THERE IS NOTHING I LOOK FORWARD to more than having friends and family over for dinner in our garden in the summer. We’re lucky to have a little lush oasis in the bustling city–and a little extra effort when setting your summer table goes a long way. Luckily the lovely folks at Michael C. Fina, my favorite place for gorgeous luxury tableware and home decor (and incidentally where my husband and I registered for our wedding) helped us add some extra oomph to our weekend barbecue. Read on for my tips on hosting a crowd-pleasing plant-based barbecue.
Photos by Kerri Brewer
When hosting a big dinner party, I still keep to my food combining rules. This is actually a perfect way to showcase how food-combining and eating alkaline and plant-based is just as delicious and fulfilling, if not more so. One of the biggest rewards I get when entertaining is when people leave our home saying they’re so full and everything was delicious but they don’t feel like they’re in a food coma or stuffed. Why? Because everything was perfectly combined and they’re bodies are not working overtime to digest mis-combined meat and potatoes.
For the ideal summer barbecue menu, first start with a large salad full of leafy greens and raw vegetables so everyone has a super alkaline base of raw enzymes and chlorophyll to digest the heavier foods later on. Recently, I’ve experimented with grilling my veggies for a different salad alternative but make sure to keep the majority of the salad veg raw by throwing in raw cucumbers, radish and lightly grilled romaine. Not only do the raw veg give everyone a blast of alkalinity and hydration but the extra crunch is undeniably satisfying.
When hosting a plant-based barbecue, the key to keeping guests from missing any typical barbecue fare is variety. One of my favorite things to do is find a beautiful crusty sourdough bread, rub it with garlic, oil and fresh herbs like oregano, parsley, dill and cilantro, then grill it. (This works with gluten-free bread as well!) Then choose as many seasonal summer veg as you want to grill: artichokes, summer squash, broccolini, eggplant, fennel, bel peppers, brush with a high-heat oil like avocado or grapeseed, season with a little sea salt and a dash of dried herbs like oregano or ground cumin and throw on the grill. Provide a vegan sauce or aoli like veganaise mixed with grated garlic and lemon and let guests assemble their own grilled veg sandwiches.
Throw in a large summer pasta platter, whether it’s a pesto, puttanesca or my shitake sausage crumble penne mixing raw and cooked veg. I love to mix zucchini noodles with gluten-free spaghetti and doing a raw cherry tomato puttanesca with some crushed pistachios for crunch. Lastly? Of course you favorite bottle of rose. Because what summer dinner party is complete without it. Voila! A plant-based barbecue that will have your guests clamoring for their next invite.
My Plant-Based Barbecue Must-Haves From Michael C. Fina
Simon Pearce Marble Platter & Pasta Bowls
These gorgeous platters from Simon Pearce remind me of tie-dye, which is perfect for my inner hippie.
Q Squared Cambridge Rose and Medina Melamine Dinnerware
With a rambunctious toddler at home, melamine is life. These dishes remind me of old England with a delicate toile pattern but if our son happens to toss a plate to the ground, they’re 100% kid-proof.
Herdmar Vintage Solid Matte Gold Flatware
There is nothing more luxurious than gold flatware. I love the matte finish and I wouldn’t serve anything other than a bowl of pasta. There’s just something super chic about eating a comforting bowl of pasta with a solid gold fork. 😉
Q Squared Provence Blue Flatware
These forks and knives are the perfect durable kind to take on a picnic or host a casual Labor Day barbecue. I love the pop of blue.