Food and drink writer Rukmini Iyer has launched a new recipe book that is ready to revolutionise our summer barbecues.
As the weather starts to brighten, many of us will be looking to fire up our barbecues as an easy way to see friends and family outdoors.
Rukmini’s book offers an alternative to the meat feasts we are used to, and she hopes its vegan and vegetarian recipes will encourage barbecue novices to give green dishes a go.
She says: “The nice thing about a barbecue is you’ve got lots of platters of food, things coming off the barbecue at different times.
“If you throw over some herbs, make a nice dressing, toast some nuts – I would describe it as Ottolenghi-style sharing platters, which is easy to make look beautiful.
“It looks generous, because it is.”
Aubergine and goat’s cheese stacks
- 2 large, evenly-sized aubergines
- 2 x 100g rind-on goat’s cheese wheels
- A handful of fresh lemon thyme sprigs
- Olive oil, for brushing
- Sea salt flakes
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Runny honey
- Crusty bread rolls, to serve
- Cut the aubergines into 1cm slices, and the goat’s cheese into very thin rounds. Sandwich each piece of goat’s cheese between two similarly sized slices of aubergine, along with a sprig of thyme. Brush both sides of the aubergine with oil and add a tiny pinch of sea salt flakes and black pepper.
- Once your barbecue is ready, place the aubergine stacks on the grill and cook for 10-15 minutes per side, until the aubergine is cooked through and the cheese has melted. You can flip them every five to six minutes or so and give them a brush with olive oil.
- Transfer to a serving platter, drizzle with honey, scatter over the remaining thyme, and serve with some delicious crusty rolls on the side as an accompaniment.
Crispy gnocchi skewers
- 1 x 500g packet of gnocchi
- 3 mixed peppers, chopped into gnocchi-size pieces (don’t use green peppers)
- 2 tbsp vegan basil pesto
- 3 tbsp olive oil, plus more for brushing
- A pinch of sea salt flakes
- A good amount of freshly ground black peppercorns
- 8-12 skewers, soaked if wooden
For the dressing:
- ½ lemon, juice only
- 4 tbsp vegan basil pesto
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- A pinch of sea salt flakes
- Tip the gnocchi into a bowl of just-boiled water, and leave to blanch for two minutes, then drain and run under cold water to cool.
- Put the gnocchi into a large bowl with the peppers, pesto, olive oil, sea salt flakes and freshly-ground black peppercorns, and mix well to coat. You could refrigerate the gnocchi until you’re ready to barbecue.
- Thread the gnocchi and pepper alternately on to the skewers. Once your barbecue is good and hot, brush one side of the skewers with oil, then lay them over the barbecue at a slight angle (this stops them falling through) and cook for four to five minutes, until the gnocchi are crisp and brown. Brush the tops with oil, then turn over and repeat with the other side.
- Meanwhile, mix the lemon juice, pesto and extra virgin olive oil with sea salt flakes to taste. Once skewers are cooked through, serve with basil dressing alongside.
Recipes from The Green Barbecue: Vegan & Vegetarian Recipes To Cook Outdoors & In by Rukmini Iyer, photography by David Loftus, is published by Square Peg, priced £17.99.