The Swedish (Almost) Vegetarian Barbecue

July 31, 2016

The Swedish (Almost) Vegetarian Barbecue


I have been very fortunate to work at international companies, and to meet warm, welcoming, wonderful and interesting people from all over the globe.  They have expanded my understanding of the world and generously shared their cultures and food, sometimes in person, and sometimes digitally.

One of my connections on Facebook is a Swedish engineer who’s been a long-standing client of my previous company, a leader in high-tech process optimization software for the energy industry.  Ben is a great guy and has sent me a Christmas card every year since the first year we met, even after I left the company.  We worked together primarily via our user group meetings – Ben was on the customer steering committee and I was the Marcom person leading the organization of the annual meeting for a few years.  Ben is also a proponent of knowledge management (my primary area of expertise) and we’ve had some great talks about it.

Love Those Food Pictures on Facebook!

Now that we no longer have work ties, our interactions are pretty much about food and family, always via Facebook.  Ben posted this picture last weekend, and of course I asked if I could share it here.  Doesn’t it just look marvelous?  And looking at that photo, don’t you think Ben could be in Southern California or right here in Southeast Texas instead of his native Gothenburg, Sweden?  That’s a Texas-worthy barbecue, for sure.  That grill is chock-full of goodness.  Although it turns out that only one of the items on the grill is actually a meat product.

“Something for everybody” was Ben’s caption for his post in Facebook

Explaining what’s in the picture, Ben said:

“Apart from the sausage-like kebabs with ground beef and carrots, it is all vegetarian (hanging offence in Texas, I know). Sweet potato, onion, bell peppar, zucccini, cabbage and mushroom protein beef.”

Mushroom protein beef????  What in the heck is that, Ben?  Educate me, if you will.

Educate me, he did.  Ben sent me a note today:

“Here are some pictures of last weekend’s (almost) vegetarian barbecue. Lina, Oscar’s girlfriend, introduced Quorn, a fungus-based protein product.  Tastes, actually, like chicken.  It’s really good with a marinade with soy sauce and chili.”


“We always have a lot of vegetables.  Here you cn make out sweet potato, fennel, squash and tomato.”


I want to go to Sweden and have barbecue at Ben’s house!  Thank you, Ben, for sending these wonderful photos and letting me share them in my blog.  And thanks to the photographer, too, whose plate is empty, at least until she finishes with the photos.

Quorn is…What, Exactly?

But what’s this about “Quorn”?  I cook quite a bit, read my food magazines and watch the TV Food Network, but I’ve never heard of this meat substitute.  It sounds kind of like tofu, but apparently it is a different thing altogether.  I learned from the official Quorn web site that it is high in fiber, low in fat, and is primarily Mycoprotein, which is made through through a fermentation process applied to fusarium venenatum (in the fungi family, like truffles and morels and mushrooms).  Whew, that’s complicated!  But I’ll take Ben’s word for it and give it a try.  Something that is really appealing about it (in addition to the low-fat / high-fiber thing) is that it is much more sustainable than animal farming.

Look for some Quorn recipes soon!  I promise to be honest and let you know if I just can’t make it work.

More of My Culinary Connections

And if you’re interested in reading about a few other interesting international people I met through work and who shared their food culture and stories with me, click the posts below:

2 thoughts on “The Swedish (Almost) Vegetarian Barbecue”

  • Quorn is very common here – it’s in all UK supermarkets and comes in various guises: “chicken” pieces, minced “beef”, burgers etc. In this household with one veggie and one meat eater it’s popular with us both. Barbecue looks yum!

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