What About the Veg?
It’s barbeque season and it’s all about the meat. Gorgeous steaks, marinaded chicken, crispy whole fish. Burgers. Sausages. Skewers. But what about the veg?
Barbecues are a brilliant way to cook foods – and make a change from standing in a hot kitchen in warm weather! But with all the focus on meat it’s easy to forget about the vegetables. There are some brilliant ways to add vegetables into your barbecue and it’s worth doing – your body still needs the vitamins and fibre even if you are happy chomping down on your chicken. Check out our top tips for adding more than just meat to your barbecue!
- Super Salads. Salads are an easy way to add vegetables – and colour – to your barbecue. And you can make many in advance, so you are not rushing at the last minute. Mix baby gem with fresh tomatoes, cucumber slices, chopped chives and a gluten free balsamic dressing for a quick and easy salad. Fresh tomatoes sliced and mixed with balsamic glaze, some black pepper and some chopped basil is delicious. The old standby coleslaw is great, but it can end up being mostly mayonnaise. Try making it yourself – if you have a food processor you can quickly grate the carrot and cabbage. Then add some gluten free mayonnaise. Add enough to coat the veg but not drown it…
- Sticks and dips. Feed the family – and any guests – with veggie sticks and dips while they are waiting for the main event. Carrot, cucumber, celery, red and yellow peppers and even tiny pieces of broccoli can all work well dipped into something delicious. Hummus is a great dip but you can also make dips with yoghurt, gluten-free nut butters and salsas. Plain yoghurt with some minced garlic, a blob of gluten free mayonnaise, some salt and pepper and some chopped chives is delicious with red pepper strips. Carrot and cucumber sticks mixed with lime juice and salt will have people licking their fingers and coming back for more. Try blending gluten free peanut butter and plain yoghurt with a drop of honey and dipping celery and carrots. Your kids will have eaten their 5-a-day before they even sit down to the main event! *Dips can be an issue for people with coeliac disease if someone else is dipping breadsticks, tortilla chips etc. into your dip: try serving gluten free options or have a separate dip for the coeliacs in your family.
- Load your skewers with veg. If you are cooking chunks of steak add red peppers and mushrooms onto your skewer. If you are cooking skewers of chicken add chopped asparagus and yellow peppers. Chunks of tofu are great on a barbecue skewer with chunks of courgette and cherry tomatoes. Wrap whole sweetcorn in tinfoil and allow to cook on the barbeque for 30 minutes – they are tender, sweet and delicious (a little butter and salt helps as well…). Roasted red onions are a revelation and are brilliant with burgers and sausages – peel the onion and wrap, whole, in tinfoil and place into the coals for 30-40 minutes. Melt-in-your-mouth goodness.
- Fruity finish. Fruit is a great dessert – and chilled fruit can be just what everyone needs after a heavy barbecue meal. Chill slices of melon; a nice bowl of strawberries or a good fruit salad. You can also roast chunks of peaches and pineapples on skewers on the barbecue – they caramelise and taste amazing.
- Fresh drinks: It’s easy to get dehydrated at a barbecue – especially if the day is hot and the wine has been flowing! Make up some fruit -based drinks to keep people feeling fresh – and sneak in a few more vitamins! Try orange juice mixed with sparkling water and slices of lime. Try apple juice with sparling water and strawberry chunks. Fruit punches with pineapple juice, sparkling water and lots of floating fruit – and served with a spoon – is a great way to get everyone nibbling on fruit as they refresh through the day.