Vegetarian Options For BBQ Catering At Your Event

Posted on: 23 June 2015

If you are planning on having the smoky, meaty experience of deliciousness as the theme for your event, you might be stumped on how to properly attend to those guests who are unable to eat meat. After all, when barbecue is concerned, meat is the star of the show. However, there are some really great options for vegetarians that will leave them, not only full from the meal, but happy about the taste as well.

1. Bring a grill to the party.

Even though traditional BBQ is more about slow cooked, smoked meats, you should talk to event catering about providing a few grilled options as well if they're able. Some vegetarian dishes that lend themselves very well to grilling include:

  • grilled portabella mushrooms. These mushrooms have a meaty texture, and they are large in size -- so large in fact, that they could be served in the place of a hamburger patty or brisket on a bun. With some delicious sauces and toppings like cheese, lettuce, tomato, and avocado, your vegetarian customers will be more than happy with this healthy main dish.
  • kabobs. Even though your favorite kabobs have a combination of meat and veggies, a full vegetable kabob grilled to a char and perfectly seasoned will definitely hit the spot on the plate.
  • tofu. Tofu can take on the flavor of marinade and smoke, so it can actually end being a great meat substitute for those who need it.
  • squash. Large slabs of squash seasoned and grilled can be a great stand-in for a burger or a slow-cooked pork chop. Squash is a cheap, light vegetable that adopts the bold flavors of the grill and marinade. 
  • black bean burgers. Vegetarians often get protein from beans, and many caterers will offer a veggie burger or bean burger as a stand-in option for vegetarian customers.

2. Have the sides pull double duty.

Because you don't want to have to plan two full menus for vegetarians and non-vegetarians, tell your caterer that you want the sides to be vegetarian of vegan friendly, while still staying in line with the barbecue theme. This means that bacon-wrapped asparagus or adding sausage pieces to the potato salad are not good options. Instead, have fresh salads, plenty of bread, corn on the cob, or potato salad that is is meat and egg free. Baked beans are another good option, as long as they can be made without the usual addition of pork. Those who are meat eaters will get their meat from the main dish. 

3. Choose a plant-based dessert.

Vegan or vegetarian desserts are difficult to find sometimes, because many vegetarians also refrain from eating dairy. If this is the case with your guests, don't worry. Going the BBQ route actually helps you in this case, because many traditional desserts paired with BBQ are dairy free; they are, instead, fruit based. Talk to your caterer about forgoing cheesecakes and bakes goods for more old-fashioned desserts like:

  • peach or berry cobbler. Because it sometimes made with butter or lard, check with the caterer to make sure shortening or coconut oil is used instead, especially if you are providing dessert for vegan guests.
  • grilled peaches and coconut cream. Grilled peaches have a beautiful flavor, and coconut cream is dairy-free, while still providing the richness to pair with the sweetness of the fruit.
  • apple or rhubarb crisp. Again, make sure the "crisp" is made with alternative fat, as butter is the favored ingredient for this traditional dessert.

Creating a BBQ menu for your veggie-loving guests does not need to be as daunting as it sounds. By choosing the right menu options and by discussing dietary needs with your caterer, you should be able to create a menu that works for carnivores, omnivores, and herbivores alike.