I know, I know, it´s been so long since we’ve hung out together! Life at the kettle is so busy I’m having to wake up before my dogs just to get everything done, and this is a first at our house since they’re usually on a morning mission to get us out of bed before a reasonable hour. Between finishing my professional cooking certification course and the new project we have in store for you, there’s been hardly any time left! But of course I couldn’t let you all head into barbecue weekend (for our dear American followers) without some helpful tips and goodies! I can’t thank you enough for your patience and especially to all who emailed me and sent me smoke signals wondering if everything was ok! I promise that very soon, you’ll completely understand why posts haven’t been so frequent, and let me tell you you’re going to LOVE it! Yup! That’s right, all that time spent away went into preparing something just for you!
With the arrival of summer comes days out in the rays, some refreshing pool parties, lots of time spent outside, tomato season (YUM!) and of course, if you live in the US, the quintessential barbecue day(s) that happen on and around 4th of July weekend. If you’ve read our blog before, you know that at my house we’re all about the barbecues in the summer and rarely go a weekend without one. There’s something so special about prepping all your goodies, husking some fresh corn, sitting outside with a cold glass of lemonade or beer, and having the man of the house do the cooking for once! Is that just me?! Seriously! It’s his specialty and also the only thing he can cook other than frozen pizza. I get to water the garden, sit with the doggies, listen to some tunes and make the guacamole while my hubby does the flipping. Whether you’re hosting or attending an all vegan barbecue at your house this weekend, or you’re going to a non-vegan barbecue or 4th of July cook-out or potluck, having some simple ideas of dishes you can cook or take along is a great way of enjoying the festivities even if you’re the only vegan there. I always take some delicious vegan goodies with me when I go to a potluck or barbecue, and I try to make something everyone will love and that might even complement what the host is serving. Everyone can enjoy a delicious coleslaw, some guacamole and chips, a great bean dip or Mexican seven layer dip, and you can make corn on the cob that will knock people’s socks off! Not to mention delicious and super meaty vegan treats!
Here are some of my favorite vegan goodies for barbecue season, whether you’re hosting or attending a fun 4th of July event this weekend or for any yummy barbecue all season long!
– Who doesn’t love guacamole? Take some chips or use it to top your veggie burgers, sausages or even vegan hot dogs! Did you know that in Chile hot dogs are always topped with guac?! One with everything please!
– Bean dip with any leftover beans and some spices.
– A yummy seven layer Mexican dip with beans, vegan sour cream and cheese, fresh tomatoes, jalapeños, guacamole, the works! Don´t forget the chips!
– Make a classic french onion dip with some vegan sour cream, some fresh herbs and lots of dried onion flakes!
– How about some baked potatoes or ‘cheezy’ potato skins, take lots of different toppings and have people assemble their own with tons of goodies.
– Chips and salsa, enough said right?
– Make a coleslaw with purple and green cabbage, some carrots, your favorite eggless mayonnaise, some rockin’ seasonings and turn it fruity by adding some raisins, mango or pineapple!
– There’s a reason watermelon screams summer, we’re supposed to put it on everything! Savory salads with some watermelon chunks, or balls for nicer presentation, are so delicious and refreshing! Same goes for sliced strawberries, especially if combined with beets and some balsamic vinegar.
– Potato salad! Need I say more? It’s a classic barbecue salad for a reason!
– A simple fresh green salad comes to life in the summer by adding some mango and a tangy mustard vinaigrette. Add some pecans or crunchy macadamia nuts for a total treat!
– Do it the simple Spanish way, tomato wedges, fresh parsley finely chopped, crushed garlic, salt, pepper and olive oil, some bread on the side, olé!
– Don´t forget about fruit salads for a refreshing snack or dessert! Especially if you’re having fun poolside. My favorite combo is kiwi, seedles grapes, mango and pineapple.
– Even when going to a non-vegan barbecue there’s no reason why you can’t have your meaty vegan goodies too! Take some veggie sausages, hot dogs, veggie burgers or delicious skewers made with marinated tofu, tempeh or some vegan chick’n strips or cutlets. Want to really impress? Prepare a delicious braised seitan roast and place it on the grill glazing it with barbecue sauce and then slicing it on the spot and placing the slices back on the barbecue for those perfect grill marks. Serve extra barbecue sauce on the side.
– Marinated portobello or shitake mushrooms make for a great meaty option for the grill! Just marinate them before hand in a yummy teriyaki sauce or with some balsamic vinegar and seasonings and let them soak until pliable. Then just pop them on the grill and you’ll eat every last one so take a ton!
– If your 4th of July or summer barbecue is all about the burgers and hot dogs, take some veggie patties and vegan sausages and some awesome toppings for everyone to choose from! My favorites are relish, onions, salsa, crumbled chips, guacamole, tempeh or coconut bacon, grilled onions and mushrooms, vegan cheese, ketchup, mustard and even your favorite barbecue sauce or mayo! Mix it up and turn it tropical with some fresh mango salsa or pineapple slaw.
Veggies shine on the grill
If you ever ask me what is my favorite method of cooking to make vegetables shine, I’ll tell you without a doubt it’s grilling! Here are my favorite grilled veggies you can pop on any grill and that everyone enjoys:
– Corn on the cob, glazed with a bit of chipotle or chilli powder and some maple syrup before placing it on the grill, yum! Served with some non-dairy butter of course!
– Bell peppers
– Tiny onions with a pat of butter and wrapped in foil, they become caramelized and are seriously addicting!
– Marinated eggplant and zucchini
– Mushrooms, either large or placed in skewers.
– Make any refreshing drink more interesting by adding some fizzy water and some watermelon balls, lemon slices, fresh berries or cherries and mint.
– Make a delicious fresh lemonade and blend it with some ice to create a perfect frozen drink. Add watermelon for a natural twist on pink lemonade!
– Make fresh juices or smoothies with coconut water instead of milk.
– Nothing beats a perfect pitcher of iced tea with some lemon. Yes, you can take it to Long Island as long as you’re not driving…
– Spruce up your favorite cocktail by adding some fruit or some citrus rinds and serve them really cold in chilled glasses.
– The sky is the limit with all the yummy vegan cakes, pies, and cookies you can make. I love keeping it light in the summer with a vegan key lime pie, some lemon bars, and of course your favorite vegan ice cream! If you have kids at your celebration this weekend, setting up a vegan banana split station will be the biggest hit! Just remember not to take your ice creams out until the last minute. Buy your favorite coconut, cashew or soy based ice cream in different flavors, some bananas, vegan whipped cream, make your own chocolate sauce or buy a vegan store bought one, or make my favorite combination, a peanut butter-chocolate sauce! Put all the different toppings out on the table including some slivered almonds or chopped peanuts, some cherries, coconut flakes, berries, vegan chocolate chips, chopped macadamia nuts or pecans, or my hubby’s favorite: crumbled oreo cookies! Yup! Oreo cookies are vegan! Beware though, once you set up a banana split station, people will request it every single time!
I could go on and on forever with the myriad of options out there, especially if you include the hundreds of meaty vegan products out there that I didn’t include in this list. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to enjoy your holiday and keep it completely vegan. Barbecues are a time for sharing, keeping it relaxed and informal, so if you’re dining with friends or family who are not vegan, don’t hesitate to bring some goodies with you and share the love! There’s no better activism than delicious vegan food. Happy 4th of July and beginning of summer everybody!