How to Master a Vegan BBQ

How to Master a Vegan BBQ

Ever felt like an outsider as the only vegan at a BBQ? Or hosted a BBQ and just don’t know what to feed your vegan friend? Here are tips to master a vegan BBQ.

South Africa is big on BBQ’ing (we call it a braai). So is Australia, the US, Brazil, Argentina and pretty much any country where there is sunny weather and an excuse to cook and eat al fresco.

Very often, this can be a challenging situation if you are a vegan, as the main thing that is cooked on a BBQ is usually meat. Ever been to a BBQ as a vegan and had your meat-eater friends turn up their noses at your soy sausages? Or maybe you’ve had a vegan at your BBQ and just don’t know what to feed them?

We’re here to help. Here are a few delicious and easy vegan options you can cook on the BBQ (braai) that will have the meat-lovers in the group inquisitively looking over your shoulder.

If you are not a vegan, you can easily use these as accompaniments to your meat so that you avoid buying processed sides like store-made garlic bread or potato salad with who knows how many additives and unknown creamy substances.

These tips will help you to broaden your BBQ/sides options, add some healthy and wholesome veg to your meal, and allow the only vegan at the party to feel like they are a part of the smokey deliciousness that a BBQ (braai) provides. 

Firstly, we will give you 4 vegan BBQ (braai) ideas

Just remember that because veg doesn’t have the natural oils that meat does, you need to either brush the grill with oil or brush the veg with oil before cooking it, to make sure it doesn’t stick. 

Corn on the Cob

You can leave the husk on and roast as is, or, if you have corn without the husk, you can wrap it in foil.

  • When the coals are are a bit too hot for the meat, put the corn on. 
  • Turn them every 5 minutes, so they cook evenly. 
  • Make a baste of oil, picked thyme, chopped parsley/coriander, salt, pepper, crushed raw garlic, lemon zest, smoked paprika, and chilli flakes. You can use any combination of these.
  • Brush the mix over the hot corn once they’re off the fire so that it gets sucked into the corn.
  • You can then keep the corn warm in the oven until the rest of the meal is ready. 


You can either wrap the mushrooms in foil or just put them directly onto the grill. Just don't put them over a direct flame. Rather, put them on edges of the grill. Douse with oil and chopped/sliced/grated garlic, salt and pepper, your herb of choice, and chilli if you like. Pro Tip: Thyme and parsley go well with mushrooms.

Onions in Foil

For these, you'll use whole onions, unpeeled and wrapped in foil, and put them directly into the coals. Turn every now and then until a sharp skewer goes in easily. When you remove the foil, the skin will look burnt, but once you peel it away, you'll find the sweet, soft onion inside.

Banana Chocolate Deliciousnous

Leave the banana skins on. Cut a slit ¾ way into the banana - it will be tight. Push your vegan choc chips deep into the banana. Wrap your banana in foil. Once the meat comes off, put the bananas onto the coals and leave it to cook while having dinner. Unwrap. The skin will be pitch black and there will be soft gooey banana and melted chocolate inside.

Now let's take a look at sides

You can easily make your favourite tasty sides vegan-friendly so that everyone in the group can eat them and nobody will be any the wiser that they are vegan.

Ways to do this are by substituting vegan-friendly products for animal products – olive oil for butter, nut milk for milk, and maple syrup for honey. 

Let’s take a look at the two staple sides of many BBQs: potato bake and coleslaw. 
These can easily be made with vegan ingredients. 

Spoiler alert: you can do them without the cream and they still taste amazing.

Here are two easy recipes for vegan sides at a BBQ:

Braai sides
Click Image to View as PDF

Another great idea for a BBQ is veg skewers. You can’t go wrong with bite-sized morsels impaled on a big toothpick and grilled to perfection. Courgettes, onion petals, mange tout, peppers & cherry tomatoes are good veg for this.

Worried about meeting your protein needs?

  • Add peanut butter to your choc banana when you’re about to eat it.
  • Add quinoa, lentils or chickpeas to your coleslaw.
  • Make your own patty. Here is a link to a recipe for vegetarian patties by Martin Nordin. And here is a link to original vegan burger recipes. 

We hope these tips will help you the next time you are the only vegan at the BBQ (braai), or you have a vegan coming over to BBQ (braai).

If you are the host and BBQ-ing for vegan friends, be sure to clean the grill thoroughly and cook their veg on a different area to where you cook the meat out of courtesy. You can imagine if someone was grilling something you don’t want to eat, like, say, ummmm, earthworms! You wouldn’t want their earthwormyness getting onto your food. Same concept 🙂 

Final Note:

We hope you now feel you can master a vegan BBQ (braai). 

If you are in the Port Elizabeth/Gqeberha area, and you want healthy and delicious vegan frozen meals or vegan prepared meals, pop into our store at 25 Westbourne Road, order online or check your local Spar in the Eastern Cape.

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Lisa Parsons

Lisa is a content writer and strategist with experience across many platforms. She is also a personal trainer and has a keen interest in holistic health encompassing physical, mental and emotional wellness. She enjoys travel, books, puzzles, learning languages, and a buttery Chardonnay.

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