Thanks to Home Herb and Garden CEO Patrick OBrien
Vegetables are superb when cooked on BBQ. Usually vegetables are prepared and cooked inside at most BBQ’s, and it is such a shame. Vegetables are quick and easy, and can make a great meal when served alone, or with fish or meat.
For root vegetables such as potatoes and carrots, slice about ½ thick and parboil (partly cook). Then they just go on the barbie to brown and finish off. Softer root vegetables like sweet potato and pumpkin can be cooked wholly on the grill plate.
Don’t forget the old trick of wrapping them in whole in alfoil, with a nob of herbed butter, and baking them on the grill.
Vegetable kebabs (or shazliks) are easy to do, and if you use rosemary twigs for sticks, they will take up some of the rosemary flavors! Just soak the sticks in water for 1/2 an hour first.
Kebabs or shazliks are probably the easiest and most colorful ways to do vegetables. For vegetarians, you can put button mushrooms, capsicum pieces, sliced zucchini (courgette), a clove of garlic, onion wedges, piece of marinated tofu, (or tempeh) pineapple, precooked small potatoes, or eggplant. Serve with savory rice, and they are magic! Incidentally tempeh is a very good source of vitamin B12!
With so many people becoming vegetarian or vegan nowadays, it pays to have a separate BBQ plate for vegetables alone. I have lots of visitors, and many of them are vegetarian. I have three plates on my BBQ, two for meat dishes, and one kept especially for delicious vegan and vegetarian meals. No vegetarian would like to have their food cooked on the same plate as the steaks are cooked on!
Also you will need to remember to have extra vegetarian food. You will find that regular meat eaters will be so entranced by the aroma and appearance of vegetarian food, they will want to try some too!
For vegetarians, there are soy sausages available and a bacon-like product too, but in my experience most of the soy snags are dry and unappetising. They can be sliced an inch or so thick and used on vegetable kebabs though. If you have a sausage maker, try experimenting with ‘vegetable’ sausages. Mashed potato or similar, with chunks of leek, celery, red peppers perhaps, or whatever, and lots of herbs. Fill into thin cellulose skins, which are made from vegetables, or, with wet hands, roll into a thick sausage shape and crumb them!
Small pizzas are great too, and they don’t necessarily have to be vegetarian. Brush oil lightly on the pizza base, cook on the grill until the char marks are visible, then slide off onto a tray. Turn, and put your favorite pizza filling on the charred side, then cook the uncharred side until the cheese is melting. They are superb!
Stirfries would have to be the easiest dish to prepare. Just chop up any green leafy Asian or otherwise vegetables, and don’t forget to put the stalks in. Add onion wedges, some red or green capsicum, any handy fresh herbs, some oyster sauce, and some hoi sin to give slight BBQ flavor. Add a vegetable stock cube, dissolved in a little hot water. A teaspoon or two of corn flour mixed with water added to the wok makes a sauce if you fancy it.
If adding thin sliced marinated and cooked meat or chicken, precook the meat. Fry all in the wok to desired tenderness, and serve with rice or noodles.
Some cooks advocate vegetables to be done al dente, or partly cooked. They claim the vegetables are more nutritious like that. I’m not sure I agree with them, anyway I like my vegetables cooked, but it’s all a matter of personal preferences. If you like them half raw, that’s fine, if you like them cooked that’s fine too!
Note from Heather: OK, rice is not a veggie but we didn't want to leave out any part of Patrick's wonderful BBQ expertise!
Rice is great with a barbie, and fried rice is a perfect accompaniment for just about everything. For plain rice, I like brown, because it has nice nutty flavor. For those with a high blood sugar level, as many do have nowadays, use basmati or doongara rice. Microwave is best for rice, using the absorption method, but however you cook it, make sure it’s not overdone and gluggy. If you wish just add some corn kernels and a few peanuts to give it color and a bit more flavor.
For fried rice use white rice. Cook the rice and cool. Lightly fry small pieces of bacon and/or ham. Remove ham, and lightly cook finely chopped onion. You can beat one egg up with some water, lightly fry like a thin omelet, and slice into small slices if you wish. Some cooks add a few green peas too. While frying, add a little grated ginger and garlic. Mix all into rice, add cooked prawn or shrimp tails if you wish, fry in wok, and add chopped green shallots and fried egg just before serving. Ziggle a bit of soy sauce over all, and fold in. Serve! Delicious!
Ps. Ziggle means you tip the soy sauce bottle over the rice and ‘ziggle’ it!
For vegetarian fried rice, you can use white or brown. Instead of ham, bacon, or prawns, fry thin sliced carrot with the chopped onion, and add some nuts or cooked chickpeas. Add chopped capsicum and chopped shallots just before removing from heat.
About Patrick OBrien: Patrick is a retired Master Butcher and businessman who also has broad horticultural experience. He has owned a restaurant, commercially grown organic vegetables, and he operated a herb nursery for many years.
To learn more about home herbs, garden, health, and homebiz, please visit: http://www.home-herb-garden.com