Before you spend precious time prepping vegetable skewers, consider these 3 vegan options at your next BBQ. They pair quite nicely with Crianza Rioja wine too.
There always has to be a vegetarian/vegan option for any kind of get together, including a summer BBQ.
Luckily, it’s not very difficult, and vegan options can even taste just as good as “meat” on the fire. Why not give these 3 dishes a try?
#1 Smoked Shishito Peppers
Shishito peppers are a small, thin skinned and shriveled one bite wonder you hold by the stem to pop in to your mouth just like a cherry.
They can be spicy, but more often than not, they are mild.
This appetizer seems to show up in the summertime in countless farm to table restaurants on the West Coast.
It’s really too simple and so easy to make @ home.
Just the standard toss with olive oil and sea salt. Toss with olive oil and grill for 30 seconds to 1 minute per side. Season with salt.
That little bit of smokiness from the grill improves the flavor so much more.
They also taste really great with some miso sauce and Japanese whisky.
#2 Vegan Sausages
If you’re an omnivore, frankly, the sound of vegan sausages sounds gross.
But these plant based sausages from Field Roast may make you change your mind.
A Blend of European and Asian Heritage
As the label states, these sausages are “a blend of European and Asian heritage”. Unlike many vegan “meat” products that are processed from soybeans, the only unusual product used in this one is Vital wheat gluten.
Wheat gluten is used in Chinese cuisine for dishes such as kao-fu and seitan.
Tastes just like meat
I brought these to a sausage party with an assortment of pork and beef sausages on the grill. Everyone was so surprised at how good they tasted and how much they resembled meat in texture and flavor.
The chorizo flavor is a wee bit spicy so beware. Though once smushed into warmed corn tortillas with a fresh tomato salsa on top, you won’t mind the spicy kick.
#3 BBQ Bellas
What would an outdoor BBQ get together be without some actual BBQ sauce?
Whether homemade or store bought, the sauce seems to match with everything including giant portabella mushrooms.
Hopefully though the BBQ sauce is not overly sweet. Oftentimes sugar can be the first ingredient in bottled BBQ sauces. I usually add a couple dashes of soy sauce to balance out the sugar.
Scrape out the gills and slather on your favorite sauce while it cooks on the grill. It will probably be the juiciest “steak” you’ve ever had.
Wine Pairing: Crianza Rioja
While there are many drinks you could pair with an outdoor BBQ feast, consider a Spanish Rioja wine made from tempranillo grapes.
Rioja Shopping Tips
There are 4 styles of Rioja to look for in the store:
- Joven – Young wine with little to no ageing. It almost tastes like grape juice.
- Crianza – Aged a minimum of 1 year in casks and a few months in the bottle. Very approachable wine that shines with fruit and muted oak flavors.
- Reserva – Aged a minimum of 3 years, with at least 1 year in casks. Shows much more complexity than the Crianza which is also reflected in the price.
- Gran Reserva – Aged a minimum of 2 years in oak casks and 3 years in the bottle. Shows structure, fine tannins, and easily quaffable without food.
Joven Riojas can be a bit hard to find. Crianza Riojas are a bit easier to find and very affordable with most bottles under $15.
Pairs with Vegan Food
Rioja is often recommended with BBQ foods and for good reason. It is very food friendly and classically paired with all the wonderful tapas from Spain.
It matches with the vegetal, smoky notes of the shisito peppers, handles the spice in the chorizo “sausages,” and stands up to the sweetness in the BBQ sauced portabella mushrooms without clashing with the tannins too much.
I tried these pairings with the 2015 Crianza Rioja from Bodegas LAN (provided as a sample) and was quite pleased with how well it danced with different partners.
I also tried the wine with herb roasted chicken, grassfed steak haché, and hot smoked salmon. However, I didn’t like it nearly as much as with the vegetable options.
Why is Crianza Rioja best paired with BBQ?
For my money, Crianza works well for a party since it is more affordably priced.
In addition, if you don’t end up liking it, you can turn it into sangria and not feel guilty about spending so much on a bottle of wine you’re diluting with sugar, fruit, and ice.
- If there are vegan/vegetarians, remember to reserve a portion of the grill for non-meat items only. Separate tongs/utensils would be best practice too.
- Vegetable skewers are always a default grilling item. Shishito peppers, vegan sausages, and BBQ portabella mushrooms can satiate your vegans/vegetarians and even omnivores.
- Rioja pairs well with BBQ food and a BBQ party. There are 4 styles to consider when shopping that vary according to how long they are aged.
- If you don’t end up liking the wine you purchase, make sangria with it because everyone loves sangria!
For more expert tips on pairing Rioja wines, check out these posts from the #winePW writers:
- Lori at Exploring the Wine Glass shares “A Father’s Passion is Passed Down to Daughter and Expressed in Bottle”
- David from Cooking Chat shares “Grilled Paprika Pork Chops with a Rioja”
- Jane at Always Ravenous shares “Grilled Sausage Feast Paired with Rioja Crianza”
- Lauren at The Swirling Dervish shares “Paella and Bodegas LAN: Perfect for Your Summer BBQ“
- Jill at L’Occasion shares “On the Grill with Rioja Wine“
- Jennifer at Vino Travels Italy shares “Oven Roasted Italian Sausage with Rioja Riserva“
- Martin at Enofylz Wine Blog shares “Grilled Garam Masala Lamb Chops paired with Bodega LAN Reserva“
- Linda at My Full Wine Glass shares “Keep your cool with grilled steak salad and Rioja”
- Camilla at Culinary Adventures with Camilla shares “Robatayaki and Rioja Wines, the Perfect Summertime Party”
- Pinny at Chinese Food & Wine Pairings shares “Bodegas LAN Rioja Crianza and Thick-Cut Sirloin Steak on the Grill”
- Wendy at A Day in the Life on the Farm shares “Our Favorite BBQ Ribs with LAN Rioja“
- Gwen at Wine Predator shares “An American Summer BBQ with a Red and a Rose from Rioja”
- Nicole at Somm’s Table shares “Cooking to the Wine: Bodegas LAN Rioja Reserva with Smoky Seared Octopus”
- Jeff at Food Wine Click! shares “Smoking Low & Slow with Rioja Wines”
Other Vegan Recipes
Do you love BBQ? Spread the ♥, and please share!