The Thought: Have you ever considered the carbon footprint of your cook-off? According to recent research, a typical summer BBQ for four people is responsible for more greenhouse gases than an 80 mile journey. But, good news! You can rectify this by making some simple swaps, ditch the beef burgers and go for something a bit more sustainable.
The Feeling: We’ve put together our top-tips for a planet-friendly BBQ. Plus some delicious and nourishing recipes that will wow any guests and fill you up, whilst doing better for our lovely planet. No compromises on flavour.
Tip 1: Buy meat, fish and vegetables from responsible producers. Eating local is always best, and British farmers are leading the way in sustainable food production.
Tip 2: Avoid pre-packaged food, all of that plastic is – bluntly - not good. Mix your own marinade (recipe below!), and why not make your own burgers (again, recipe below).
Tip 3: Invest in a good BBQ. The disposal ones are made from cheap materials and nearly impossible to recycle (unless you source an eco-grill, which is a bit more expensive). And, when you’re cooking keep the lid on to prevent heat from escaping – this means you won’t need to use as much fuel.
Next up, the food!
- The recipe: Sustainable bread-free veggie burgers
- 250g beetroot, grated weight
- 250g carrot, grated weight
- 100g medium oatmeal
- 3 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 shallot or small onion, finely chopped
- 3 tbsp dill, chopped
- 3 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
- oil for frying and roasting, e.g. sunflower
- 8 Portobello mushrooms
- 400g spinach, any tough stalks trimmed
- salt and pepper
- Mix the beetroot, carrot, oatmeal, eggs, shallot, dill and parsley in a bowl, seasoning with salt and pepper.
- Press together, cover and chill in the fridge for 1 hour. Preheat oven to 180°C/Gas mark 4.
- Divide the mixture into 8 similar sized balls, squeezing them together in your hands, then flatten a little into burger shapes.
- Heat a thin layer of oil in a large frying pan and fry the burgers on each side for 3-4 minutes, until golden.
- Transfer to a non-stick baking tray. Put the mushrooms on a separate non-stick baking tray.
- Drizzle with oil and season. Put both in the oven for 20 minutes.
- When they're ready, melt a knob of butter or margarine in a pan. Add the spinach and stir for a couple of minutes, until wilted. Season.
- Spoon the spinach onto the mushrooms and top with the burgers.
2. The recipe: Tofu vegetable kebabs with peanut sauce
- 1/2 cup smooth, unsalted peanut butter
- 1/2 cup hot water
- 2 tablespoons reduced-sodium tamari, or soy sauce (use gluten-free tamari if you are gluten-sensitive)
- 2 tablespoons mirin (sweet Japanese cooking wine, available in most supermarkets)
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 14 ounces extra-firm tofu, cubed
- 1 red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch chunks
- 1 small zucchini, cut into 1-inch chunks
- 1 medium onion, quartered and cut into chunks
- 8 ounces mushrooms, quartered (or halved if small)
- Soak 10 bamboo skewers in water for 20-30 minutes.
- Combine the first 7 ingredients in a large bowl and stir until the peanut butter is mixed in. Place the cubed tofu in the sauce and marinate for 20 minutes.
- Remove the tofu from the sauce, then thread the tofu and vegetables onto the skewers.
- Start a fire in your grill. When the coals are nice and hot, grill the skewers for 7-10 minutes, turning several times and brushing liberally with the peanut sauce. Drizzle any additional sauce over the skewers just before serving.
3. The recipe: Grilled sweetcorn with chilli butter
- 4 sweetcorn
- 1 tsp sunflower oil
- 50g salted butter, softened
- 1⁄2 x 25g pack coriander, leaves only, finely chopped
- 1 red chilli, finely chopped
- 2 unwaxed limes, zest
- Heat the grill to medium. Brush the corn on the cob with the oil and sprinkle with salt. Grill for 15-20 minutes, turning halfway through. (You could also do this on a barbecue.)
- Meanwhile, in a small bowl, beat together the butter, coriander, chilli and lime zest. Once the corn is cooked, smother it with the chilli butter and serve straight away.
Have your BBQ Outfit Ready: