South Africa is a paint palette layered with a swirl of colourful cultures. And fire connects us all. Countless meals have been cooked, stories been told, and cultures united around a crackling braai fire. And it is a warm and familiar place where meat-eaters, vegetarians and vegans alike can come together to celebrate being proudly South African.

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But warm camaraderie aside, we know keeping braai food varied and interesting can be daunting for non-meat-eaters, so we’ve put together a few ideas to ignite your creativity this National Braai Day.

1. Chiaps and Dip

Love chips but don’t love their ‘nutritional’ value?  The answer lies in o’natural’s chiaps!  A raw snack made from chia seeds (hence the name chiaps… see what they did there?) and other healthy ingredients.  You can serve these at your next summer gathering safe in the knowledge you’ve not sacrificed flavour for health; they’re delicious on their own, or when used to scoop up dip.

  • Guacamole, salsa, and pesto are simple to make or buy and taste just delicious with chiaps.

2. Vegetable braai burgers

We all know vegetarian burger patties can be dressed up and enjoyed like their meaty counterparts. But if you feel like something different why not try these ideas:the

  • Patties can easily be replaced with big, brown mushrooms, thick aubergine slices, or both (grill them over hot coals as you would a steak)
  • Enjoy on fluffy buns, or go ‘bunless’
  • Serve with tasty trimmings like relish, guacamole, mayonnaise, tomato, pepper, camembert, toasted sesame seeds, basil, or fresh rocket.

We’re betting they’ll look (and taste!) so good, even the meat eaters will be impressed (not that they need impressing, of course).

3. Braaibroodjies

Practically mandatory at a South African braai, these cheese, tomato, onion and chutney ‘braai-sandwiches’ are always a welcome snack while waiting for the food to cook. And the traditional recipe is very forgiving too:

  • Make them with brown bread, wheat-free bread or sweet potato bread
  • Get fancy and replace the cheddar with Danish feta or blue cheese
  • Skip the cheese entirely for a vegan version and fill them with dairy-free pesto, fried onions, baby spinach, tomato, and chutney

4. Vegetable skewers

Could anything be simpler than cubing a bunch of your favourite vegetables and arranging them colourfully along skewers?  And, for the perfectionists out there. it’s a neat way to control your food; no veggies rolling around in your plate fraternising with the other foods.

  • Spice your skewers up with a generous helping of Clark’s Plum Sauce, or a drizzle of harissa stirred into Greek yoghurt.
  • And remember; soak those wooden sosatie sticks before you spear your food so they don’t burn!

5. Stuffing stuff

Aubergines, peppers, gem squash, butternut; all stuffable – and wrapped in foil; all braai-able.

  • Fill them with things like broccoli, sundried tomatoes, onion, olives, feta, oregano, basmati rice, rosemary, mushrooms, chickpeas… You get the idea.

Pretty much anything goes; it’s all up to your taste buds.

6. Vegetable potjiekos

Ever tried your hand at making a good ol’ South African potjie?  Simply put, you could call it a stew cooked over the fire in a cast iron three-legged pot.  But your combination possibilities of vegetables, herbs and spices are endless, and can be as simple or as advanced as you like.  Use Google for inspiration or try these ideas out from potjie world and let your culinary imagination run free.

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We hope these ideas help take your summer braais to new heights. Now, all that’s left to do is to put Johnny Clegg on, turn the volume right up, and get the fire started. Oh, and to have a very happy Braai Day

For more braai day recipe inspiration why not download Fry’s Plants on Fire Braai Day Recipe Guide. It’s packed with mouthwatering meals to try.