It’s officially summer and 4th of July is right around the corner. That means it’s grilling time. Whether you eat a plant-based diet, have friends that do, or just want to consume lighter fare at your next barbecue, 4th of July’s typical meat-heavy dishes can actually be easy to avoid. Some people may have preconceived ideas that eating vegan is restrictive and that couldn’t be more false.
Satisfy your appetite and chow on some charred veggies, fresh fruit, and alternative burgers. You’ll feel sated, with plenty of room to down a beer (or spiked seltzer) or two. Here are some recommendations for your vegan 4th of July menu that everyone will love.
Sides & Starters:
Usually, guac is vegan (sometimes people sprinkle cheese on top, but it doesn’t need it). Whip up this recipe to nosh on while the grill gets hot. The flavor is amped up with jalapeños and scallions. Dip with your favorite tortilla chips or crunchy sliced veggies. Get our Easy Guacamole recipe.
Pair your entrée with this light side dish to load up on veggies. It’ll taste summery fresh with Italian parsley leaves and stems, and juicy tomatoes. Get our Green Bean and Cherry Tomato Salad recipe.
Who says you can’t add some Israeli flavor to your food on U.S. Independence Day? Prepare the lemon and tahini-flavored couscous first, then add the grilled eggplant and red peppers to the dish. Get our Grilled Eggplant and Red Pepper with Israeli Couscous recipe.
Keep the international theme going and forgo flavoring your corn with butter—instead, try this Japanese-inspired side dish with soy sauce and mirin. Get our Grilled Corn with Soy Sauce and Mirin recipe.
If you like to keep things classic, and especially if you’re grilling some veggie dogs, baked beans are always welcome. These cook themselves in the Crock-Pot—to make them vegan, just omit the bacon and add a dash of liquid smoke. Get our Slow Cooker Baked Beans recipe.
Maybe you’ve tried meat-stuffed veggies, but go ahead and give quinoa-stuffed veggies a go instead. Fill your grilled zucchini with garlic-infused, nutty couscous. Get our Quinoa-Stuffed Grilled Zucchini recipe.
You’ll forget all about meat by cooking up this dense (in a good way) garbanzo bean burger, slathered with whatever condiments you like (vegan mayonnaise is a favorite). Make sure to let the chickpeas soak for a day before making. Get our Falafel Burgers recipe.
Cremini mushrooms and tamari are the secret ingredients to making this meat-free burger work. Eat it with a vegan ciabatta (and top it with homemade vegan cheese) if you’re feelin’ fancy this independence day. Get our Black-Eyed Pea Vegan Burgers recipe.
Easier than a flag cake, but just as festive for the occasion—and vegan too! This tart is made with a press-in gluten-free crust (just medjool dates, raw almonds, buckwheat groats, and ground cardamom pulsed in a food processor) that’s filled with billows of coconut whipped cream and topped with fresh summer berries. Get the Festive Vegan Raspberry Blueberry Tart recipe.
Even easier, and fruit and cookouts are a natural combo. There’s nothing better than some melon after a filling meal—sweet and satisfying, yet super light. The mint and lime will step up your fruit salad game, too. Get our Triple-Melon Fruit Salad recipe.
However much you may love Tofutti Cuties, ignore the vanilla ice cream sandwich this time around, and opt for this classy dessert instead. Elevate your BBQ to gourmet-level and dip your raspberry bars into dairy-free chocolate. Your guests will be impressed. Get our Chocolate-Dipped Raspberry Sorbet Bars recipe.
Top off your summer cookout with this classic American dessert. Use margarine instead of butter to make it vegan–omnivores won’t even be able to tell it’s dairy-free. Get our Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies recipe.
More great vegan recipes await: Check out The Best YouTube Cooking Shows for Vegans.
Header image courtesy of Ray Kachatorian / DigitalVision / Getty Images