What to serve vegan guests at a BBQ

  • Author: Ben
  • Date: May 28, 2022
  • Time to read: 7 min.

When you’re preparing for a barbeque and one or more of the guests are vegan, it makes meal planning a little more challenging. Nonetheless, a great host always rises to the occasion. It is usually best to be direct. Simply asking about what to serve vegan guests at a BBQ is approaching it with an open mind. Guests are bound to appreciate that, and it avoids unintended blunders through a lack of knowledge or preparation. Here are some ideas to get you started.

Veganism is becoming more popular, both as a diet and a lifestyle. If you’re throwing your annual summer BBQ, it is more than likely that you will have a vegan eater amongst them. This doesn’t have to send you into a spin though.

In this article, we will take you through some of our favorite ideas to serve vegan guests at a BBQ as well as other top tips for keeping your vegan dinner guests happy.

The fact that you’re even asking the question, what to serve vegan guests at a BBQ, shows what a caring person you are. If you are interested in finding out more about what it means to be a vegan, check out this article, which will take you through some of the key points. As well as this, it may provide you with some conversation starters with your vegan guests!

What Vegan Products BBQ Well?

Not every vegan ingredient survives the grill intact. Also, some foods lose their flavor or take on an unpleasant additional one when grilled on a BBQ. Because of this, be selective and targeted about what vegan foods will hit the grill and those that won’t.

Also, do bear in mind that meats placed directly on the metal rack will add meaty flavors to them. Therefore, it’s best either to BBQ the vegan ingredients before any meats, or to cook them in a skillet or something similar over the BBQ grill (rather than directly on it).

Your vegan BBQ guest will really appreciate this level of consideration.

This keeps the purity of the vegan ingredients without any animal-related produce, juices, oils, or byproducts getting near the vegan food. This will be a priority for vegans.

Here are a couple of ideas for vegan products that BBQ properly:

Grilled Vegetables

Grill up some sliced eggplant until the skin is blistered. Remove the skin after the eggplant has cooled, and add parsley, garlic, lemon juice, and a splash of extra virgin olive oil to complete this part.

Tomatoes, olives, and zucchini with some rapeseed oil and onions to taste can all go into a griddle pan on the grill. The griddle will add the delightful darker lines across these veggies.

Plate with the eggplant placed diagonally on the plate with the rest of the vegetables filling in the empty gaps.

Grilled vegetable kababs / vegetable skewers should be a staple on any BBQ, let alone a vegan BBQ.

Vegan Burger

No BBQ would be complete without a burger.

Either the vegan burgers can be store-bought or they can be initially produced in a blender.

For the blended version, throw in some chickpeas, celery, shallots to taste, and parsley too. Don’t overdo it with the blending as you want the concoction to be a little rough. Once ready, mix in the flour, polenta, tomato puree, and garam masala. Add any other ingredients, including herbs, as you prefer. Once they’re the right consistency, produce several patties ready to grill.

These can be produced on the day to hit the grill or prepared the evening before and refrigerated overnight before cooking. No longer than that.


Seitan is made from gluten and can be a great meat substitute on a BBQ, it takes on flavors in the same way that meat does. This can be a great option if you are panicking about what to serve vegan guests at a BBQ. Also, it has a great meaty texture so your guests will fell like they have had something substantial.


Like seitan, tofu can be a great option to add to a vegan BBQ. There are 100’s of amazing tofu vegan BBQ recipes out there to pick from. With this, you can make a tofu skewer or tofu steaks.

As with seitan, tofu will take on the flavors that it is marinated in, it will also pick up that lovely smoky flavor from the BBQ.

Other Vegan BBQ Meat Alternatives

Here’s a list of some other vegan BBQ meat alternatives which you may want to consider for your guests.

  • Black Bean Burgers
  • Cauliflower Steaks

Vegan BBQ Side Dishes

Side dishes are more important at a BBQ because they help to avoid plates from looking too spartan.

