It's that time of year for BBQ's and cookouts. Pretty much all of the shin-digs I attend are not vegan, seeing as I only know one other vegan (not counting all my internet friends). This doesn't mean that I don't get to eat. Whether you are vegan, gluten-free, diabetic or raw, here are some tips I have picked up on how to make sure you don't starve at a BBQ.
1. Never assume the host fully understands your diet or even knows about it. If you know the host, try to inquire what the food options will be, that way you know what you have to work with. Maybe the host has a vegan sister, or diabetic friend and therefore thought about these options. You will never know until you ask :)
2. If you are sure there won't be much substantial to eat, bring something for yourself that can easily be made on the grill. This weekend I went to a BBQ at my husband's friends house, and even before my husband had asked him about veg options, I was planning on bringing some Yves Good Dogs to put on the grill. The host was happy to grill up my vegan dogs before the meat was put on the grill. They were super delicious and I was full when I left.
3. Bring a dish that fits your diet that everyone can enjoy! Maybe you love vegan potato salad, or want to share and amazing gluten-free cookie recipe you found. This is an excellent way to share with people how awesome and delicious your diet is and might even spark some friendly conversation and you will get to explain your diet choices in a positive atmosphere. If you want some great vegan recipes, there are countless user-entered recipes on Vegweb.com
At the BBQ I just mentioned, I brought a super yummy vegan Berry Swirl Cheesecake that I created my own recipe for. It came out super delicious and all of the non-vegans loved it! Here is the recipe:
Graham Cracker Crust:
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
5 to 6 Tbsp. melted Earth Balance buttery spread or sticks
(if you want this to have less sugar, omit the sugar in the crust, it will still be delicious!)
1 8oz. tub Vegan Cream Cheese
1 12oz. pkg. Mori-Nu Firm silken tofu
1/3 cup pineapple juice
4 Tbsp. orange juice
1/4 cup of vegan sour cream
1/3 cup arrowroot powder
2/3 cup powdered sugar
1 Tbsp. granulated sugar or agave nectar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. lemon extract
1/4 cup (or more) Smucker's Triple Berry IceCream Topping (or you favorite berry preserves)
Lightly spray a spring-form pan or round cake pan with cooking spray. Mix crumbs and sugars in a bowl with a fork. Mix enough melted Earth Balance in the crumb mixture so that the mixture is still crumblike, but slightly held together. You don't want it to be too dry or too over saturated. Mix until there are no dry crumbs.
Pour the crumb mixture into the bottom of your spring-form or cake pan. Press with your hands until the crust is flat and as even as you can make it. Set aside while you make your cheesecake batter.
Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees. In a blender or food processor combine the cream cheese, tofu and fruit juices until very smooth. Next add in the remaining ingredients, except the berry preserves, and mix in blender until combined and mixture is a smooth consistency. Pour this mixture onto your graham cracker crust and spread until it's evenly distributed throughout the pan. If using preserves instead of the Smucker's topping, you will probably have to heat it in the microwave for a few seconds so the consistency is more like a sauce.
Now use a teaspoon to place small amounts of your berry topping or preserves on top of your cheesecake mixture. You can place them randomly and put as much or as little as you want depending on how much berry flavor you want. Once you have the right amount, take a butter knife and swirl your berry mounds around the cheesecake until it looks something like this:
Bake cheesecake at 350 for 45 minutes. When it's done, the edges will be slightly browned. It should look something like this:Let the cheesecake cool a bit and then put in the fridge to chill overnight or at least 4 hours. I topped mine with some more berry topping and some fresh raspberries. Get creative and top yours with whatever you want!
Here is a pic of a single slice of mine: