A Vegan’s 4th of July BBQ Feast

4th of July brings back great memories of summertime at Possum Kingdom Lake in west Texas.  Summers were spent skiing and hanging at Hell’s Gate.

This year I’ll be going to a friend’s house for a little 4th of July revelry.    Whenever I’m invited anywhere, especially to a BBQ, I like to bring yummy food to share with the group.  Of course this food is vegan, so I can enjoy it as well!

I have some tried and true recipes that I’ll share below, and I’ve also combed through my favorite blogs, some recipe books, Vegetarian Times magazines, and past recipe blog entries.  Below is what I think will make a killer Vegan 4th of July BBQ Feast.

This time of year is great because there are so many great fruits in season.  To jazz this up, try cutting a watermelon into a basket, scooping out the fruit with a melon baller and enjoying nature’s bounty.  The learn how to make a watermelon basket, visit this site or watch this video.

Here was a fruit salad I made a few years ago for my “Belated Birthday BBQ Extravaganza.”

Last week I picked up 10 ears of corn for $1.  One dollar! That was like the steal of the century.  After I grilled my first ear, I commented to the facebook world as my status, “corn on the cob.  I love you.”  YUM!  Grilling corn on the cob is VERY easy.  I leave it in the husk, place it on the grill for 10 minutes each side, peel and enjoy!

Now the folks on Cooks County from America’s Test Test Kitchen on PBS might tell you otherwise (we don’t have cable so while the rest of the world gets to watch HGTV over lunch, I get to watch PBS cooking shows!).  A couple months ago, they showed the perfect grilled corn on the cob.  This involved removing the husks, soaking the corn in a mixture of water and LOTS of sugar, then grilling.  To me, adding sugar to something that is naturally sweet and delicious is just crazy!  Grill in the husks, and enjoy naturally!

The key in my book to good veggie skewers is fresh pineapple!  From there you can add red, yellow, green, or orange bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, red onion and button mushrooms (however, I prefer portobello).   You can see the veggie skewers I made over Memorial Day BBQ here.  Stick them on a skewer and grill for about 5 minutes each side.

To make portobello burgers, first clean the outside of the mushroom with a damp paper towel.  I marinate in EVOO, Balsamic Vinegar, and salt and pepper for about 1 hour (admittedly, I have marinaded for all of 5 minutes before too!).  Your favorite marinade will do though.  Then place them gill side up on a slightly oiled, heated grill.  Grill for 3-5 minutes each side.

The recipe below, blows my way of cooking portobellos on the grill out of the water.  This recipe from Whole Foods looks delicious!.  Since I’m obsessed with pineapple, I can’t wait to make these.

Portobello and Pineapple Teriyaki Veggie Burgers
from WholeFoods.com

Serves 4

This method uses leftover pineapple juice from a can of pineapple to make a simple teriyaki sauce.


4 (5-inch) portobello mushrooms, stemmed
1 (20-ounce) can pineapple rings, juice reserved
3 tablespoons soy sauce or wheat-free tamari
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
1 tablespoon grated ginger
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
Canola oil
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon cornstarch
4 whole wheat hamburger buns, toasted
Green or red leaf lettuce


Using a small spoon, delicately scoop out and discard the dark brown gills from the underside of each mushroom. Wipe mushrooms gently with a moist paper towel to remove any remaining debris then transfer to a wide, shallow baking dish along with the pineapple rings.

Put 3/4 cup of the reserved pineapple juice (save remaining for another use), soy sauce, sugar, garlic, ginger and sesame oil into a small bowl and whisk together to make a marinade. Pour marinade over mushrooms and pineapple, cover and set aside, turning occasionally, for 1 to 2 hours.

Grease grill grates with canola oil and preheat to medium high heat. Meanwhile, drain leftover marinade from mushrooms and pineapple and transfer to a small saucepan; bring to a boil over medium high heat. In a small bowl, stir together water and cornstarch then whisk into marinade and boil until thickened, about 1 minute more; set aside.

Working in batches, grill mushrooms and pineapple, gently flipping once, until hot throughout and tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to buns, top with lettuce and serve with teriyaki sauce on the side, if you like.


Per serving (about 12oz/341g-wt.): 360 calories (80 from fat), 9g total fat, 1g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 990mg sodium, 65g total carbohydrate (6g dietary fiber, 38g sugar), 8g protein

Wendy from “Conrad Vision Quest” shared a great veggie burger recipe with me.  It is definitely worth trying!

