Vegetarians don’t fare well at barbeques. I don’t know a vegetarian who hangs out only with other vegetarians, so inevitably barbeque season for vegetarians doesn’t excite our taste buds as it does our meat-eating companions.
But it doesn’t mean we don’t get to eat anything good. In my view, there isn’t anything better than grilled halloumi on a barbeque. I personally don’t like the cardboard-like vegetarian sausages and burgers that we’re often expected to eat – I find them bland, overly processed and sometimes even fall apart when cooking. Also, there will always be some smart alec carnivore who will look at your crappy-looking meat-substitutes on the non-meat part of the barbeque and make some sort of comment as they dribble on about their chicken wings that have been marinating in such-and-such. However, everyone loves halloumi, so don’t torture yourself with some Linda McCartney-esque sad-looking sausage. Stick to the good stuff – cheesy, salty, squeaky halloumi goodness.
A good, well thought-out barbeque should also have some good salads to accompany it. Couscous salad is an obvious option as it can easily be made on a large scale, keeps well (so can be made the day before), and is cheap. Key to a good couscous salad is to get as much texture and flavour into is as possible. Couscous itself is quite bland so seeds and nuts are good ingredients to add to give it a more interesting consistency.
1 pack of couscous (about 500g)
1 pack of asparagus
1 pack of French beans
3 cloves of garlic
1 bunch of spring onions
1 handful of radishes
1 tsp chilli flakes
1 vegetable stock cube
40g sunflower seeds
30g flaked almonds
3 large carrots
1 pack of feta (crumbled)
1 bunch of coriander (chopped)
Put the couscous directly into the tupperware you want to take to the BBQ, or whatever you want to serve it in. Make sure it’s big enough. Add about 600mls of water along with the stock and chilli flakes, and put a lid on it and leave for about 10 minutes. Once it has expanded, run a fork through it making it light and fluffy.
In a pan, fry the garlic, asparagus and French beans in olive oil before adding it to the couscous.
Peel the carrot and chop it up into small chunks of about ½ cm. Chop the cucumber and radishes into about the same size, and slice the spring onions. Add this, along with all of the remaining ingredients to the couscous making sure it is all mixed thoroughly. If you are making it the day before, don’t add the feta until just before serving.