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Preparing a Vegetarian BBQ

July 26, 2012 Le Cordon Bleu Portland 0 Comments

Preparing a Vegetarian BBQ

When the family gets together for a day of grillin' and chillin', don't feel left out just because you're vegetarian. Barbecue does not have to revolve around meat as all kinds of veggies, fruit, and other ingredients can be slapped onto a sizzling grill to create a delicious meal for the herbivore in you. Remember that the term "barbecue" refers to a method of cooking, not a certain food type. You can literally barbecue anything you want as long as it is edible. So, if you are looking to enjoy a meat-free meal cooked over a hot flame, here are some simple suggestions to make your vegetarian barbecue a fun and tasty one. You would be surprised by how common veggie meals are becoming today. In fact, Oregon culinary schools, in addition to nearly any other school of culinary arts, make meat free dishes more of the culinary norm continually.

1) Ingredients and prepping

The first step of preparing a vegetarian barbecue is to decide on what ingredients you want to use for your feast. If you prefer to have the whole look and feel of a traditional American barbecue, add pre-made false meats to your shopping list. False meats are 100% vegetarian foods that are usually made with a soy mixture. They closely resemble regular hotdogs, sausages, and burgers in both taste and looks.

Remember that mock-meat soy products require different cooking times and temperatures than the real thing. In general, soy foods will take less time and heat to cook than real meats because they don't have the fat content and natural juices of meat. Read the instructions on the packages well before you begin to avoid ruining your food. Some imitation meats cannot be grilled and it will say so on the packaging.

2) Using the grill for meat-eaters and meat-avoiders

Even though you may be vegetarian, chances are that there will be many meat-eaters among your guests. Cooking vegetarian foods and meats on a grill can be a problem since you don't want to consume any of the meat residue that could be caked onto the grill. There are several ways to solve this problem. First, you could cook the non-meat foods first since meat-eaters will probably not mind having veggie remains on their meats. You could also split the grill into two sections designated for meats and non-meats. This might not be the best idea since meat, soy products, and veggies all cook at different temperatures and for different durations. The best option would be to cook the meats and non-meats on two separate grills if you have them at hand. This will prevent cross-contamination and everyone will be happy. This is one thing that you will certainly be learning in any class at a school of culinary arts. Anyone with allergies or special dietary needs have to avoid cross contamination in the kitchen.

3) Fast and simple grillin' foods

In addition to soy dogs, burgers, and the like, there are many other foods that can be cooked up in a jiffy. These items include: pineapple rings, bell peppers, sweet potatoes, asparagus, onions, Portobello mushrooms, tofu, corn on the cob, skewered combinations of the above and more. Clearly, barbecuing can be quick and healthy too.

4) Barbecue as an accent

While many people think of barbecued foods as a main course, they surely don't have to be. Oregon culinary schools are now introducing BBQ as simply an accent. You can grill up some delicious sides for other entrees that don't need to be barbecued. For example, corn on the cob or asparagus can be cooked up over a flame and added as a side to a fried chicken dinner. Grilled vegetables can also be added to noodles or rice for an enhanced flavor that can't be mimicked by using a pot or pan. There are so many ways to use a grill to make lean and scrumptious foods for vegetarians and meat-eaters alike.

This article is presented by Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Portland. Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Portland offers culinary arts and pâtisserie and baking training programs in Portland, Oregon. To learn more about the class offerings, please visit Chefs.edu/Portland for more information.

Find disclosures on graduation rates, student financial obligations and more at www.chefs.edu/disclosures.  
Le Cordon Bleu® and the Le Cordon Bleu logo are registered trademarks of Career Education Corporation. Le Cordon Bleu cannot guarantee employment or salary.Credits earned are unlikely to transfer.

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