Hotdogs and baked beans are so 1776.
Fire up the grill, gather some friends, and serve these even better alternatives to a traditional all-American BBQ. Your backyard is sure to be this year’s block party hot-spot long after the fireworks display fades out.
Chick Pea Veggie Burgers (yields 6 – courtesy of Best Grilling Tips and Recipes)
- 1/2 cup uncooked brown rice
- 1 cup water
- 2 16-oz. can chickpeas (rinsed & drained)
- 1 red bell pepper (seeded & halved)
- 1 red onion (quartered)
- 1/2 cup olives (sliced)
- 6 cloves garlic
- 3/4 cup feta cheese (crumbled)*
- 1 egg (or 2 egg whites)
- 1/4 cup Italian dressing
- 1 tbsp. dried oregano
- 1 tbsp. dried parsley
- 1 tsp. black pepper
- 1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs**
- 6 whole wheat pita pockets
*If your dietary needs exclude dairy, substitute extra-firm tofu soaked overnight in lemon juice.
**If your dietary needs exclude gluten, substitute crushed GF Rice Chex cereal.
- Boil the water in a small pot and add the brown rice, then reduce the heat to medium-low and cover the pot.
- Allow the rice to simmer for about 45 minutes, or until it is tender and the water has absorbed.
- Preheat the grill to 450 degrees (Fahrenheit) and coat a sheet of aluminum foil with cooking spray.
- Once the chickpeas have dried off from being rinsed, transfer them to a mixing bowl and mash with a fork.
- When the chickpea mash becomes thick and pasty, set the mixing bowl aside temporarily.
- Put the pepper, garlic, olives, and red onion into a food processor and pulse until the mixture is finely chopped.
- Strain the excess water out of this veggie mixture, then add to the mashed chickpeas and stir thoroughly.
- Pulse the cooked rice and feta cheese (or tofu) in the food processor, then stir into the chickpea mash.
- In another mixing bowl, whisk together the egg, Italian dressing, oregano, parsley, garlic, and black pepper.
- Add this mixture to the chickpea mash as well, then stir in the bread crumbs until the mash holds its shape.
- With your hands, form 6 patties and place them on the greased sheet of aluminum foil.
- Coat the grill grate with cooking spray, then place the aluminum foil holding the patties on the grill.
- Cover the grill and cook the burgers for about 20 minutes, flipping them once after 10 minutes.
- Place 1 burger inside each pita pocket and serve with any condiments of your choosing (I suggest a dollop of plain Greek yogurt mixed with 1 tsp. olive oil).
(image courtesy of thedailyspud.com)
Chili & Lime Corn-on-the-Cob (yields 6 – courtesy of All Recipes)
- 6 corn-on-the-cob ears (husks removed)
- 3 cups water
- 1/2 cup lime juice
- 1 tbsp. chili powder
- salt and black pepper (to taste)
- Preheat the grill to medium-high heat and coat the grate with cooking spray.
- Pour the water into a mixing bowl and add the corn, then let them soak for 5-10 minutes.
- In another mixing bowl, combine the lime juice, chili powder, salt, and pepper, then set this mixture aside temporarily.
- Remove the corn from the water, dry them off completely, and place on the heated grill grate.
- Cook the corn cobs for 3-5 minutes on each side, turning periodically and brushing on the chili mixture as you turn them.
(image courtesy of allrecipes.com)
Quinoa, Black Bean & Mango Salad (yields 6 – courtesy of Skinny Taste)
- 1 15-oz. can black beans (rinsed & drained)
- 1 cup cooked quinoa
- 1 cup corn (off the cob)
- 1 red bell pepper (chopped)
- 1 mango (chopped)
- 1/4 cup red onion (diced)
- 1/2 cup cilantro (chopped)
- 1 jalapeno pepper (seeded & diced)
- juice from 1 lemon or lime
- 1 1/2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic (minced)
- 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp. chili powder
- 1/4 tsp. ground turmeric
- In a mixing bowl, combine the quinoa, black beans, mango, corn, pepper, cilantro, onion, and jalapeno.
- In another mixing bowl, whisk together the lemon (or lime) juice, chili powder, turmeric, cumin, garlic, and olive oil.
- Drizzle this mixture over the quinoa salad, then refrigerate until you are ready to serve.
(image courtesy of skinnytaste.com)
Minty Rosewater Lemonade (yields 6 – courtesy of Banglish Kitchen)
- 2 cups water
- 1 bunch mint leaves (chopped)
- 1 1/2 cups Stevia powder or organic honey
- 3 tbsp. lemon juice
- 3 tsp. rosewater*
*You can typically purchase rosewater at Middle Eastern ethnic markets.
- Boil the water in a medium-sized pot, then add the mint leaves and Stevia powder (or honey).
- Continue boiling this mixture, stirring occasionally, until the sweetener has dissolved in the water.
- Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the lemon juice and rosewater, then allow to simmer for 20-30 minutes.
- Remove the lemonade from the heat, pour it into a pitcher, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
- Add some ice cubes and more lemon juice or sweeter to taste, then refrigerate the lemonade for another 15 minutes before serving.
(image courtesy of sunandglory.com)
Berry & Tapioca Parfaits (yields 6 – courtesy of Fat Free Vegan Kitchen)
- 3 cups almond milk (divided)
- 1/3 cup tapioca pearls
- 1 1/2 tsp. cornstarch
- 3 tbsp. agave nectar
- 1/2 vanilla bean (split lengthwise)
- 1 lb. strawberries (washed & stemmed)
- 1 pint blueberries (rinsed & drained)
- Put the tapioca and 2 1/2 cups of almond milk in a heavy saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.
- Turn the heat down to a simmer and continue to cook this mixture for 15-20 minutes, stirring every few minutes.
- In a mixing bowl, combine the cornstarch and 1 tbsp. of the remaining almond milk and set aside temporarily.
- When the tapioca pearls have become translucent, add the remaining almond milk, 1 tbsp. agave nectar, and vanilla bean to the pan.
- Return the heat to a slow boil and continue to cook and stir for another 5 minutes.
- Whisk the cornstarch mixture into the pan and cook for another 5 minutes or until the pudding thickens.
- Remove the pudding from the heat and transfer it to a metal bowl and scrape out the vanilla bean.
- Place the metal bowl in an ice bath and allow the pudding to chill for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Slice the strawberries into quarters and pulse them in a food processor with 2 tbsp. agave nectar, then divide the puree into 6 glasses.
- When the pudding has cooled, divide it equally among the 6 glasses on top of the strawberry puree.
- Refrigerate the glasses for at least 15 minutes before serving, then top with a generous amount of blueberries.
(image courtesy of blog.fatfreevegan.com)