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Hosting a BBQ next weekend--6 meat LOVERS and 2 vegans. Menu help?

Hi all,

So I'm hosting a BBQ/casual dinner party next weekend. So far, it looks like there will be 6-8 meat eaters and 2 vegans attending. Some of the omnivores are into veggies, but a couple of them won't touch something unless it's at least cooked in bacon. So I've got a great mix of guests here.

This is not really a foodie crowd. They are excited for Lipton onion soup mix dip.

Menu so far:

-Tortilla and potato chips with salsa, guacamole, sour cream/onion dip
-Vegan baked beans (Is this a bad idea?? Will omnis not want these?)
-Chopped green salad with veggies
-Roasted potato wedges
-Roasted sweet potato fries
-Corn on the cob
-Asparagus with garlic, lemon, tarragon (family recipe everyone loves)

-Hot dogs/sausages and burgers for the meat eaters (going to set out toppings--all the usual suspects plus caramelized onions, bacon, etc.)
-Pressed roasted veggie sandwiches for the vegans (grilled eggplant, zucchini, yellow squash, bell peppers with homemade pesto and tapenade. Made ahead and pressed in the fridge)

-Lots of fresh seasonal fruit
-Vegan vanilla cupcakes with chocolate ganache (I've made these hundreds of times; no one can tell they're vegan. I even had a middle aged male friend request this for his bday cake)
-Homemade apple hand pies
-Ice cream
-??? Maybe some kind of cookie

I feel like I'm missing something. Pasta salad, or some kind of app. I was trying not to make any mayo salads and instead roasting potato wedges, or maybe doing crash hot potatoes so the vegans can eat them as well. I believe all of my apps/sides are vegan up there aside from the onion dip. I'd love to be able to limit the splitting and labeling of dishes.

Anyone ever had vegan baked beans? Are they terrible? I'm not a bean eater myself, so I've never had the bacon/pork kind either. Just wanted some protein for the vegans.

Any suggestions? Thanks!!!

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  1. Sounds like plenty to me. If you want, add a grain or pasta salad and call it good.
    and no, vegan baked beans are not terrible. I like the addition of molasses, onion, catsup, mustard.

    2 Replies
    1. re: wyogal

      what's a good catsup substitute? Everything you listed I find delicious but that haha

      1. re: JiveHealthNate

        I would think you could add tomato paste?

    2. Oh, Chow.

      I posted this in the Home Cooking thread for a reason. I don't want to know if vegans find vegan food good. I wanted to know if omnivores would be satisfied with these vegan dishes at a BBQ.

      Thanks wyogal for your reply though. I think I'm overthinking things.

      1 Reply
      1. re: nothingswrong

        Thanks, I'm non vegan and think it sounds great! Even my picky, meat-centric husband would enjoy your menu!

      2. I agree with keeping the baked beans on the menu, otherwise you have no vegan protein on your current menu.

        Oh and make sure you have plenty of the vegan grilled sandwiches on hand---more than enough to feed the two vegans on your guest list. It has been my experience at BBQs that many non-veggie folks eat all of the black bean/veggie burgers before I get to them. Plus your sandwiches sound YUMMY.

        Also, if you have time I like the addition of a pasta or other starchy salad. You could always do orzo and make sure to add chickpeas for more veggie protein. Another protein-rich option would be adding a hummus dip to your apps. In fact dipping your roasted spuds in those is sounding kind of delicious to me at the moment. Ahh food!

        Have fun!

        2 Replies
        1. re: pedalfaster

          Thank you!

          The bf told me last night that I "have" to make my Italian pasta salad (rotini, spicy salami, pepperoni, mozzarella, roasted peppers, olives, tomatoes, with parmesan and a tangy vinaigrette with fresh basil). When I told him about the vegan situation, he said he would forfeit the meats and cheese in it, so long as I keep the dressing the same.

          So I guess that will be the app I was missing!

          I will keep the beans. I thought about roasting some Cajun spiced chickpeas too, but I dunno. I'm really not good at this menu planning stuff; everything looks so delicious.

          1. re: nothingswrong

            Have a bowl or platter of dressed meat and cheese on the side for those that like those additions.

        2. I personally could not imagine eating baked beans in the summer, how about chickpea salad with lentils( smitten kitchen) quinoa salad...lots of options in the summer. Vegannaise (vegan mayo) is delicious. Nuts will add lots of protein to any salad.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Gloriaa

            Baked beans are a summer staple here in MN. You'll find them alongside the potato salad, corn on the cob and coleslaw at nearly every BBQ.

            I think your menu looks great, nothingswrong!

            1. re: Gloriaa

              I couldn't imagine NOT eating baked beans in the summer...

              1. re: LaLa

                To each their own. I associate baked beans with winter, I prefer salads that are fresh and refreshing in the summer. This is a great forum to express preferences...

            2. I have no input on the beans as I am not a bean person myself. I agree with the other poster that said baked beans in summer don't sound that great though. I like their suggestion of a chickpea salad. Or any kind of bean salad really. But, what about grilling some portobello mushroom caps? The really big ones so they can be eaten like a burger? The pressed sandwiches sound good to this meat eater too though. Actually, the whole menu sounds great to me, I would eat even the vegan stuff :)

              5 Replies
              1. re: juliejulez

                We eat baked beans all summer long, great accompaniment to grilled foods.

                1. re: juliejulez

                  I thought about Portobellos. TBH, I wasn't sure how the vegans would feel about having their meals grilled next to bloody beef and pig's anuses. We will be somewhat pressed for time getting the food off of the grill (we have a bit of entertainment planned after the BBQ starts) and I have a feeling my boyfriend will just dump it all on at once.

                  I forgot to mention, I was a vegetarian for most of my life and an accidental vegan for much of that time... Things like grill contamination would have put me off of my dinner, though I don't know how everyone stands on such matters.

                  I will definitely look at some other bean recipes. I just know all the omnis attending LOVE baked beans. I can't stand the things, but I know they've been at all of the BBQs I've attended so far this spring/summer.

                  1. re: nothingswrong

                    Ah that's a good point about the "contamination". I didn't think of that :) The sandwiches sound fantastic so I'm sure that'll be plenty.

                    1. re: nothingswrong

                      I'd skip the fusshy sandwiches and grill portobellas (first) and plenty of them. And then make something with pasta/beans/herbs.

                      Unless I know that meat was good quality and well handled I often skip it at barbecues. Barbecues bring out the absolute worst entertaining quality.

                      1. re: JudiAU

                        That's interesting. I'm the same way about meat. I won't touch the stuff unless I'm sure it was handled properly. I've been served grilled chicken that was placed on my dinner plate with the same fork that was used to handle it raw... Things like that put me off chicken in general when I'm at other peoples' houses.

                        I'm nuts about food safety and all my friends know it.

                        I'm going to start grocery shopping tomorrow; I'll check out the cost on portobellos. The guest list keeps growing and I'm not keen on spending too much.