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 or just want to consume lighter fare at your next barbecue, 4th of July’s typical meat-heavy dishes can 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 two. Here are some recommendations for your menu.

Sides and starters:

Easy Guacamole

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Usually, guac is vegan (sometimes people sprinkle cheese on top). 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 eat plain. Get our Easy Guacamole recipe.

Green Bean and Cherry Tomato Salad

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Pair your entrée with this light side dish to load up on veggies. It’ll taste summery fresh with Italian parsley leaves and stems. Get our Green Bean and Cherry Tomato Salad recipe.

Grilled Eggplant and Red Pepper with Israeli Couscous

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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.

Grilled Corn with Soy Sauce and Mirin

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Forgo flavoring your corn with butter, and instead try this Japanese-inspired side dish with soy sauce and mirin. Get our Grilled Corn with Soy Sauce and Mirin recipe.

Main dishes:

Quinoa-Stuffed Grilled Zucchini

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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.

Falafel Burgers

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You’ll forget all about meat by cooking up this dense, garbanzo bean burger. Make sure to let the chickpeas soak for a day before making. Get our Falafel Burgers recipe.

Black-Eyed Pea Burgers

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Cremini mushrooms and tamari are the secret ingredients to making this meat-free burger work. Eat it with a vegan ciabatta if you’re feelin’ fancy this independence day. Get our Black-Eyed Pea Vegan Burgers recipe.

Dessert:

Triple-Melon Fruit Salad

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Yes, of course fruit is vegan. But fruit and cookouts are a natural combo, and there’s nothing better than some melon after a filling meal. The mint and lime will step up your fruit game, too. Get our Triple-Melon Fruit Salad recipe.

Chocolate-Dipped Raspberry Sorbet Bars

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Ignore the vanilla ice cream sandwich, 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.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

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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.

— Head photo: Blissful Basil.

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