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barbeque

The Uncommon Life

6 Vegetarian BBQ Recipes –
Because End of Summer Doesn’t Have to Be a Bummer

August 26, 2016
vegbbq-feature

photo credit: peasandcrayons.com

Summer is coming to a close. We’ve had some good times, we’ve had some sunburns. What better way to commemorate the end of long days and good weather than with one epic last hurrah: an end of summer barbecue blow-out.

For the vegetarians among us, barbecues can be tricky. There aren’t always enough non-meat options. That’s why UncommonGoods has called upon its community of creators, bakers, and bloggers. We asked: “What’s your favorite vegetarian barbecue recipe?” This is what you all came up with.

1. Spicy Korean Brussel Sprout Tacos

vegetarian bbq recipes

photo credit: veganizzm.com

Vegan blogger Izzy (of the delightful website Veganizzm) found the inspiration for this recipe after enjoying a similar dish at Winter Hill Brewing in Somerville, Massachussetts. The Chickpea Gyro and the Spicy Korean Brussel Sprouts were so delish, she decided to mix them together. So Izzy began experimenting with putting brussel sprouts in a wrap. Then she got creative and swapped the pita bread for tortillas. Voila: tacos!

photo credit: veganizzm.com

Brussel sprouts are actually a perfect vegetable. Izzy explains, “They pick up flavors easily and have serious crunch appeal.” For the sauce, she modified a Sweet and Spicy Chili Sauce recipe from Kenji, which worked brilliantly.

  • 1 lb Brussels sprouts, stems removed and sliced in half
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 oz shiitake mushrooms (1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 lime
  • 15 oz can of black beans, rinsed
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 6″ flour or corn tortillas

Sauce:

  • 1/4 cup chili garlic sauce or gochujang
  • 2 tablespoons tamari
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vineger
  • 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 3 medium cloves garlic, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil

Preheat oven to 350. Toss Brussels sprouts in 2 tablespoons vegetable oil (make sure they’re all coated lightly) and spread on a cookie sheet. Roast for  15-20 minutes, until crispy and slightly browned.

Whisk all the sauce ingredients together. Once the Brussels sprouts are done, toss them in the sauce and set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in a skillet and add the shiitakes. Sauté for 2-3 minutes, then stir in chili powder and juice of half the lime. Remove from heat and assemble tacos with brussel sprouts, shiitakes, sliced avocado, black beans and remaining lime juice.

2. Moroccan Chickpea and Quinoa Salad

photo credit: theveganchickpea.com

If you’re not familiar with couscous, think of it as the rice of Moroccan cuisine. Couscous forms the base layer to a lot of great add-ins, like dried fruit, vegetables, herbs, nuts, spices and juices. Unfortunately, while couscous looks like a grain, it’s actually more like a very fine pasta. It contains gluten. That’s why health-conscious blogger Caitlin of The Vegan Chickpea came up with a delicious quinoa substitute.

photo credit: theveganchickpea.com

After doing a lot of research into couscous substitutes, Caitlin realized that quinoa would make a great component in her own couscous-inspired dish. What she came up with might not be traditional, but it is a lightly-spiced and very delicious gluten-free alternative. This recipe features hearty chickpeas, sweet raisins, and crunchy pistachios for optimal end-of-summer enjoyment.

  • 1 cup quinoa (I used red)
  • 2 cups cooked chickpeas (or one 16 oz can, rinsed and drained)
  • 1/4 cup pistachios
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp paprika

Rinse quinoa and cook according to package. When the quinoa is finish cooking, add in the cinnamon, cumin, and paprika, and mix until the spices are evenly dispersed. Add chickpeas, pistachios, and raisins, and mix thoroughly. Serve immediately.

3. Vegetable Kebabs

If you’ve never visited mystery writer Becki Green’s adorable food blog, The Vegetarian Detective, you are missing out. The site chronicles Becki’s adventures sleuthing in the world of meat-free and vegan cooking. Every recipe she takes on she calls a “case.” This time, she cracks the case of Vegetable Kebabs. Here’s the scoop:

  • 2 rounded tsps (for 2 cups) vegetable bouillon powder
  • 2 tbsps hickory-smoked barbecue sauce
  • 1 tsp vinegar
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 2 tbsps soya sauce
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • pinch paprika
  • pinch rosemary
  • pinch oregano
  • pinch onion powder
  • pinch basil
  • pinch parsley
  • pepper
  • 16 oz medium mushrooms
  • 2 red peppers, cubed
  • 4 zucchinis, thickly sliced
  • 1/8 cup olive oil

Soak at least 8 wooden skewers in water.

