Photo: Todd Lawson
words :: Julia Murray
For millennia, fire meant life for humans. And there’s still something intrinsically comforting about collaborating with your buddies and coming together to grill on the open flame. To bask in the glowing heat, smokey flavours, rich aromas, and good company.
The barbecue is entrenched in our culture, but what if I told you it’s possible to experience all those tasty flavours and feel-good vibes, minus the meat?
Hold on! I’m not talking about the cardboard veggie dog you tried a few years ago. The future is here and tasty, satisfying plant-based meat alternatives are spreading across grocery store shelves like fast-growing vines as more and more people hop on the plant-meat bandwagon for various reasons (see sidebar).
So when you fire up the grill this summer don’t be afraid to check out these three ways to satisfy that meaty craving, still feel like you’re a part of the party, and be a pro at vegan grilling.
Replace that burger, sausage or fish and explore some of these indulgent vegan brand options:
Sausage options: If you’re looking for the closest to meat, get on the Beyond Meat train. Field Roast and Gusta Foods make some flavourful wieners too.
Burger options: Miss that meatiness? Not anymore! Impossible patties and Beyond patties taste, sizzle and smell like the real thing. If you’re looking for whole food options, try Sol Burger or straight up marinated tempeh burgers—even the Amy’s quarter pounder and Sweet Earth patties are dang tasty.
Ribs ‘n’ things: People are getting creative, especially Plant Base Food, Gardein and The Very Good Butchers (join their monthly meat club and get a variety box).
Create your own meatiness:
- Google “grillable veggie burgers” and get cookin’ (or check hookedonplants.ca for some recipes)
- Whip up Avant Garde Vegan’s black bean sausages
- Spear some tofu and veggie kabobs (onion, zucchini, pepper, and marinated tofu chunks)
Simplify and let the ‘meatier’ plants have a shot at glory:
- Portobello mushroom patties, cauliflower steaks, eggplant bacon—just to name a few
- Try this easy use-on-everything marinade: dijon, maple syrup, tamari (or soy sauce), smoked paprika, salt + pepper
- More favourites: corn, romaine, pineapple, peaches, peppers, zucchini, potatoes, even halved avocados and heads of romaine all make delectable barbecue treats.
Cheers to the days of barbecues and sunshine—the days when plant-based alternatives meant a compromise on taste and texture are over! Get creative this summer, have fun, and if you need a complete guide to help you eat more plants, check out the new app at 8020plants.com
Four reasons to skip the meat
Mother earth: the single most powerful action we can do for our environment is to choose plants. The United Nations says we have 12 years to limit climate change catastrophe, and the single biggest way to reduce impact is to eat less meat. Plants offer all the nutrients we need without expending the vast amount of resources it takes to grow, slaughter and consume animals.
Health: The World Health Organization recently announced that processed meat and red meat is a carcinogen. Even the new Canada Food Guide is promoting more plant proteins over meat and dairy consumption. Dr. Gregor of NutritionFacts.org recommends a plant-based diet as ideal for longevity, cardiovascular health, disease prevention and a healthy microbiome
Animals: Around 56 billion land animals are killed for food every year (plus 37-120 billion fish, and over 100,000 tons of by-catch). That is a lot of carnage, death and suffering just to get nutrients that can all be found in plants. Choosing to eat more plants will literally save lives, and save our oceans.
Your mom!: She’s right—you need to try more new things. With creative veggie alternatives spilling out of the grocery stores there’s a replacement for any nostalgic home–cooked food you’ll ever crave. Be open to the possibilities and your taste buds will be pleasantly surprised.