FADE IN: Memorial Day. The grill is fired up and ready to go. Furniture is cleaned, the ritual trip to Costco made, burgers are stacked, drinks are flowing at the bar and music is bumpin’. Everyone is eating, drinking, dancing and bringing in the summer just as imagined. Standing back you slowly nod with confidence. The inside voice says, “I am. One. Amazing. Host.” As you are about to seal that pat on the back with a sip of the signature cocktail (you brilliantly thought up)- hold it.
Freeze the shot.
What’s that in the corner of the backyard? It looks like a person holding a plate full of nothing but potato salad and cole slaw. You may not have known it, but this kind of person can sneak by you when collecting RSVPs. Oh sure they may look familiar. Like someone you know, but not…
It’s a vegetarian.
Vegetarians. Gasp! Yes they can be anywhere, and they don’t always say something about their dietary needs. How did this happen?! Why weren’t you notified? A party is only successful if everyone is happy. Now what?
Don’t worry. This doesn’t have to be a premonition. Consider it the Ghost of BBQ Future.
Many people are making the transition to eating less meat. It may not seem easy during grilling season but don’t worry, we’ll make sure that every last guest knows who rocks Memorial Day.
1. Grilled vegetables. Now we’re not just talking about onions for burgers. Slice eggplant and drizzle it with olive oil, salt, pepper, oregano and lemon juice grill for six minutes on each side. Grilled tomatoes with basil and Parmesan cheese is another great option. Have sliced and ready, zucchini, peppers, large portobello mushrooms and big chunks of vidalia onions, with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar they make GREAT sandwich fixin’s. Instead of regular mayo make an aioli by mixing mayo and minced garlic. Roasted Eggplant and Tomatillo Dip is a fab addition to any sandwich or tortilla chip!
2. Grilled fruit. This sounds strangely amazing doesn’t it? That’s because it is, my friend it is. Grilling caramelizes the natural sugars in fruit- what a treat. Try apples, peaches, mangoes and pineapples!
3. Salads. Sometimes BBQ salads are more of an afterthought. You get the distinct feeling that lettuce was thrown in a bowl because it seems terrible as adults not to have something green on the table. Chances are it is just lettuce in a bowl with some bottled dressing on the side. Don’t be that guy. You can leave the lettuce for the burgers and make a few hearty salads that are budget friendly, simple to make and delicious. One crowd favorite is Cucumber Tomato Salad. Cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, olive oil, oregano, salt, pepper, lemon juice, balsamic vinegar and voila! If you want extra credit add some fresh mozzarella.
Fresh salsas can make a person who eats veggies very happy. We suggest Mango/Cucumber! Mango, cucumber, cilantro, onion, salt, pepper, lime juice in a food processor and presto chango your tropical of chips with dip is ready.
These tips should ensure that no one goes hungry this weekend! Have fun!