At this time of year there is hardly a day goes by without the smoky aromas from a neighbourhood BBQ wafting through the air. It reminds us that we are predominantly a nation of meat eaters, because in most instances cooking over hot flames is reserved for meat, with vegetables hardly getting a look in.
There is no denying that grilling meat is very special, the sound of the sizzle, the little puffs of smoke as droplets of fat hit the grill or the mouth-watering smells. These are all part of the experience. But to take your backyard barbie to a whole new level make sure you save some room for the veggies.
And don’t forget that swapping some meat for veggies not only creates a more interesting BBQ it is also a fun way to reach our five serves of veggies per day.
So here’s my favourite five to get you started.
1. The good old onion, either just cut in half or sliced, either way you can’t go wrong, because the dry heat from the grill concentrates the natural sweetness of onions making them an absolute hit.
2. With corn cobs I like to pop these into some boiling water for five minutes, then brush them with a little butter and sprinkle with ground cumin before grilling.
3. Next up is eggplant. Now the best way to prepare these is to slice lengthways into 1 cm thick slices, sprinkle with salt and leave for around 30 minutes. Wash off the salt in cold water and pat dry. This will help to dry the eggplant and also remove any bitterness. Add a splash of olive oil and grill for around 2 minutes either side.
4. Portobello mushrooms, the big flat surface of these makes them a perfect replacement for meat patties.
5. Grilling capsicum not only makes the skin really easy to remove it also dials up the sweetness. Just cut them in quarters, remove stalk and seeds, grill skin side down until the skin blisters, turn over and grill for around 5 minutes on the other side, then enjoy.