We all know that a meatless 4th of July barbecue will sound crazy to some people. But the truth is, there are plenty of tasty vegan and vegetarian dishes you can enjoy on Independence Day. They include refreshing summer salads, sides, and even staples like burgers for the grill. Plant-based dishes offer something for everyone. With the right menu, no one will walk away from your Fourth of July barbecue feeling like they missed out. These recipes include paleo, keto, and gluten-free options for people with specialized dietary needs beyond simple veganism or vegetarianism.
Vegan sides like sliced fruit are a reliable favorite. Strawberries and blueberries are great choices because they’re refreshing and match the red, white, and blue decor at most 4th of July parties. Sliced kiwi and melon are popular, too. Combining them in a standard fruit salad with mandarin oranges and grapes is always a popular treat at a barbecue. Or, you can take refreshment to the next level by making frozen watermelon skewers. These are a great up-market alternative to popsicles. They also have the advantage of including healthy fiber.
Greens are a tasty, healthy way to fill up a little bit before the main course. They’re also high in water content, which makes them very refreshing during a summertime gathering. Don’t limit yourself to just lettuces, either. Iceberg, in particular, is loaded with water, but short on nutrients. Feel free to include more keto friendly greens like kale and spinach in your salads. Make a tasty vegan salad dressing to really make the flavors of the veggies pop. Remember, dressings that include citrus will help you absorb nutrients like iron.
Potato salad is a favorite at just about every cookout, but many recipes call for mayonnaise, which is decidedly non-vegan. German-style potato salads are generally dressed with cider vinegar and mustard, which makes them a good alternative. If you feel like you really need a creamy texture, there are plenty of ways to get it. Vegenaise, avocados, and cashew-based dressings will help you make something that has a similar mouth-feel to mayonnaise. For example, give this simple, savory vegan potato salad a try. It’s a real treat for the palate.
Corn on the Cob
Throwing some corn on the grill is a classic move at any summer celebration. You’ll find that you don’t need to dress it up with butter to make it taste great. There are plenty of ways to take your corn to the next level at your vegan bash. Mexican elote, or street corn, can be made with vegan alternatives to the traditional queso. Some recipes use avocado, while others rely on vegan sour creams and “cheese” shreds. Jamaican grilled jerk corn is a wonderful and totally vegan take on this cookout classic. It’s both sweet and spicy, a big difference from the standard cookout corn.
Of course, there are always people for whom a party isn’t a cookout without burgers. Pre-frozen meatless patties are available in most stores these days. But there are also hearty home-made options. Lentils, beans and corn are popular bases for veggie burgers. One interesting option is this gluten-free beet burger. It’s an unusual, eye-catching and flavorful option that will surely spark discussion at your barbecue. Best of all, it tastes great, too.
What would your barbecue be without coleslaw? This side is traditional with burgers and hot dogs, even if they are meat-free versions. It’s a great option for anyone at your party who eats raw, too. Vegan coleslaws generally eliminate mayonnaise in favor of plant milk or nut-based dressings. Some other recipes eschew creaminess altogether, and stick to vinegar or citrus juices as dressings. This vegan coleslaw uses lemon juice as a base for the dressing. It also adds pepitas to the mix, which have a nutty taste and contain lots of healthy fats and proteins.
There are plenty of delicious plant-based desserts to choose from, too. Everything from dairy-free fudgesicles to crumbles and cobblers is fair game. One popular choice is a mixed-berry crisp. This option allows you to use a variety of berries. Whatever’s in season in your area — or in your grocer’s freezer — will work great. This is a grain free recipe, which makes it perfect for gluten-free and paleo diets.
What do you think of our list of meatless options for an Independence Day barbecue? We think there’s so much you can do with vegan and vegetarian options these days. Let us know in the comments if we covered all of your summer holiday favorites!