Vegetarian BBQ: Best Recipe Ideas For Going Meat-Free

December 7, 2023 - 3 min read 

The great Aussie BBQ is morphing into a meat-free zone and everyone is hot for the green barbecue trend! With the right BBQ accessories (and our best BBQ cleaning products) you can make meatless an easy winner dinner for your vegetarian and vegan friends.

Check out our green BBQ guide to a happily meat-free barbecue. Whether you’re cooking with a gas barbecue or going portable, we can help you deliver the outdoor cook-up of your dreams.

A young woman uses tongs to turn a colourful array of vegetables, cooking on an outdoor barbecue.

How To Host The Perfect Vegetarian BBQ

It all starts with buying the right BBQ for your needs. Ideally, you need a grill plus a solid hotplate to pull off a proper green BBQ. Having two cooking sections means you can separate the food more easily, as cross contamination of meat juices is an issue for many vegetarians. BBQ accessories such as the Weber Q Classic Roasting Pack and Weber Small Grill Basket can also keep the vegetables separate.

Choosing a BBQ with a hood makes it more like an oven. That means you can roast, bake and make pizzas, in addition to the standard grilling. For bigger, more dense vegetables such as pumpkin, potatoes or whole cauliflower, you need the all-round convection-style heat created under a hood to cook them through.

“When you’re buying a BBQ, look for cast iron grills and burners as they won’t chip or rust. The cast iron also heats quickly and evenly, making for more consistent cooking,” says Scott Bazley, The Good Guys Buyer – Seasonal.

“When you’re buying a BBQ, look for cast iron grills and burners, which won’t chip or rust. The cast iron also heats quickly and evenly, making for a consistent cooking experience.”

How To Prepare Your BBQ For A Vegetarian Cook-Up

You’ll want to avoid meat residue when cooking a BBQ feast for vegetarians. A BBQ with easy-clean surfaces will help with this, along with an arsenal of BBQ cleaning products.
“To make sure your BBQ is clean, preheat on high heat for 15 minutes and then use a quality wire brush to brush away the carbonised meat and grease,” says Laura Romeo, from the Weber Grill Academy.

Barbecue accessories such as the Weber Q Classic Grill Pan keep the veg dishes separate on the BBQ and prevent any carnivore cross-contamination.

Shop Barbecues

BeefEater 1200 Series Black Enamel 4 Burner BBQ & Trolley

Weber Family Q 3100N+ LP Midnight Black

BeefEater 1600 Series Dark 5 Burner Built In BBQ

product image of the BeefEater 1200 Series Black Enamel 4 Burner BBQ & Trolley w/ Side Burner, Cast Iron Burners & Grills

What To Serve Vegetarians At A BBQ

There are many shades of green in vegetarianism. Some vegetarians might be OK with meat being cooked on or near the same hotplate, while for others it can be a very hard NO.

Some eat eggs and dairy (lacto-ovo vegetarians), and others may not even want to have a meal with guests eating animal products. To avoid menu mishaps, check guest preferences ahead of time.
Are you planning to serve a meat alternative, such as plant-based burgers or sausages? “Most plant-based meats are best warmed the whole way through and with light grill marks, so it’s best to cook them over a medium-high heat rather than high heat,” suggests Weber Grill Master, Laura Romeo. “For patties, lightly oil the outside as they don’t contain much fat.”

Close-up of vegetable and tofu skewers being grilled on an outdoor barbecue.

Best Vegetarian BBQ Recipe Ideas

Quality olive oil, loads of spices and bunches of fresh and dried herbs are the real heroes of a great green BBQ.

Skewer eggplant chunks drizzled with honey and za’atar spices, and serve on warmed flatbreads for a Middle Eastern feast. Stuff mushrooms with a cheese, garlic and fresh rosemary mix. Grill carrots brushed with ground cumin, lemon juice and maple syrup.

Don’t forget, what you put on the BBQ doesn’t have to be the main attraction. You can add barbecued veg to salads or serve them as side dishes while you bake a vegetarian lasagne or moussaka in the oven.

Want the BBQ flavour? Chargrill olives sprinkled with thyme, then bake them into a bread maker loaf. Or grill strips of zucchini and add them to your waffle maker mix.

Grilled Cauliflower ‘Steaks’

These ‘steaks’ are perfect for vegetarians. If cooking for vegans, simply omit the yoghurt. Recipe by Laura Romeo of the Weber Grill Academy

Cauliflower sliced and grilled covered with nuts, green mint and currants with a dollop of yoghurt on a black plate.

Serves: 3

Prep time: 10 minutes

BBQ time: 30 minutes

  • 1 cauliflower head
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ cup raw almonds
  • ¼ cup currants
  • ½ cup fresh mint leaves
  • ½ cup Greek or plain yoghurt (optional)

Turmeric and chilli seasoning:

  • 1½ teaspoons sea salt
  • 1½ teaspoons turmeric powder
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cumin seeds
  • ¾ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon dried chilli flakes
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Tahini dressing:

  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons tahini
  • 2 teaspoons honey or maple syrup
  • ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1.      Combine the seasoning ingredients in a small bowl. Sit the cauliflower on a bench, stalk side up. Cut three steaks from the cauliflower, approximately 1cm thick (you’ll need a section of the stalk to keep the steaks together). Reserve the leftover florets for another use. Brush both sides of the steaks with 1 ½ tablespoons of olive oil and season all over with the seasoning.

2.      To make the dressing, whisk all the tahini dressing ingredients together in a small bowl or jar.

3.      Prepare the barbecue for direct cooking over medium heat with a perforated grill pan or Weber Ware frying pan. Once the barbecue has preheated, add the almonds to the pan and toast for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the barbecue once toasted.

4.      While the almonds are toasting, place the cauliflower steaks on the barbecue and cook over direct medium heat for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, using a metal spatula, flip and continue to cook for a further 10 minutes. If the cauli steaks are not yet tender, brush them with the remaining 1 ½ tablespoons of olive oil, flip and cook for a further 4 minutes. Brush one last time with the oil, flip and cook for a final 4 minutes, or until tender.

5.      Roughly chop the almonds. Serve the cauliflower steaks with the chopped toasted almonds, currants, mint leaves, yoghurt and tahini dressing.


Make your next meat-free BBQ a success with this handy guide. See us in-store or online for expert advice, Pay Less prices and the best range of BBQs from Weber and BeefEater.

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