The 4th of July is a day for watching fireworks, grilling, and socializing, while celebrating our country’s history. Oh, who are we kidding? It’s a holiday that’s all about eating! Everyone gets together to eat, cook, bake, and showcase recipes that take your taste buds on a rollercoaster of flavor. Although most people associate this holiday with grilling ribs, steaks, hamburgers, hot dogs, and even seafood, you don’t need meat to have a great 4th. You can actually have an incredibly healthy day with vegan dishes.
Let’s take a look at some facts. On average, Americans consume about 150 million hotdogs and buy about 700 million pounds of chicken and 190 million pounds of red meat and pork on the 4th of July weekend. That’s an extreme amount of meat. Aside from the lettuce, tomatoes, and onions that get used as burger toppings, vegetables are not the most popular items for Independence Day shoppers. Americans spend an average of $92 million on chips, $60 million on dip, $70 million on buns, $203 million on condiments, $341 million on beer, $86 million on cheese, and $167 million on watermelons. These prices vary from year to year.
Steering clear of meat this Independence Day may seem like breaking tradition. Is that such a bad thing, though? Maybe a vegan 4th of July is a great kick-start to begin eating more plant-based foods. Eating meat is an easy habit that can be broken because there are many vegan alternatives that are nutritious and can absorb delicious flavors. Grilled vegetable shish kabobs with pineapple anyone? Baked cauliflower tossed in Buffalo sauce?
Most people eat meat because it is what has been taught to them and that there is no other way to eat. Additionally, people think that eating healthy is more expensive. This is a common misconception. Fruits and vegetables are readily available and don’t contaminate your body like meat does. Meat contains various drugs, synthetic hormones, increases the risk of developing diseases, can cause colon cancer, leads to high cholesterol, and is hard on digestion. While some fruits and vegetables are grown with pesticides or genetically modified organisms, organic produce is readily available at many grocery stores and farmer’s markets.
So the big question is: What will I cook this 4th of July if I don’t cook meat? You want to know a big secret? Every day is a holiday when you eat plant-based foods, because you are celebrating a healthy lifestyle. There are many vegan options that will make you change your views about what you can do with food.
Bust out the grill and try our grilled eggplant recipe or make a refreshing watermelon juice to cool down on the hot day. There are many burger options that will take your taste buds on a trip to flavor town. There are black bean, quinoa, sweet potato, and portobello burgers that have endless flavor combinations. Don’t forget about making sweet potato or zucchini fries to go along with your burgers. You can make a tangy coleslaw or assemble a colorful, nutritious salad. And if you want to get fancy with an appetizer, try our stuffed mushroom recipe.
And don’t forget about the dips! Guacamole, salsa, bean dip, hummus, and many other dips are mostly all vegan. Make some kale chips or get some organic blue corn tortilla chips from the store and get to dipping! Dips are some of the most important dishes at a 4th of July potluck, so check our dips section to make sure you bring bold flavors to wherever you go.
We can’t forget about dessert! Dessert is the palate cleanser you need just before the fireworks get started. Didn’t think that vegans got down with dessert? Oh, vegans know how to make a damn tasty dessert. Just take a look at our raw vegan ice cream, which is great for those on a cleanse, or try a sweet potato ice cream with a coconut milk whipped cream. See, having a vegan 4th of July is a whole lot easier than you thought, and healthier too!