on a plate and spoon the green sauce over the top to serve

The dessert: Caramelised banana & chocolate

(Getty Images/iStockphoto

"Growing up, no BBQ was complete until we'd sat around the grill waiting patiently for our bananas to be ready. If you've never done this you don't know what you're missing! It's such a simple, no frills dish and everyone loves it, whatever their age. To make it vegan the only switch I had to make was to use 70 per cent dark chocolate... so easy!"

Ingredients

  • 4 bananas (in their skins)
  • 200g 70% dark chocolate - I particularly like Green & Blacks
  • You'll also need tin foil

Method

  1. Leaving the banana in it's skin take a sharp knife and slice it almost from top to bottom.  You want to cut down about 2/3 in to the banana and leave about 1cm clear each end.
  2. Break the chocolate in to little pieces (tip: this is easier if you do it before opening the packet!) and then push 1/4 of the bar in to the opening of each banana.
  3. Close up the banana again and wrap the whole thing in tin foil.
  4. Place the foil parcels on to the grill (or even directly in to the coals if the BBQ is dying out) and leave for around 5 minutes.
  5. Open the foil to check if it's done and if not simply reseal and place back on the grill for a another minute or so.  When it's ready the chocolate will have melted and the banana will be slightly brown, from the caramelisation, and lovely and gooey.  Be sure to let it cool slightly before you dig in with a teaspoon!

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