For most, the thought of barbecuing immediately brings to mind sizzling sausages, charring rump steaks, and browning chops. The grill is, quite simply, synonymous with meat.
I often feel sorry for non meat-eaters during barbecue season. I want to weep for veggie pals forced to have another sad Portobello mushroom in a bap as the rest of us dig into juicy quarter pounders.
Neither does Quorn, and its various mockmeat relatives, overly appeal. Those dry, grey patties look about as appetising as the charcoal over which they are cooked.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. Might we have prematurely written off just what the barbecue can do with common or garden veg? Sure, some of the options might take a little more effort than throwing some shrimp (or hot dogs, or drumsticks) on the barbie, but it’s worth it.
One man who agrees that vegetarian grilling has perhaps not fulfilled its potential is Ross Dobson, the author of a new cookbook Fired Up Vegetarian: No Nonsense Barbecuing. As an Australian, he knows a thing or two about what makes a decent barbie, and despite not being a vegetarian, he maintains that vegetables can give meat more than a run for its money on the grill. “One of the best ways to cook vegetables is to grill them,” says Dobson. “Simple grilled fennel, aubergine or courgettes spring to mind. And many of these veggies that barbecue particularly well are also in season when we are more inclined to barbecue.”
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