Happy 4th of July!
Today I am going to my first vegan picnic. I have always loved cookouts and lots of people sharing lots of great foods. Being vegan doesn’t mean I can’t still enjoy some of the cookout classics, only in a more healthy and compassionate version.
What to throw on the grill:
- I love cookouts but what I’m not all that thrilled with is most varieties of veggie burgers. For me the taste and texture are both bland. However, Gardein has come up with the absolutely best beefless burger I have ever tried. Only 130 calories, packed with 17g of protein and to make it even better the soy used in not GM (genetically modified). Life is good.
- Portobello mushrooms are another popular non-animal grilling option. However, I don’t toss the mushroom on the grill and call it good. Marinating the mushroom first really adds to the flavor. The Mayo Clinic web site has a great recipe. However, my favorite way to grill a Portobello is to put slices of roasted garlic in between some of the gills (the ribbed underside of the mushroom) then lightly brush both sides of the mushroom with melted Earth Balance before grilling. Yummy.
- What about the hot dog/sausage option? I can’t help you out with this one. I have tried a few varieties of vegan hot dogs and Italian sausage but haven’t liked any so far. Let me know if you have any you really like and I’ll give them a try.
- And don’t forget to check the ingredients in the buns! Some whole wheat versions contain honey.
What about the sides?
- The classic potato salad is still a wonderful picnic dish only I make mine with vegan mayo. Vegan mayo is actually really very good. I was hesitant to try it because I have bad memories of trying fat free mayo. It’s funny but I find that when I’m hesitant to try a new vegan product it is because in the past I had tried a fat free or diet version and just hated it. Why do I think vegan food will taste like fat free? Well yes, it is animal fat free, but I’m getting off subject. One of my favorite potato salad recipes comes from the Happy Healthy Life blog.
- Potato chips, I love chips and guess what? Lay’s Classic and Fritos are vegan. Who knew? Of course for the more ambitious, making your own chips or even kale chips is a wonderful option. And let’s not forget the dip for those chips. Health.gather.com has a great recipe for Spinach dip.
- Baked beans are another of my picnic favorites. The Vegan Thyme blog has a nice recipe that doesn’t require hours in a slow cooker to make.
- I’m bringing a Fourth of July Berry Trifle to the vegan picnic today. This comes from the Vivian Grant blog. Living in Oregon I’m using Hood Strawberries. After trying Hood Strawberries from a local farmer’s market I’m thinking I won’t be getting anymore strawberries from the grocery store.
- Brownies are always a good dessert choice as far as I’m concerned. A good one to try is from GuiltyKitchen.com. I know, I know, not a vegan site. But what I love about this is that not only does this non-vegan cooking site offer a vegan recipe it also lists information on egg substitutes! She also goes on to write:
“Well folks, I’ve done a lot of recipe experimentation and reformulation in my life and have had to do it all over again and again to the same recipe(s). It takes work to create a recipe and be so impressed with it, so enamored with it’s final form, that you are willing to stamp your name on it and call it done. I think I might have hit my peak with this one. This is by far the most decadent, fudgy, dense, chocolate-y brownie I’ve ever made and it contains not one animal product to speak of! Me. The lover of cream and butter and cream and more cream and buttermilk and fluffy light whipped cream. Me! So now I share it with you, dear readers, in the hopes that you pass it along to anyone you know who might be dairy intolerant, is a non-animal consumer or even people like me who are willing to try it.”
It is about time to pack up and get to the cookout. Hope everyone has a great and safe 4th of July filled with lots of yummy vegan food!