With vegan guests, it is a little harder to vary things up. But the greater effort is appreciated. The fortunate thing is that while carnivores may shirk at the idea of consuming a vegan burger, a vegan-friendly side dish is another matter entirely. Therefore, the host has greater flexibility here in offering several that will be crowd-pleasers.

Vegan Slaw with an Asian Theme

Comprised of spring onions, bok choy, celeriac, carrots, coriander, and parsley, this Asian-inspired slaw is certain to be a winner.

The dressing is prepared first. Use a couple of tablespoons of white wine vinegar and sunflower oil, plus approximately half a lime to give it a zest bite! Mix and leave to the side or overnight.

On the day of the BBQ, chop up the vegetables into attractive shapes. For instance, the carrots into batons, the spring onions sliced, and the rest chopped. Mix the dressing, a pinch of salt, and the fresh herbs right at the end.

Vegan Couscous Salad from the Med

A couscous salad includes sun-blessed tomatoes, vegan pesto, chickpeas, basil, garlic cloves, a little olive oil, and of course, some couscous.

Follow this vegan recipe if you need a more detailed recipe.

Pasta Salad

Pasta salad is always a great side dish for any BBQ, just make sure you don’t add any cheese or dressings to it that will make it non-vegan, that way all of your guests can share and you’re not singling out your vegan guests.

Potato Salad

Like pasta salad, this is a great side dish for any summer BBQ, and it will serve all of your guests equally, so you do not have to put in any additional effort – just ensure that if you are using mayonnaise on it, that it is vegan, or make it with an oil dressing instead.

Awesome Vegan BBQ Dessert Ideas

Vegan BBQ desserts are easier to figure out, but harder to produce unless you’re an excellent baker.

Vegan Brownies

Brownies can be vegan ensuring they’re free of eggs.

For instance, some store-bought vegan brownies use vegan margarine, almonds, vanilla extract, and flaxseed. Also, be careful as some include coffee granules whereas other recipes for vegan brownies do not.

Cupcakes for Vegans

Cupcakes that will meet a vegan’s approval are best purchased rather than using the oven.

We’d suggest investing your time into preparing the vegan main dishes and leaving the cupcakes and brownies to specialist vegan bakeries.

Check out the article on how to make cake the vegan way.

Fruit Salad

Ok, so maybe not the most exciting of BBQ desserts, but it’s often nice and refreshing after all of the richness of the BBQ foods.

This article on foods to avoid as a vegan, may offer you some assistance, but our top tip if below.

Ask Your Guests! [Planning and Preparation Is Key]

Talking with your vegan guests ahead of time to get their recipe ideas or other suggestions is worthwhile. The consideration for their preferences will be appreciated because not everyone does so. What’s more, is that they have probably done trial and error over the years to perfect their favorite vegan recipes.

If you are really lucky, and your guests are like me, they will probably offer to bring something, this will save you the work. For vegans, knowing that their food has been prepared in a vegan environment is really important.

Also, as vegans, we do like to try and encourage others to eat a vegan diet, or live a vegan lifestyle, so we will probably bring enough food to feed all of your guests!

Another reason that it is good to ask your vegan guests what they may want to eat, is that being vegan doesn’t mean they like all vegetables, fruits, or herbs. See if they have any that they dislike too. This will allow you to avoid using those ingredients in your recipes. Otherwise, it could unintentionally leave them with little to nothing to eat at the BBQ.

Also, for drinks, get creative. A slushie on a hot day made with strawberries or watermelon (or both), blended with crushed ice works great! Otherwise, consider whether they’re the type of vegan who watches their sugar intake? Confirm what soft drinks they prefer if they’ll be driving back and won’t be consuming any alcohol. Then all your bases are covered.

Final Thoughts

Do you feel more comfortable now as to what to serve vegan guests at a BBQ? Hopefully, you do. There is no end of amazing vegan products available now, so don’t worry, you won’t be short of a bean burger or two.   

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