This Heritage Day, let’s squash the perception that eating off the braai means eating meat. In fact, it’s possible to host a perfectly vegan braai by leaving meat off the table, without compromising on taste or texture.
From vibrant veggies to sizzling skewers, make your plant-based braai one to remember. All you need is a touch of imagination, a sprinkle of good company and a few delicious recipes to whip up tasty, meat-free meals.
Uniting around a fire each year for Braai Day symbolises our shared heritage, and Heritage Day aims to strengthen nation-building and social cohesion. While the ingredients may differ, the one thing that never changes is that when South Africans have something to celebrate, we light fires and prepare amazing feasts.
If you think that your only options are red pepper and onion skewers, a grilled mielie and a baked potato, think again! From dairy-free potato salads and char-grilled cauliflower to cholesterol-free burgers and nuggets, there is something plant-based for everyone. So gather around the braai and see how easy, versatile and delicious vegan food can be.
If this is your first time cooking vegan options on the braai, and you aren’t sure where to begin, here are a few tips to keep in mind:
1. Host it yourself – It’s the perfect opportunity to show friends and family how yummy a meat-free braai can be.
2. Marinate, marinate, marinate! – Just like with meat, it’s the herbs and spices that bring out the delicious flavour everyone knows and loves. Dress up your braai veggies or meat-style favourite in a basting sauce overnight. We are currently loving the new 100% plant-based artisan sausage range from The Fry Family Food Co.
3. Give your braai a good scrub – Scrap off any visible chunks leftover from last time and, when you’re cooking, always braai your veggies on a different part of the grill to the meat (if you’re using any).
4. People love appetizers – Braais can often be a lengthy business and between the drinking and chatting, your guests will probably be hungrier than they realise. Veggies and crackers with hummus, mini mushrooms topped with vegan cheese, falafel balls and fruit are all great to snack on until the main affair is ready.
5. Keep it fresh – Prepare a fresh salad with lots of bright crunchy veggies with raisins, mango or strawberries added in for a hint of sweetness. And don’t forget that delicious dressing!
6. Veganise your side dishes – Go the extra mile by making your sides fully vegan. We love using vegan mayonnaise in our faithful potato salad and there are plenty of tasty, affordable options at local grocery stores.
7. Make sure your bread is vegan – Most breads should be vegan as well, but sometimes an egg wash is used before baking, so make sure to always check the ingredients list before making your purchase.
8. Dessert anyone? And since you’ve 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 Heritage Day.
9. Most importantly, have fun – Your friends and family are more likely to be more open-minded about plant-based options when they see that even without the meat, you can still have an amazing time and eat to your heart’s content.
Whether you’re thinking of going fully meat-free for your heritage braai this year, or just want to lessen the meat and start introducing more veggies, you can download the Fry’s Plants On Fire braai cookbook here for inspiration. It’s free!
So what are you waiting for? Gather your friends and family, light the coals, concoct a punchy marinade, baste, sizzle and unite.