Mix together all the marinade ingredients—vegetable bouillon powder to pepper to taste—in a large bowl. Add the vegetables and marinate for an hour or more.

Thread the vegetables on the skewers, baste with the olive oil, and grill on the BBQ or broil on the middle rack of oven. This recipe serves 4.

For and added bonus: serve on creamy whipped potatoes and chickpeas and drizzle with warmed marinade.

4. Pineapple BBQ Tofu

photocredit: vegetarianmamma.com

This simple recipe for Pineapple BBQ Tofu comes from Cindy Gordon, the tofu-sizzling mastermind behind one of my favorite healthy cooking blogs, Vegetarian Mamma. Cindy and her family eat tofu pretty regularly, so she’s always looking for new ways to make the textures and the flavors interesting.

This Pineapple BBQ Tofu is delicious and easy. It doesn’t even require firing up the grill: you can make it in your broiler! But what makes this recipe really great is the special sauce.

pineapple bbq tofu

photo credit: vegetarianmamma.com

One thing Cindy does is that she presses her raw tofu to get rid of extra moisture. This allows the tofu to cook better, and it also holds flavors better this way, too. Then she marinates her freshly-pressed tofu for 2 hours in an amazing BBQ sauce.

For more details on the sauce, visit the original recipe here. Thanks for sharing, Vegetarian Mamma!

5. Creamy Vegan Mac and Cheese

photo credit: vegetaraian.com

A lot of vegans agree that the most difficult flavor to reproduce if you’re not using dairy products is, well, cheese. So when we came across this delicious, creamy and, yes—cheesy!—Vegan Mac and Cheese recipe from Tara Mathews, author of VegeTARAian, we knew it was a winner.

This recipe works great with macaroni, penne, spiral pasta, or elbow pasta. You could even try it with wholemeal or gluten free pasta if you prefer. Just remember that if you’re cooking for gluten free friends, skip the bread crumbs topping.

Another great tip? Bake your Vegan Mac and Cheese in a disposable baking tray so that it’s easy to transport to your barbecue or picnic. Afterwards, you’ll have less washing up to do. If you’re feeling less generous, you could use two smaller trays and leave half at home.

Visit the original recipe on Tara’s website.

6. Lemon Asparagus Pasta Salad with Cucumber and Feta

photo credit: peasandcrayons.com

and banana peppers, and avocado oil, champagne vinegar and…. let’s just state the obvious: this salad rocks!

Jenn of Peas and Crayons explains:

[It’s] Easy enough to toss together in a hurry, this tasty pasta salad is great for busy weekdays, lazy weekends, and all your summer parties and barbecues!

When the craving for pasta salad struck I couldn’t shake it, yet I was missing all the usual suspects! I was clear out of tomatoes and bell peppers and running dangerously low on olive oil. Of course running out of ingredients has it’s perks, and improvising has lead to my favorite P&C recipes!

In fact, running out of pantry and produce staples led to this tasty salad, this wildly addictive side dish, and even my bell pepper pizzas! Talk about awesome! What’s even more awesome is that we now get to add this finger-licking pasta salad to the list! It’s light and crisp and so. flipping. good.

Get Jenn’s full recipe here.

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The Uncommon Life

10 Tips for a Sustainable Summer Party with Bekuh of Secondhand Sundays

July 23, 2012

Hello there friends! My name is Bekuh and I’m the creative type behind the blog Secondhand Sundays; my personal blog filled with pretty vintage wares, delicious home cooked meals, crafty handmade goods, and life as a newlywed in Virginia. Most days you’ll find me playing in my studio or outside on the porch with my husband, and our pup Nellie. There is nothing we love to do more than be outside together.

I also love to use seemingly random holidays as an excuse to invite friends onto our porch to dine alfresco for an evening. On Bastille Day this year we threw a grandiose country garden party full of locally sourced food and drink for our friends.

During this first year of marriage Ryan, and I have had many conversations about budgets, and spending money, and to say we are on a tight budget would be an understatement. BUT we are also huge supporters of organic, fair-trade, and locally sourced produce. So, we made a commitment to continue buying our groceries in what we feel is an ethical way, while sticking to a pretty tight grocery budget. What does that have to do with this party you might ask?

