Barbecueing is one of Australia’s most quintessential summer activities but with more people choosing to become vegan or opt for plant-based foods, it might be time to broaden the menu beyond sizzling steaks and sausages in bread.
Vegan and plant-based foods don’t have to be bland, but if you’ve never catered for the dietary preference before you might not know where to start. So to celebrate Veganuary, Mayver’s has put together its favourite vegan dishes and treats that are sure to flavour up the summer menu!
Leading dietitian, Susie Burrell says that summer is a fantastic season for trying new fruits and vegetables and that even if you do eat meat, it’s extremely important to include a variety of fruits and vegetables in your diet.
“Plant-based dishes can be incredibly tasty, provide essential nutrients and benefit meat eaters and vegans alike,” Susie says. “For those who choose to be vegan or opt for plant-based foods, it’s even more important to eat nutritionally balanced meals that contain iron, zinc and calcium to ensure your vegan diet is not lacking in essential nutrients that are found in meat and other animals based foods.
“A serving of coleslaw or a jacket potato at a Sunday barbecue whilst healthy, lacks the range of nutrients that a well-balanced meal contains. “Instead get experimental and make colourful sides and salads that include fruits, different vegetables and to help keep you fuller for longer, add a handful of nuts, a dressing made with a 100% natural nut spread or a carbohydrate like quinoa, beans or chickpeas. “Specifically, nutritionally rich foods including legumes, nuts, seeds and wholegrains can significantly boost the micronutrient intake of those who prefer plant based eating.”
Sam Wood says that his family always serve up veggie dishes at family barbecues and that there are plenty of crowd-pleasing, meat-free main dishes that even your meat loving friends will enjoy.
“A great vegan friendly option to consider as an alternative to sausages and meats are veggie fritters and skewers! You can cook both on the barbecue and my tofu skewers recipe is packed with flavour and extra protein from the peanut butter included in the dipping sauce,” Sam says. “Catering for vegans or plant-based eaters takes a bit of thought, but it doesn’t need to be difficult if you look for dishes that everyone can enjoy, including yourself.”
Those that follow the 28 program, know how much of a meat-free Monday advocate Sam is and has been encouraging people to give it a go for a long time, as a way to eat more fruit and vegetables. “It’s a movement that’s really grown in popularity and is such a great way to increase your fruit and vegetable intake during the week. So if you’re curious about trying veganism or are looking to add more plant-based recipes to your repertoire for your next meat-free barbecue, it’s a great place to start.”
For a summer side that’s full of colour and texture, try Crunchy Shredded Salad with Peanut Butter Dressing or for a post-barbecue treat that has a serve of hidden fruit, Peanut Butter Banana Choc Tops go down a treat with the kids!
Some Recipes to Try
Crunchy Shredded Salad with Peanut Butter Dressing Time: 25 mins | Serves: 2 – 4
Salad 3 cups finely shredded wombok or white cabbage
1 cup finely shredded red cabbage ½ medium sized red capsicum finely sliced 1 large grated carrot
3 spring onions sliced ½ Lebanese cucumber, halved lengthwise, de-seeded and sliced
½ cup mint leaves Dressing
¼ cup Crunchy Peanut Butter
2 tbs rice wine vinegar
3 tbs fresh lime juice
3 tbs light olive oil
1 tbs tamari
1 tbs coconut sugar
2 tbs rice malt syrup
1 garlic clove crushed
20g fresh ginger grated
½ long green chili finely chopped
½ tsp salt ½ cup coriander leaves
Method Crunchy Shredded Salad with Peanut Butter Dressing
1. Place all dressing ingredients, except for peanut butter, into a blender and blend until smooth.
2. Then, whisk the Crunchy Peanut Butter into the dressing so you retain the crunchy texture.
3. Place all salad ingredients in a large bowl and toss to mix.
4. Add dressing just before serving and toss through to coat evenly.
RECIPE TIP: Use an empty jar instead of a blender in Step 1 and shake until smooth.
Peanut Butter Banana Choc Top
Time: 45 mins | Serves: 6
Ingredients The Pop 1/2 cup canned coconut cream
1/4 cup Smooth Peanut Butter
2 cups frozen bananas
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon Choc Top
1 block vegan chocolate
1 tbsp canned coconut cream handful crushed nuts of choice
1. In a blender or food processor add all ingredients for the icy poles and blend on high speed until combined and smooth.
2. Pour into icy pole trays and place in the freezer to set for 8 hours, ideally overnight. The next day, remove the icy poles from the moulds and place them back into the freezer so they don’t melt.
3. Melt the chocolate in a bowl over hot water or in the microwave. Once runny, add the coconut cream and mix until combined.
4. One by one, dip the icy poles into the chocolate and place them flat onto a tray with baking paper. Sprinkle over some nuts and repeat the process. Use leftover chocolate to drizzle over the rest of the pops. Place in the fridge to set for 10 minutes. Serve and enjoy!
Mayver’s is an Australian family owned natural spread company. All Mayver’s natural spreads are vegan and contain absolutely no added oil, sugar, gluten, dairy, cholesterol or hardened fats and are nothing but goodness for your family.
For more information or recipe inspiration visit mayvers.com.au
Susie Burrell is a qualified dietitian with a masters in coaching psychology.
Sam Wood is the founder of 28 and is one of Australia’s leading experts in health and fitness.