The start of July brings with it our next National Barbecue Week – a time for celebrating the great British barbecue.
We all love a summer barbecue, but year after year of the same traditional foods can become tiresome. Luckily, there are plenty of mouth-watering alternatives to the usual boring burgers and sausages, and you don’t need to be particularly adventurous to give them a try.
So, whether you like meat, or prefer a plant-based diet, read on for seven brilliant burger alternatives to wow your guests this National BBQ Week.
1. Tofu steaks
Tofu steaks are a great burger alternative, and will appeal to vegetarians, vegans, and omnivores alike. This dish can be prepared in many ways, depending on your personal preferences. For meat fanatics, carefully cooked tofu can look and taste similar to pork or chicken.
Extra-firm tofu works particularly well on the barbecue grill. Try marinating it in garlic, ginger, and coconut aminos. For flair, add a sprinkling of red pepper flakes.
If you want to be more extravagant for your guests, grill slabs of extra-firm tofu and create your cuisine selection around tofu banh mi. Lay out a selection of additions for everyone to choose from, such as sliced jalapeños, pickled radishes and carrots, coriander, hoisin sauce, and mayo.
2. Stuffed sausage sliders
These mini pork offerings could be tenuously interpreted as burgers, but they have a twist that makes them absolutely not boring.
To make these sliders, mix spiced pork with none other than cheddar cheese and shredded apple. Once they’re cooked to perfection, add a touch of grilled apple-fennel slaw on the tops. Your lucky guests will talk about this recipe for summers to come.
3. Vegetable fritters
Veggie fritters are a great alternative to burgers and a positive addition to any barbecue. These small, round veggie pancakes can be made from a variety of vegetables. Try potato and broccoli fritters, fried in a pan with a splash of oil.
If you like your fritters slightly less rich, add a tomato salsa topping. Alternatively, add some pizazz with chimichurri or pesto.
4. Salmon noodle parcels
This great barbecue meal takes just 15 minutes to make from scratch. Add ginger and Thai curry paste to make your delicious salmon and noodle parcels stand out from the crowd.
If you’d like to add a crunchy texture to the parcels, consider adding a smattering of crispy fried onions or fried shallots before serving to your guests.
Depending on how spicy you like your barbecue dinners to be, and for a little variety, you can always swap the red curry paste for yellow or green.
5. Pulled “pork” jackfruit sandwiches
Jackfruit has become popular as a meat-free alternative. Its texture is so chewy and compact that it’s convincingly like real pork.
To prepare the dish, simply coat your jackfruit with barbecue sauce and sauté it on a skillet on the barbecue. Then use it along with other fillings to create the sandwich of your choice.
Like many plant alternatives, jackfruit sometimes contains a lot of sodium. You can easily counteract this by using low- and no-sodium sauces in your sandwich.
6. Grilled fruit salad with honey labneh
This barbeque grilled fruit salad makes a fun and tasty summer barbeque dessert. The dish works especially well with honey labneh and a little sweet pistachio dukkah.
The good news is that you can prepare the labneh 24 hours prior to your barbecue. A longer strain time tends to thicken it up nicely. Store the labneh for as long as two days in an airtight container in the fridge. The dukkah, on the other hand, will stay fresh for a few weeks.
In the unlikely event that you have any labneh leftover from your barbecue, you can enjoy it on toast or bagels, blend it into fruit smoothies, or even use on desserts in place of cream.
Leftover dukkah can add a je ne sais quoi to yogurt. If baking’s more your thing, fold it into your cake batter before it goes in the oven.
If you’d like to use labneh in a savoury dish, swap the fruit for honey-roast carrot and chickpea salad.
7. Spatchcock duck with plums and redcurrants
When cooked on a barbecue, the spatchcock duck has a delicious flavour. Grilled plums and redcurrants make this a perfect dish, but if you could experiment with different grilled fruits according to your guests’ tastes.
Remember to prick the duck skin before you start cooking, as this allows the fat to run out as it heats.
To be diligent about cooking, use a digital probe thermometer to take the temperature of the duck – do this from the thickest part. Don’t take it off the barbecue until the thermometer reads at least 65 degrees celsius.