Well, Ryan and I decided to buy as much as we could locally with a budget of $70 to feed 20 people, including wine (our guests brought the beer). And yes we succeeded, spending less than our targeted budget for the whole shebang. Here are my secrets to sustainable party success:

Reduce Waste with Cloth Napkins
Instead of using disposable napkins we buy linen dish rags to use in our personal life, so we just set out a giant stack of these beauties for our guests, saving us a lot of paper waste.

Cut the Garbage, Use Your Own Silverware
In the same vein instead of using plastic silverware I find that using our everyday silverware is easy to clean-up, and helps elevate the party into something more intimate, and nice.

Use What You’ve Already Got
When thinking about decor I definitely take the stance that the food comes first, atmosphere second. Because we don’t have enough porch chairs that match for big groups I decided to embrace the mix-matched atmosphere and incorporated lots of color through vintage linens, wild flowers, and brightly colored accents, like the Solar Tealight. It magically all came together in the end and I think embracing the resources you do have is the best way to go.

Homemade Tastes Better Anyway
Another great savings for us was Ryan’s contribution of the homemade bread, bbq sauce, and hummus. Homemade bread costs pennies to make and it’s always a crowd pleaser. The hardest part is waiting for the dough to rise.

Locally Source Your Produce in Bulk
We joined a CSA back in February and with our allotted $10 share that week we were able to pick-up all of the produce we needed for the party, with the exception of a couple of cherry tomatoes, the watermelon, and the peaches. The additional produce we needed to complete the meal came from our local farmer’s market.

Serve Foods that Grow with Your Guests
Foods that seem to grow as the number of people do, like couscous salad, is another great way to feed a lot of people with little monetary waste. Outside of the couscous I only used a small cucumber, about six cherry tomatoes, half a medium sized onion, one red pepper, and a handful of mint and pine nuts for 20 people. Since this is a versatile dish, you can keep adding more ingredients to account for unexpected (or extra hungry) guests. Now that’s economical.

Local Wine Fits the Bill
Local wine can also be surprisingly affordable, and with a lot of great options too. We bought two bottles of Virginia wine for $25. The Rocking Carafe was a great way to show off the wine and encourage people to try some.

Ask for a Contribution
Guests always want to contribute to the get together in one way or another and asking them to bring their favorite summer beverage can save you a lot of pain in trying to pick out something that will please everyone. We are really lucky to have a good friend who home brews some pretty amazing beers. Martin brought two six packs of home brew to share and they were definitely a highlight; all of the guys tried their hand at opening one with the One-Handed Bottle Opener.

Think Outside the Box for Fun
For entertainment we played Pictionary against one of our porch walls, using an old high school projector to draw on. It made it a lot easier for a lot of people to play and see no matter where they were standing. We will definitely be doing this again.

Buy in stages for a Better Deal
My last money saving tip, spread out your grocery shopping over a couple of weeks, buying things in stages. I bought the peaches for our dessert a couple of weeks before when a local farmer had a great deal on them, and froze the sliced peaches until I was ready to bake. You have to seek out the deals.

I truly believe you can feed, and entertain people in an affordable, and sustainable way using fresh local ingredients. It’s easy to do, but takes a commitment on your part to seek out the local markets and farms, make things homemade, and out of simple ingredients. Also, remember to sit back and enjoy your company, they’re only there for a little while. I hope the next time you’re planning a party you’ll look around your neighborhood for inspiration first.

big kiss, bekuh
The Uncommon Life

Backyard Party Pinterest Contest

June 22, 2012

Summer is finally here and we can’t wait for backyard barbecues and picnics in the park. In fact, we have been Pinning about it all winter and now want to see your summer inspiration boards!

One lucky winner Pinner will receive an UncommonGoods gift card to furnish their summer party.

Leave the link to your inspirational Backyard Party board in the comments below and/or on the original pin in our Summer Time board and you’ll be entered to win.

We’ll announce the winner on July 6. How much that person wins is up to you. For every 50 entries we see, we’ll add $50 to the grand prize, up to a total of $250. So after you share your board with us, be sure to tell your friends and family to enter too!

Follow us on Pinterest for more updates, and leave a link to your profile in the comments. We follow back!

Good luck and happy pinning. We can’t wait to see your brilliant boards!