As we all know, a South African braai is usually a very meaty affair. A main of ribs or steak is accompanied by a side of lamb chops, followed by a second helping of that all too important boerie roll. Potato salad and a green salad make an appearance for good measure. Despite their versatility, vegetables are too often a second thought at a braai. However, if we move beyond cos lettuce, we can create mouth watering dishes that can actually steal the show in terms of both taste and appearance. The Flying Pan, a food business that specialises in creating and delivering delicious dinners, shares two of their favourite vegetable dishes for the braai.
Stuffed Brown Mushrooms
One of our favourite veggie dishes for the grill (and the most simple too) is stuffed mushrooms. The plumpness, substance and juiciness of this veggie dish will convert even the most stubborn meat eater.
250 g brown mushrooms
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
200g basil, finely chopped
100g roasted macadamia nuts, coarsely chopped
salt and pepper to taste
Remove stems from mushrooms
Combine all the ingredients in a mixing bowl, chop the mushroom stems and throw them in too
Generously stuff mushrooms and wrap in tin foil, shiny side in
Cook over a medium fire for approximately 15 minutes
These wrapped, stuffed mushrooms can come straight off the fire an onto your plate. If you must, you can add 100g bacon, chopped and fried till crispy, to the stuffing mixture.
Believe it or not, a veggie patty can actually have more flavour than the favoured beef burger. The trick is to make the veg patties at home, which enables you to use fresh ingredients that are bursting with flavour.
200g roasted butternut
1 tin chickpeas
1 small red onion
1/4 cup bread crumbs
20g fresh coriander, finely chopped
salt and pepper to season
Combine in food processer 'till semi smooth
portion out 120g patties
dust with bread crumbs
shallow fry in olive oil for 2 minutes a side
If you have a skilled braai master at hand, who doesn't mind sharing the grill with vegetables, the veggie burgers can be done on the grill. Just note that the grill has to be well oiled.
Apart from considering the delicious flavour of our meals, we also need to be aware of the environmental impact of the food we eat. The amount of energy required to farm and process meat far exceeds that for farming crops, not to mention the expanse of land required for grazing, as well as the resultant methane gas that is produced. This doesn't mean excluding all meat from your diet, but as a start. the environment and your health would definitely benefit from swopping some of your meat dishes for a vegetable alternative, or even practicing 'No Meat Mondays'. Let us know what vegetable you will be throwing on the grill this Heritage Day.