Tips on how to host a successful plant-based braai this festive season

The plant-based diet has seen tremendous growth over the years, as more and more people are starting to opt for a healthier lifestyle and better eating habits.

With the festive season upon us, this can be a stressful time for people who follow a plant-based diet as they might have no idea what to cook or prepare on the braai this holiday season. If you are one of those people or have a family member who is following the diet, here’s what to consider.

Starters

Catherine Phillips of the South African Vegan Society Durban Chapter says that a variety of salads like potato salad, coleslaw, rice salad, pasta salad (use egg-free mayonnaise like Tastee, Crosse & Blackwell Trim, and B-well) are perfect and that you should not add cheese, feta or any meat to salads.

Phillips also suggests making garlic bread with coconut oil and garlic. For the braai, you can find vegetable sausages, patties, or schnitzels at the supermarket. She says they do not take long to cook and you will need to have them in an ovenproof dish or pan on the fire as some people do not like their food touching a meaty grill.

Main Course

You can make your own veggie burgers and grilled vegetables. So, how do you whip up your own burger at home using pantry staples, and what vegetables to use? Food stylist, photographer, and home chef, Kauthar Noor, suggests sweet potatoes, carrots, kidney beans, mushrooms, and peas.

Practically any combination of veggies can come together for a scrumptious burger, according to Noor. She says the great thing about all this is that you can make it your own and add pretty much any vegetables that you enjoy. If you’re after that meaty pink colour that hamburger patties tend to have when you bite into them, Noor recommends using finely grated beetroot.

As for that juicy meaty flavour, she says you can use cooked finely-diced mushrooms, a splash of soy sauce, minced garlic, and tomato paste for that great umami flavour.

Also providing tips for healthy sides and veggies is Pick n Pay dietitian, Juliet Fearnhead, who suggests you pre-boil mealies until just tender then place on the braai until charred on the outside, and sprinkle with chilli flakes.

“Take a bunch of trimmed asparagus, toss with a little olive or canola oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper, and pop on the braai for 2-3 minutes. Asparagus is a nutrient-packed vegetable. Slice brinjals and baby marrows lengthways, brush with a little oil, and cook on the braai,” says Fearnhead.

Dessert

And since you have already got the grill fired up, why not pop on some grilled fruit for dessert. Grilled bananas coated in brown sugar is a local classic, perfect for any braai day.