Eating more plant-based foods this summer? That’s a great decision! There’s no better time to eat lighter, healthier, and kinder. If you’re worried that eating vegan means giving up your favorite summer foods, you can relax. Any dish you love, whether it be comfort food, diner food or elegant food, can be made entirely vegan and still taste delicious and satisfying. Your summer breakfasts, lunches, dinners and dessert can all be veganized with just a few smart swap-outs and substitutions. Here are some easy tricks to make vegan versions of your favorite summer foods.
Burgers are summer staples. Whether you’re cooking indoors or outside on the grill, everyone loves piling the toppings onto their yummy burgers. Going plant-based doesn’t have to mean giving up burgers. There are many brands of vegan burgers that are delicious or we can make our own. We can make Healthy, Homemade Veggie Burgers out of ingredients we choose. Take a look at 10 Vegetables You Can Make Burgers With for just some of the options at our disposal. Then try these Spicy Buffalo Quinoa Burgers, Mozzarella Stuffed Cannellini Burgers with Spinach Pesto, Artichoke Sunflower Burgers, and BBQ Kidney Bean and Kale Burgers.
Top your veggie burger in familiar ways with vegan cheese, vegan bacon, lettuce, tomato and onions or try 10 New and Different Ways to Top Your Burger. Don’t forget the sauces like ketchup, vegan mayo or BBQ sauce. Put it all together to make an unbelievable burger like this Black Bean Apple Burgers With Caramelized Onion Chipotle BBQ Sauce and Shiitake Bacon. Take advantage of these Tips for Making Veggie Burgers that Won’t Fall Apart.
Hot dogs are another summer favorite and the best thing about vegan hot dogs is that for once, you can actually know what’s in them. It’s no joke – the ingredients in regular hot dogs can be downright scary and unhealthy. You can buy veggie dogs and vegan sausages or try making your own. These Seitan Hot Dogs are juicy and have a definite frankfurter texture. If you prefer sausages, try these Spicy Italian Sausages that are vegan and gluten-free, The Vegan Gutbuster Sandwich with Homemade Vegan Italian Sausage made from seitan, Smokey Black Bean Sausages made with beans and seitan and these Spicy Sausage Sandwich Patties that are also made with vital wheat gluten. Read How to Make Vegan Sausages that Will Hold Up on the Grill to make sure they are strong enough to hold lots of toppings.
Speaking of toppings, enjoy both classic ones and some toppings that are new and different. Make your own ketchup, your own sauerkraut or turn ordinary condiments into extraordinary ones with a few twists. Make a Delicious and Healthy Vegan New York-Style Hot Dog or recreate an Italian favorite by sautéing sliced onions and bell peppers to put atop Italian sausages for a healthier version of the classic sausage and peppers dish.
When the weather gets hotter, thoughts turn towards barbecue. Everyone loves saucy, savory BBQ sauce slathered on anything and everything. Sure, you can buy vegan BBQ sauce in a bottle but you might be surprised at how easy it is to make it yourself. Check out 10 Ways to Make Awesome Vegan BBQ Sauces, Rubs, and Marinades for incredible recipes plus take a look at The World’s Healthiest Homemade Barbecue Sauce and this Triple Threat BBQ Sauce.
Once you have your delicious, better-than-any-bottle BBQ sauce, all you have to do is decide what to put it on. Want wings? Read How to Make Epic Vegan BBQ Tofu Wings. Got a craving for ribs? You can have vegan ribs like these Balsamic BBQ Seitan and Tempeh Ribs. Miss barbecue chicken? Make this Vegan Buffalo BBQ Chicken with your favorite chicken substitute. For more BBQ ideas, take a look at these 15 Savory and Saucy Vegan BBQ Dishes.
There’s something about summer that makes us want to eat food on a stick. It’s fun, portable and delicious. If you love grilling your own kebabs, take some tips from us in How to Grill Tasty Veggies Indoor and Out and 5 Tips for Amazing Summer Skewered Food. Enjoy these Tofu Vegetable Kebabs with Peanut Sauce, Pineapple Island Kebabs, Spring Vegetable Kebabs with Orange Sesame Dressing, and Grilled Seitan Kebabs with Creole Coconut Sauce. Even fruit can get in on the fun with these Grilled Fruit Kebabs.
Sandwiches are one of the most popular meal choices for people. They’re portable, easy to make and delicious for picnics and outdoor get-togethers. Learn How to Lighten Up Sandwiches for the Summer by choosing the right breads, wraps and fillings. Then try these Chickpea Salad Sliders, Baked Tofu Caesar Sandwich, Portobello Mushroom BLT Sandwich, and Ranch Pitas with Roasted Potatoes and Chickpeas.
Skip the bread altogether and enjoy light and healthy wraps like these UnTuna Wraps, Nori Wraps with Sweet Potato, Avocado and Miso Dressing, Tandoori Cauliflower Wraps and Mango Basil Coconut Wraps. Get more recipes in Quick Ideas for Sandwich and Wrap Fillings.
Hot weather means turning to slaws and salads for cool and refreshing meals. Forget worrying about mayo-based salads and dressings going bad out in the heat. Vegan salads and dressings contain no dairy or eggs so all you have to worry about is whether you made enough for seconds. Read 10 Ways to Make Awesome Summer Slaws and then try this Broccoli Stem and Carrot Slaw and this Asian Slaw Salad with Miso Ginger Dressing. You can’t have a summer picnic without the traditional pasta and potato salads. Make this Simple Summer Macaroni Salad, Dijon Fingerling Potato Salad, and French Inspired Creamy Lentil Potato Salad. After you take all the time and effort to make beautiful summer salads, don’t top them off with bottled salad dressings. Learn 10 Ways to Make Amazing Salad Dressings and then try these 19 Salad Dressing Recipes you won’t believe are vegan.
One of the best parts of summer is all the frozen treats we get to eat – ice cream, sorbets, and popsicles. Check out 10 Replacements for Dairy in Your Ice Cream and then make this 2 Minute Matcha Ice Cream with Baklava Sprinkles, Mint Matcha Chip Ice Cream, Mudslide Ice Cream and Chocolate Chunk Espresso Ice Cream. Make novelty ice cream treats too like these Berry Ice Cream and Sweet Corn Sandwiches, Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Sandwiches, Banana Splits, and Banana Berry Ice Cream Cake.
Other frozen treats we love are popsicles. Again, we love food on a stick. Cool off this summer with these Patriotic Popsicles, Matcha Mochi Strawberry Popsicles and these other delicious 8 Dairy-Free Popsicles.
Eating a plant-based diet has absolutely nothing to do with deprivation. Any food you love can be made vegan so enjoy your summer filled with delicious, healthy and compassionate vegan dishes.
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Lead image source: Artichoke Sunflower Burgers