Proving that plant-based dishes are just as delicious, Aine Carlin – AKA food blogger Pea Soup – shares some light, bright recipes for summer grilling
“The Plant Kitchen range makes cooking for non-meat eaters so much more straightforward and delicious!”
“Vegan options at summer barbecues are notoriously thin on the ground. I have spent many a gathering munching on a sad little plate of lacklustre crudités, seen-better-days dips and whatever less-than-exciting carb happens to be on offer. It’s rarely a meal to remember. Thankfully, those days are fading into the distance, mostly due to ranges such as Marks & Spencer’s Plant Kitchen, which help make cooking for non-meat eaters so much more straightforward for hosts who would otherwise be scratching their heads, wondering, ‘What do vegans eat, anyway?’.
“Here are a few ways you can put your own twist on my top picks from the ever-expanding collection of plant-based ingredients and meals in the range. It’s not just for the vegans and veggies in your crew either – I like to think of it as plant-based food for everyone.
Think colourful burger wraps, made with delicious, succulent Plant Kitchen no-beef burgers with sweet tomato and sweetcorn relish and quick pickled cucumbers; chipotle and lime tofu skewers, which are anything but bland thanks to a punchy marinade; and barbecue-glazed Plant Kitchen no-pork sausoyge bites slathered in a glossy sweet and salty sauce and served with a butterbean dip. Any leftover dip works well spread on crostini with sun-blush tomatoes as a fun canapé, too.
To finish, Plant Kitchen mini dessert pots will satisfy guests with a sweet tooth. Plant based or not, I can’t imagine anyone turning down one of these at a barbecue.”
For the relish
340g British santini tomatoes, halved
1 yellow pepper, diced
3 spring onions, sliced
1 sweetcorn cob
1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, minced
100ml cider vinegar
125g caster sugar
2 tsp salt
For the quick pickled baby cucumbers
200g baby cucumbers
Juice of ½ lemon
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
½ tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
Several sprigs of dill
Organic little gem lettuce
Place all the relish ingredients, apart from the sweetcorn, into a pan. Cover, bring to a boil, and simmer vigorously for 10 minutes. Remove the lid and simmer on a medium heat for 30 minutes until it reduces and thickens.
Run a sharp knife down the length of the corn to remove the kernels. Add to the pan and simmer for a further
10 minutes before setting aside to cool. Once cooled, transfer to a clean, sterilised jar. The relish will keep for up to a fortnight. Refrigerate after opening.
Finely slice the baby cucumbers and place in a dish along with the lemon juice, white wine vinegar, sugar and salt. Stir to combine and set aside for 30 minutes. Just before serving, finely chop the dill and stir to coat.
Brush the Plant Kitchen no-beef burgers with a little oil on both sides, then cook on a barbecue (or in a frying pan) over a medium heat for 6 minutes on each side, brushing periodically with the juices in the pan. Cover and set aside until ready to assemble.
Cut four equal sheets of parchment paper, fold in half, and layer three slightly overlapping lettuce leaves in each. Place the cooked burgers on top of the lettuce and cover with two more leaves. Wrap the ends of the parchment paper around the leaves and twist at the bottom to prevent any juices from escaping. You should be left with a generous opening at the top, which you can then fill with sliced avocado, relish and the pickled cucumbers. Place in a deep enamel dish or loaf tin and serve.
Chipotle and lime tofu skewers
“These make a tasty starter, but they also work well stuffed into a toasted pitta and loaded up with a crunchy coleslaw or salad”
For the marinade
2 tsp chipotle paste
Juice of 1 lime
1 tbsp agave syrup
3 tbsp olive oil
For the garlicky yoghurt dip
150ml Made Without Dairy coconut yoghurt
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 tsp salt
Place all the marinade ingredients in a bowl and whisk vigorously to combine. Drain the tofu and pat dry with a kitchen towel. Cut into four equal
rectangles and lightly season with salt. Transfer the tofu pieces to a shallow baking dish and pour over the marinade. Turn the tofu to ensure all sides are covered and set aside for 1-2 hours until most of the marinade has been absorbed.
Place the dip ingredients into a bowl and stir to combine. Season to taste and refrigerate until needed.
Skewer each of the tofu pieces and cook on a barbecue (or in a griddle pan) until marked on each side, lightly brushing with the marinade as you go – this will also prevent sticking.
Once sufficiently charred, remove the skewers from the heat and arrange on a plate or platter alongside the yoghurt dip, drizzling over any remaining marinade before serving.
sausoyge bites with herby
“These bite-sized sausoyges are super moreish. The barbecue sauce also works well with vegetables, tofu or no-beef burgers”
For the barbecue marinade
1 heaped tbsp tomato puree
3 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp treacle
1 tbsp brown sugar or maple syrup
1 tbsp lemon juice
3 tbsp olive oil
Splash of water
For the butterbean dip
1 x 400g tin butterbeans
20g flat-leaf parsley
1 spring onion
2 garlic cloves
Juice of 1 lemon
60ml olive oil
Salt and pepper
Drain and rinse the butterbeans and place in a food processor along with the remaining dip ingredients. Season generously and blitz until smooth. Refrigerate until needed.
Pre-heat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas mark 6. Remove the skins from the Plant Kitchen no-pork sausoyges and chop each into four equal pieces. Roll into rough balls. Transfer to a lined baking sheet, drizzle over a little olive oil and bake for 10 minutes.
Place the marinade ingredients in a bowl and whisk to combine. Pour two-thirds over the baked sausoyge balls, shake to coat, then skewer and finish off on the barbecue for 5-10 minutes.
Lightly brush with any remaining marinade and serve on a large plate or platter alongside the herby dip and glasses of chilled rosé.