Maybe you're just starting to reduce your meat intake or maybe you're a full-fledged vegan, vegetarian or pescatarian - a flexitarian BBQ is the perfect meal for a mixed crowd of eaters. A great way to keep things simple is to serve plant based sides and two options for burgers...beef patties or bean burgers. You could also try pork bratwurst and faux brats, then everyone has their choice. These vegan sides are very typical dishes you would encounter at a BBQ, just with a few small tweaks.
Homemade pasta pasta salad
That's right, whip up a batch of fresh pasta a day or two prior to the event and watch your guests be delighted....homemade pasta is the bomb! I started making homemade pasta years ago with a recipe from Giada, which calls for egg yolks. I now make an egg free (vegan) version that is actually better (taste wise) and because it makes for a lighter noodle, it's cheaper $$$ AND healthier.
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons EVOO
1 cup warm water
Combine the ingredients above in a food processor or use a bowl and spoon. Feel free to adjust the amount of water to get the correct consistency of the dough. The dough should be "pinchable" (see Giada's video link above). Refrigerate for 30 minutes +, then roll the dough out on a floured surface, about 1/8 inch thick. I have a pasta machine but it's such a nightmare to clean that I have abandoned it in favor of just using a sharp knife to cut the pasta in the desired shape. For most meals, I cut into long strips to make linguini, but for pasta salad I cut 1/2 inch wide strips and then made another cut to make the noodles 1 inch long. Bring a large salted pot to boil and add the noodles making sure not to cram the pot too full. I like to do half and half for this amount of pasta and I don't change the water.
Salad ingredients: cherry tomatoes, olives, spinach, corn, onion, artichokes, heart of palm.
Dressing: 1/2 cup liquid from artichoke jar, 1/4 cup oil oil, 2 Tablespoons vegan pesto, salt & pepper to taste and serve at room temperature
Potato Salad (Austrian style)
6 large white potatos
3 Tablespoons white vinegar
2 teaspoons agave nectar
1 red onion
1 bunch of chives chopped
1 teaspoon mustard
1/2 cup veggie broth
Boil the potatoes. Chop potatoes, onion, and chives. Whisk the vinegar, agave, mustard, and broth. Salt & pepper to taste. Add to potato mix. Serve at room temperature.
The vegan chopped salad is a staple meal option around my house. You might be thinking a no meat no dairy salad might not be that enticing...think again! Obviously you have to add a little substance around this dish, like roasted or pickled beets, corn, cooked/roasted carrots, seeds and nuts. The rest is all fresh with onions, tomatoes, sweet peppers, mushrooms and cucumber. I like to chop whatever salad base I am using, this time it was spring mix.
Dressing: 3/4 cup leftover beet juice from can, 1/4 cup EVOO, 3 Tablespoons spicy brown mustard, 2 Tablespoons white vinegar, salt & pepper to taste