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How to feed your vegetarian – BBQ ideas so you don't alienate your veggie mates

Barbequed cuisine is some of the finest in the world. Hailing from authentic Mediterranean roots in Greece and Cyprus, barbeque-grilled food has spread in popularity across five continents, its easy preparation and mouth-watering flavour entrancing people from all cultures and places. Barbeques are now among the most popular ways to entertain friends and relatives, and for many, they are the ultimate Sunday activity. A beer or sparkling wine and a barbequed steak sandwich is many people's idea of heaven!
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But there's just one place where barbequing falls down as a form of entertainment. Many people struggle to find a way to please their vegetarian friends, neighbours and relatives – traditionally, the main ingredient of barbequing is a large piece of meat. Many veggies sigh with disappointment when receiving a BBQ invitation, and those who are vegetarian for health or moral reasons, rather than taste, are often tortured by a day smelling grilling meat!

However, barbequing for vegetarians doesn't have to be a headache, nor should you leave them to fill up on limp salad while everybody else chows down. Here are some simple and delicious ideas to ensure your party goes with a bang for everyone.

Grilled Halloumi
This cheese is one of the most popular vegetarian foods. Halloumi is a rather rubbery Greek cheese that becomes soft, salty and delicious when grilled over a high heat. A few slices of halloumi can be served with salad and bread to make for an elegant barbeque. You're sure to have even meat-eating guests vying for a slice with their burgers!

Meaty Veg
Some good ‘meaty' vegetables that stand up well to grilling are portobello mushrooms and aubergines. Portobello mushrooms, or field mushrooms, are a meat-replacement staple in burgers and grills due to their size and satisfaction quality, while aubergines' juicy, rich flavour makes for a delicious and filling meal. Both these vegetables also take marinades very well. And interestingly, a little while ago the aubergine was voted the sexiest foodstuff, whatever that means.

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Veggie Kebabs
Alternatively, for a lighter, sharper taste, flame-grilled vegetarian kebabs can be wonderful. You can include pieces of soya or quorn meat on these, but they also work well with just courgettes, peppers (red, green and yellow) and onions. Veggie kebabs will give a bit of crunch to the meal and are always very popular. They're also easy to incorporate into your existing BBQ plans – make some with chicken or lamb and some without, and veggies and carnivores alike will thank you.

BBQ Fruits
Some fruits turn out very good on the barbeque. Such fruits are peaches, pineapples, apples, pears, and even bananas.

Fish-eating vegetarians
For fish-eating vegetarians, such as myself, I recommend salmon, swordfish or marlin kabobs. The flesh of these three is very good for barbequing. Just space them up with some slices of bell pepper and onion, and/or mushroom.

So, don't scare off your veggie mates with your BBQ invitation. Get cracking on your veggie recipe skills and assure them they're being catered for – you'll have smiles all round.

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Chef George Krumov
About the author: George Krumov is a Red Seal certified chef with many years of culinary experience working around the world in Europe, the Middle East, the cruise line industry and North America. In the last two decades he has headed the kitchens of several restaurants in Canada, and ran his own restaurant.

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