Having a barbeque party is one of the most enjoyable things that you can do at home during the summer months. While most people prefer to grill meat or fish, a new research shows that more people will be choosing vegan barbeque over steak, pork, chicken, or sausages at cookouts. According to Mintel's global food analyst, Melanie Zanoza Bartelme, although barbeque selection has become more diverse in recent years, "Vegan barbeque might not have been a consideration for a meat eater--until now." Consuming meat alternatives used to be a challenge for non-vegans since most people struggled with the flavor and texture of plant-based proteins. But now that meat replacements got unbelievably tastier and more nutritious, consumers are more than willing to try vegan proteins - either for the sake of their health or to satisfy their curiosity.

Zanoza Bartelme adds that due to an increase in vegan products on the market, vegan alternatives, such as Indian jackfruit, is slated to become a favorite in meatless barbeques this summer. If you're thinking about having a vegan barbeque with your friends and loved ones, consider these ideas for balanced vegan meals and to have a fun and flavorful cookout.

Offer Several Vegan Alternatives to Meat

Most people think that a vegan cookout means eating nothing but grilled tofu slathered in barbeque sauce. While tofu is an excellent alternative to meat, there are other things that you and your guests can have that would taste amazing hot off the grill. For a simple option, you can grill whole portobello mushrooms and use them as an alternative to hamburger patties. You can also make patties from soya mince, grated veggies, and a bit of vegan flour. In vegan groceries, you can get sausages made from seitan, or cutlets made from oat flakes mixed with vegetable broth and grated carrots. You can also use shredded jackfruit or oyster mushrooms to make a vegan version of pulled pork sandwiches. 

Sausages or tofu cubes can be skewered and basted with a homemade sauce. Cutlets can be eaten with side dishes, while grilled patties should be served with buns and veggies so everyone can make their own burgers. When grilling plant-based meats, keep in mind that they tend to cook faster than regular meat, so thick vegan patties should be grilled no more than 3 minutes on each side. Check for doneness to make sure that there aren't any raw bits inside the patties. You should also make sure to clean your grill before using to avoid food contamination and to have a safe barbeque party. 

Provide Vegan Side Dishes

No barbeque is complete without a selection of side dishes. To offset the smokiness of your grilled dishes, make sure to provide fresh sides, like a salad made from corn, jalapeno peppers, sliced tomatoes, red onions, and lime juice. To make the most of your grill, consider serving a selection of grilled veggies. Just a few minutes on the grill will bring out the natural sweetness of vegetables like bell peppers, asparagus, white onions, and corn. You can also make vegan potato salad, pasta salads, or some brown rice so everyone can have a balanced and filling vegan meal. 

Create a Variety of Sauces

There are tons of vegan barbeque sauces in the market, so you can take your pick and get a few bottles for your cookout. However, you can also make your own sauce using ingredients like ketchup or tomato sauce, apple cider vinegar, and molasses or some brown sugar. For a smoky and spicy kick, add smoked paprika or vegan liquid smoke, and fresh red peppers or vegan hot sauce.

Consider adding some traditional Asian condiments or dips, such as gochujang, ssamjang, or Japanese teriyaki sauce to your spread so that your guests can have fun trying them out. Don't forget to have some vegan mayonnaise-- it's a must for burgers or sandwiches. To make it, simply use an egg beater to whisk apple cider vinegar, canola oil, and soy milk together until the mixture becomes thick and creamy. Keep it in the fridge until serving time. 

Don't Forget the Drinks

Cold drinks are a must at a barbeque, so serve freshly made lemonade or fruit juices. You can also have some vegan beers and wine for the grownups, or make vegan cocktails, like frozen pomegranate margaritas or classic mai tais. For a sweet vegan treat, try making mango sago, which is a drink/dessert that's perfect for the summer months. Simply boil tapioca for 25 minutes, then set aside. In a blender, blend ripe mango with coconut milk, sugar syrup, and ice. Pour the puree into tall glasses, top with tapioca, and serve. 

Barbeques are a must-have during the hot summer months. Consider these ideas for a fun vegan barbeque that you and your loved ones will enjoy.