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Plant-based braais are the new black: here’s how to host one without looking like an idiot

if you haven't taken braaiing veggies seriously yet, it's time to start!

by: Jess Spiro | 26 Dec 2019
vegetables on braai

Despite the rise in plant-based and vegetarian diets, our poor veggie friends are still drastically undercatered-for at most braais. For too long, they’ve been forced to deal with potato salads and garlic bread as the base of their meals, and it’s time to do better by them.

ALSO READ: Lentil patties and soy schnitzels: Are vegetarians stealing the carnivore’s dictionary?

Match your steak with a steak for them

Just because they can’t eat meat doesn’t mean they can’t have a steak. Grab a head of cauliflower, slice it up into thick steak-like pieces and throw it on the braai for a few minutes, until nicely charred and slightly softened. Or pop a few large brown mushrooms on the fire, dotted with a few pats of garlic butter and let that cook down until soft. These are already huge steps up for most vegetarians and vegans, but you can take it one step further by serving these with a punchy salsa verde (or just a bunch of soft herbs blitzed together with a bit of garlic, olive oil and lemon juice) that just so happens to work nicely with your steak too.

TRY: Indian spiced cauli steak with coconut coriander relish

cauliflower steak

Make vegetables part of your menu, too

This might come as a surprise, but meat-eaters can eat vegetables too. Shocking, I know, but it’s true. So, if you know you have a few vegetarians or vegans coming for lunch, make your life easier by serving more interesting veggie sides and salads rather than just trying to find a meat alternative for them to eat. Grilled aubergine or carrots make hearty salads when tossed with roasted nuts and leaves, but sticking to the classics like baked potatoes and braaied mielies is ok too. It’s just a case of making sure there are enough veggie sides to form a complete meal. It’s incredibly saddening to have to form a meal from a side portion of potato salad and a bread roll.

TRY: 7 Exciting salads that will boost your braai game

apple and fennel slaw

If you must buy premade veggie options, at least cook them on the fire

There’s nothing wrong with picking up a premade veggie patty or sausage for the vegetarians at the braai, but simply warming it through in the microwave won’t do. Brush it up with some olive oil and pop it on the braai as you would a beef burger (ideally on a clean section of the grill, so no meaty juices mingle with it!). This not only warms it, but will add a nice smoky flavour to the patty.

Make veggie versions of whatever meat you’re cooking

In the same way that you make a cauliflower or mushroom steak, you can whip up other veggie alternatives in no time. Make veggie kebabs by sticking peppers, mushrooms, courgettes and red onions on a wooden skewer. If you’re doing boerie rolls, throw a few carrots over the fire too and let your guests make their own carrot dogs, topped with roasted nuts and a herby salsa (or tomato sauce, we don’t judge!).

TRY: Roasted carrot hotdogs with basil sauce and red cabbage salsa

vegan hotdog recipe

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