May 26, 2012

Plant-Based BBQ - Tips, Tricks & Recipes!

Memorial Day weekend unofficially kicks-off the summer grilling season, right?  Everyone is ready for summer, ready for cook-outs and cornhole (it's a midwest thing).  It doesn't get much better than sunshine, friends, food and a cold one.

But with everyone ready for the artery-clogging, cancer promoting burgers and hot dogs, what's a plant-based rock star to do at these cookouts!?!?

Don't worry, I'm here for you!  You can still maintain a plant-based, whole foods lifestyle while having fun at cookouts this summer - and it's really not as hard as it seems......

Here are my tips for what to do at those Summer BBQs:

  • BYOVB - Bring Your Own Vegan Burger:
    • There are several frozen store-bought vegan burgers available - GardenBurger makes a great Chipotle Black Bean Burger, and Boca has an okay one too (in my opinion).  However be careful because many of the veggie burgers have egg in them - read the label! And while you're at it, notice how many crazy ingredients are in those burgers!  So while they are vegan, yes, are the whole-foods?  No way.  In our area, EarthFare has a great line of veggie burgers with minimal ingredients - and they taste great too!  So while these are all MUCH better options than meat, they are still not ideal.  
    • Same goes for veggie hot dogs and sausages - Smart Dogs are a great option for hot dogs.  In my opinion, they are very similar in flavor and texture to real hot dogs (you know, but without the lips and @**holes).  Tofurky also makes a great Italian sausage that my husband really likes.  Again, the flavor and texture are great.  However, just as with the burgers, the ingredient list is less than desirable.
    • The very BEST option is to bring a homemade veggie burgers!  I usually make a big batch of my favorite veggie burger (you could also make this one), and freeze a bunch of the patties.  That way, I have one ready to go when I need it, and I can control the quality of ingredients.
  • Bring A Hearty Side Dish:
    • This is a great way to share your vegan awesomeness with others!  I say hearty because in case there isn't much else you can eat at the BBQ, you'll want to bring something filling.  Such as a pasta salad, potato salad, etc.  Here is the recipe for my favorite vegan potato salad (I omit most of the oil, and use pickles instead of a cucumber)!
    • Pasta Salad - can't go wrong with that!  Choose your favorite pasta, add in your favorite chopped veggies, a can of beans, some dressing (preferably oil free!), and herbs and seasonings of you choice - BAM!  A hearty "side" dish that could also serve as a main course for a plant-based rockstar. 
    • Baked Beans - Bush's baked beans are vegan and cheap - a great addition to a plant-based BBQ.  However, again, they are not whole-foods (so just a once-in-a-while thing).  
    • Corn on the Cob
    • Fruit Salad - Yummy yummy!
    • Dips, dips, dips!  Avocado White Bean, Queso, Salsa, etc.!
    • Veggies & Hummus
    • Salad (the cliche choice)
    • Veggie Skewers
  • Don't Make It A Big Deal!
    • I really don't like to make it super obvious that I'm eating something different at BBQs - if people ask, fine.  But if they don't, just eat a bunch of sides, your veggie burger, and have a GREAT time!! 
The best part about being plant-based at a BBQ?  That you can take pride in knowing that you're not sacrificing your health just for a party - and you won't be holding your stomach after you eat, feeling like total crap because you stuffed your face with horrible animal products.  You know how I feel after I stuff my face with pasta salad, hummus, fruit and corn?  Freaking awesome.  

There are so many options now - you CAN be healthy at a BBQ!  Here are some photos from the last BBQ we had - Ann made a pasta salad (just using what she had), I made some quick fries (cut some potatoes, seasoned them and baked them), roasted green beans, and veggies burgers with LOTS of toppings!!  




Off to one of a few BBQs this weekend - I will be bringing my Avocado White Bean Dip, and some oil-free hummus with veggies.  Oh and alcohol.  Lots of that.  

Have fun this weekend and be safe - and don't forget to remember those who served us to help make our lives better.  We are so very fortunate to have the ability to make choices in our country - and those choices are courtesy of the brave men and women that serve our country.  

Happy Plant-Based Memorial Day!

Love & Kale,

1 comment:

  1. Do you know of any vegan approved, powdered non dairy creamers I can by in packs to carry with me? That way I could semi-enjoy a cup of coffee on the road, without incurring the wrath of the vegan nazi.