* 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
* 1/3 c. red onion, minced (I used yellow onion, still great)
* 1/2 cup mushrooms, chopped
* 1/2 cup oats, ground to coarse texture (I used seasoned bread crumbs)
* 1/2 t. salt
* 2 t. cumin (didn’t have, didn’t use!)
* 1 T. vegan Worcestershire sauce
* 1 1/2 t. minced garlic

Mash the beans in a bowl with a fork until they make a chunky paste. Stir in remaining ingredients. I also used some Mrs. Dash and let all the ingredients sit for a bit while I tended to the carrot fries. Form into patties (I got three big patties out of it) and fry in a greased skillet (I used vegetable oil) and cook over medium heat, about 5 minutes on each side (I flipped 3 times for even doneness, for a total of about 15 minutes). For the last few minutes of cooking time we put some vegan cheese slices on to melt. When finished cooking put on some whole wheat buns with your favorite toppings. We like Vegenaise, lettuce, pickles, ketchup, mustard, and diced onions. So easy and SO yummy.

**Wendy’s Update: We made these burgers again, and this time I had cumin.  They were awesome!  Would have been great topped with some fresh guac and vegan sour cream!

This yummy side dish is perfect for any summertime meal.  I don’t make it with a recipe, so I’ve dug around on the internet to find one similar to share with y’all.

Fresh Basil Corn Salad
Serves 4-6


  • 5 ears corn, shucked
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 3 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, chiffonade


  1. Fill a large bowl with ice water.
  2. Set aside.
  3. Boil the corn in a large pot of salted water for 3-5 minutes, just until it loses its’ starchiness.
  4. Drain corn and prevent further cooking by plunging into the bowl of ice water.
  5. When corn has cooled, cut the kernels off the cob.
  6. Toss the cut corn with the onions, vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper.
  7. Add the fresh basil just before serving.
  8. Serve cold or at room temperature.

Here are some pictures from when I made this.  Even though I didn’t follow a recipe, I used the same ingredients plus I added in cherry tomatoes from my garden.

Since I was trying to cut AND take a picture – not recommended – my cutting skills look sub-par!  I really recommend you check out my friend Jenna Norwood’s vlog all about knife skills.  It totally changed the way I use a knife in the kitchen and has stopped some unnecessary finger cuts!

Since you will already have your grill going, why not try grilled bananas.  This takes me back to the days when I was a teacher at Nature’s Classroom on Lake George, New York.  My students and I would hike up to a lake, build a fire, and make s’mores.  Our lunches came with bananas, so I would take some tin foil, wrap my banana in it, and stick in in the fire.  YUM!

The recipe I’m going to share here is from WholeFoods.com

Serves 4

This crowd-pleasing dessert is easy to assemble both ahead of time or just before cooking. Let kids make their own by choosing toppings that suit their tastes. Substitute you favorite fruit for the strawberries or use honey instead of chocolate chips, if you like.


4 bananas
1/4 cup semisweet chocolate or carob chips
1/2 cup chopped strawberries or peaches
1/3 cup granola or graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup mini marshmallows
1/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)


Preheat grill to medium heat. Hold each banana in your hand, curved side up, and carefully halve it lengthwise through the top of the peel without cutting through the bottom side. Arrange each banana on a piece of foil.

Using your fingers, gently pry open each banana, making a space down the center for the toppings. Arrange chocolate chips, strawberries and granola down the center of each banana then top with marshmallows and walnuts.

Fold foil around each banana, leaving the top open, to form a bowl that will protect it from direct heat. Arrange bananas on grill and cook until banana is tender and marshmallows and chocolate are melted and hot, about 10 minutes. Set aside to let cool slightly before serving.


Per serving (1 banana/about 6oz/174g-wt.): 260 calories (80 from fat), 9g total fat, 2g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 10mg sodium, 47g total carbohydrate (5g dietary fiber, 30g sugar), 4g protein

What are you making for your 4th of July celebration?  If you have a great recipe or resource to share, please do!  I hope you all have a wonderful Independence Day, and be safe!

Be well,



Filed under Holiday, Main Course, Salads, Side Dishes

4 responses to “A Vegan’s 4th of July BBQ Feast

  1. Dan

    Thanks for the great recipes! Even if you’re not a vegan there’s nothing wrong in celebrating the 4th with some healthier foods than the traditional hot dog and hamburger.

    Great pics too!

  2. Jen

    Those grilled bananas look amazing! Mmmm Mmmm.

    Everything looks yummy!

  3. Pingback: My favorite recipes | Eat Well. Live Well. Be Well.

  4. Woah this weblog is fantastic i like reading your posts. Keep up the good paintings! You recognize, lots of individuals are hunting around for this info, you could help them greatly.

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