Barbecue Menu for Vegans and Vegetarians

Barbecue is a culture across the globe. It shows the power of food in gathering family and friends. Although meat is mostly barbecued, plant-based barbecue has also gained popularity with the rise of vegan and vegetarian diets. In this article, you’ll find plant-based protein alternatives to grill, sauces, side dishes, desserts, and beverages to create vegan and vegetarian barbecue.

Key takeaways:

Barbecue, often referred to simply as "BBQ," is a culinary technique that involves cooking food, usually meat, over an open flame or on a grill. Accommodating vegans and vegetarians at barbecues offers several benefits for the guests following these dietary choices and the overall event and host.

Barbecues can be social gatherings where many people join and connect. Various foods accommodating different dietary choices can enrich the experience of vegan and vegetarian people joining your barbecue. Also, all guests can experience different ways of creating a barbecue menu. Using other plant-based foods can bring different flavors, textures, and tastes.

What are vegan and vegetarian diets?

Vegan and vegetarian diets consist of plant-based foods. Vegan and different types of vegetarian diets exclude certain animal products.

  • Vegan. Excludes meats and all animal by-products, such as eggs, milk, and honey.
  • Lacto-ovo-vegetarian. Includes dairy and eggs but excludes meat and seafood.
  • Lacto-vegetarian. Includes dairy products but excludes meat, seafood, and eggs.
  • Ovo-vegetarian. Includes eggs but excludes meat, seafood, and dairy.

As seen, there are many foods you can include in your barbecue menu other than meat. Let's create a rich barbecue menu containing plant-based protein alternatives, side dishes, sauces, desserts, and beverages.

Barbecue ideas for vegans and vegetarians

Moving forward, here are some creative ideas to implement in your summer menu if you are yourself vegan/vegetarian or you have people in your surrounding who are.

Plant-based protein alternatives

There are many plant-based protein alternatives for vegans and vegetarians:

  • Tofu. Marinate and cook it with your preferred method, like pan-frying or baking, to enhance flavor.
  • Tempeh. Steam the tempeh to soften it, then marinate and sauté or bake for a tasty and substantial plant-based protein choice.
  • Seitan. Season and cook the seitan using grilling or pan-frying techniques to achieve a meaty texture.
  • Legumes (beans and lentils). Prepare the beans and lentils until tender, then mix them with herbs and spices to serve as a nutritious and flavorful side dish.

Grilled vegetables

There are many ways to use vegetables. An easy recipe is grilling seasoned vegetable skewers.

However, you can do fancier foods than grilled vegetable skewers. You can try stuffing vegetables like bell paper, zucchini, and mushrooms with various ingredients such as beans, lentils, seeds, and herbs.

Utilizing legumes and pulses for grilling

Legumes and pulses are very versatile ingredients.

  • Grilled bean and veggie burgers. Shape and grill the bean and veggie patties for a tasty and satisfying plant-based alternative to traditional burgers.
  • Grilled lentil kebabs. Skewer and grill the lentil kebabs with your favorite veggies to create a flavorful and protein-packed vegan option.
  • Grilled black bean quesadillas. Grill the black bean quesadillas until they are crispy and filled with melted vegan cheese, providing a delicious and handheld treat.

Homemade vegan sausages and kebabs

You can also benefit from vegan versions of traditional barbecue foods. Vegan sausages and kebabs can be great alternatives.

  • Homemade vegan sausages. Prepare and shape the vegan sausage mixture, then grill them until they are nicely browned and packed with flavor.
  • Vegan kebabs. Skewer an assortment of marinated vegetables and plant-based protein like tofu or tempeh, then grill them for a colorful and savory vegan kebab.
  • Grilled vegetable sausage. Grill the vegetable sausages with veggies to achieve a smoky and satisfying addition to your plant-based barbecue spread.


Sauces are necessary to enhance the flavor of barbecued foods. You can add a few different sauces to complement different foods.

  • Barbecue sauce. Brush the tangy and smoky barbecue sauce on your grilled dishes, adding a rich flavor to your vegan barbecue.
  • Creamy avocado dressing. Drizzle the creamy avocado dressing over grilled salads or as a veggie dip, creating a refreshing sauce.
  • Lemon herb sauce. Spoon the zesty lemon herb sauce onto your grilled plant-based proteins, enhancing them with fresh and aromatic flavors.

Sides and salads

Salads are great to enhance your barbecue menu with fresh and nutrient dense foods.

  • Fresh garden salad. Toss together various crisp, raw veggies and greens, creating a refreshing and light side dish for your vegan barbecue.
  • Quinoa salad. Mix cooked quinoa with colorful vegetables and a zesty dressing, making a nutritious and protein-packed salad option for your barbecue spread.
  • Watermelon and arugula salad. Combine juicy watermelon with peppery arugula and a tangy vinaigrette, resulting in a refreshing and flavorful salad to enjoy at your vegan barbecue.


Deserts are an inevitable part of gatherings especially after eating savory foods made in barbecue.

  • Vegan banana bread. Bake a moist and delicious banana bread without animal products, providing a delightful sweet treat.
  • Grilled pineapple sundae. Grill pineapple slices, then serve them with dairy-free ice cream and toppings, creating a mouthwatering vegan sundae.
  • Vegan s'mores. Roast vegan marshmallows and sandwich them between dairy-free chocolate and graham crackers.


You can offer a great variety of beverages for your vegan and vegetarian friends. Beverages are the simplest step because most of them are already vegan/vegetarian.

  • Fruit-infused water. Combine fresh fruits and herbs with water, allowing the flavors to infuse. This results in a refreshing and hydrating drink option.
  • Iced herbal teas. Brew and chill herbal teas, providing a calming and flavorful beverage for cooling.
  • Coconut water coolers. Serve coconut water with a splash of your favorite fruit juice or fresh fruits, creating a naturally sweet and hydrating cooler.
  • Non-alcoholic mojito. Mix lime juice, fresh mint, and a hint of sweetness with soda water, creating a zesty and refreshing mocktail.

While hosting a barbecue, it's a good idea to communicate with your guests about their dietary choices. That way you can create an inclusive menu for everyone to enjoy.

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