Meat isn't a necessary component of alfresco entertaining; one can easily host a complete vegetarian barbecue, and I've got the perfect menu to prove it! This feast takes its inspiration from the simple but scrumptious cooking found in the countries near the Mediterranean sea. To ensure that you spend as little time as possible in a hot kitchen, most of the dishes can be assembled in advance and are cooked on the grill. If you're in need of a laid-back vegetarian menu for an upcoming party, read on for inspiration.
Red Pepper Hummus
The main ingredients in this spicy red pepper hummus  are from cans, so with the help of a food processor, it comes together super quickly. It can be made three to four days before you plan on hosting the party. Keep in an airtight container in the fridge; before serving, stir well and drizzle with olive oil.
You can't have hummus without pita chips! Pick up this crunchy accompaniment at the store, or make your own chips  at home. All you need are pita bread, olive oil, salt, and pepper. The chips will keep for several days at room temperature.
Watermelon, Feta, Olive Skewers
Alongside the hummus and pita chips, offer guests these fun-to-eat skewers . The watermelon can be cubed a day in advance, but assemble the skewers just before serving. Or set out the ingredients and have guests make their own skewers!
Garden and Tonic
Pour a modern twist on the gin and tonic: the garden and tonic . This recipe is easy to batch, so make a large pitcher of it an hour before the party. Place it near a bucket of ice and glasses, and let friends serve themselves as they arrive.
Grilled Vegetables and Halloumi
When you sit down to the table, offer large platters of grilled vegetables and halloumi  cheese. The recipe calls for eggplant and zucchini, but use it as a guide and choose your favorite vegetables. Tomatoes, mushrooms, and onions would be equally delicious with the halloumi.
The veggies and cheese will taste absolutely divine on a bed of quick-cooking couscous . For a bright flavor and a little heft, the couscous is tossed with lemon juice, arugula, and scallions. However, feel free to substitute in other ingredients like spinach, mint, basil, or chives.
Don't serve regular old bread with this menu, instead opt for homemade grilled flatbread . The filled dough can be made 48 hours before you plan on grilling them. Have your friends help you toss them on the barbecue just before you plate dinner.
This North African spice paste  is a mixture of two types of dried chiles and four kinds of spices. It keeps for three weeks, but if you don't feel like making your own, definitely pick up some harissa from the local market to serve with the veggies, couscous, and flatbread. It will add a much-needed kick to the menu!
Fig season is short and fleeting, so make use of them the second they arrive at the grocer. This fig tart  with orange flower water custard is the perfect finish to a meal.