This 4th of July, Throw a Vegan Barbecue Even Meat Eaters Will Love

By Jules Zucker

June 16, 2015

Throw a vegan barbecue even meat lovers will enjoy!

Photo by iStock/milanfoto

Vegans needn’t feel left out when the meats and cheeses hit the grill this holiday weekend—here are some vegan alternatives that will have even your most omnivorous friends lining up for seconds.



Sweet Potato Black Bean Burger (from Minimalist Baker)

2 cups mashed sweet potato (about 2 large sweet potatoes)
1 cup cooked salted black beans, rinsed and well drained
1 - 1 1/2 cups cooked brown rice
1/2 cup walnut or pecan meal (or very finely chopped)
1/2 cup finely diced green onion
2 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp each salt and pepper (to taste)
1/4 tsp chipotle powder (optional)
1 Tbsp brown sugar (optional)

Preheat oven to 400°F and cut sweet potatoes in half. Rub with olive oil and place face down on a foil-lined baking sheet. Bake sweet potatoes until soft and tender to the touch (about 30 minutes) and set aside. Reduce oven heat to 375°F

While potatoes are baking, cook rice or quinoa (see notes for instructions). Add black beans to a mixing bowl and mash half of them for texture. Then add sweet potato and lightly mash, then 1 cup rice, green onion, nut meal and spices. Mix to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Add more rice or nut meal if the mixture feels too wet.

Lightly grease a baking sheet and line a 1/4 cup measuring cup with plastic wrap. Fill the lined measuring cup with sweet potato mixture. Scrape down to pack, then lift out and transfer to the baking sheet and gently press down to mash. Bake burgers for 30 to 45 minutes, carefully flipping after 20 minutes to ensure even cooking.

Serve on slider buns (double stack for more bulk) or atop a salad with sliced avocado, red onion, greens, and ketchup or salsa. Store leftovers covered in the fridge for up to a few days. Freeze for longer term storage.


Brown rice bowl with tofu and lemongrass.

Brown rice bowl with tofu and lemongrass. | Photo courtesy of Emily Han


Of course, man cannot subsist on yamburgers alone (though they’re tasty enough to try). No vegan barbeque is complete without satisfying sides. Here are a couple of our favorites:
Brown Rice Bowl with Tofu and Lemongrass (from The Kitchn)

    8 ounces extra firm tofu
    3 tablespoons soy sauce, divided
    2 1/2 tablespoons flavorless vegetable oil,
    such as grapeseed
    1/2 onion, thinly sliced
    3 tablespoons grated lemongrass
    (white part only)
    1 teaspoon grated ginger
    1 clove garlic, minced
    2 teaspoons lime juice
    3 cups cooked brown rice
    1/4 cup cashews, toasted and coarsely chopped
    1/4 cup coarsely chopped cilantro leaves

Preheat oven to 350°F. Rinse and drain tofu, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices and place between clean kitchen towels (or paper towels). Place a heavy object such as a skillet or cutting board on top to press out excess liquid. Let sit 15 minutes.
Cut tofu into 1/2-inch cubes and toss in a bowl with 2 tablespoons soy sauce. Lightly oil a baking sheet and spread tofu cubes evenly on sheet. Bake tofu for 15 minutes and flip over. Continue baking for 10 to 15 minutes until tofu is toasted and chewy. Remove from oven.
Heat vegetable oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add onion, lemongrass, ginger, garlic, and red pepper flakes, and cook, stirring frequently until onions are soft and translucent.
Stir in remaining 1 tablespoon soy sauce and lime juice, and scrape any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add rice and tofu, and stir to combine and heat through.
Remove from heat, stir in cashews and cilantro, and serve.


Black Bean Dip (from POPSUGAR)

    1 clove garlic
    1 small jalapeño pepper, chopped
    15 ounces black beans, rinsed and drained
    1 tablespoon tahini
    Juice from 1 lemon
    2 tablespoons olive oil
    Salt and pepper to taste

Add the garlic and jalapeño to a food processor or blender, and puree. Add in remaining ingredients and mix until smooth. Enjoy immediately or store in an airtight glass container in the fridge for up to a week.


Ah, the course we’ve all been waiting for. Devout vegans used to struggle when the rest of the world loaded up on cake and ice cream, but this vegan-friendly era has supplied us with a wide array of delectable vegan desserts. Here’s one of them:
Piña Colada Ice Cream (from Thug Kitchen)

    3 cups of frozen pineapple (about one 16 oz. bag)
    1 frozen banana, broken into chunks
    1 ½ cups canned coconut milk
    1 tablespoon liquid sweetener like agave or maple syrup
    ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Throw all ingredients in a blender and run until smooth. Pour mixture into a loaf pan or similarly shaped container, and smooth it until even. Cover and place in freezer until solid, at least 5 hours. Best eaten the first day or two after it’s made.


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