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The Green Life: Vegan Barbecue: Burgers, Hot Dogs, and Steaks

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July 02, 2012

Vegan Barbecue: Burgers, Hot Dogs, and Steaks

Just add avocadoWhether you're a vegan, veg-curious, or hosting some choosy guests, plant-based recipes abound for all social gatherings. We'll show you how to do barbecue season veggie-style, just in time for July 4th.

Tip #1: Serve a plant protein for every intolerance.

Vegans don't usually sweat about supplementing protein with meat substitutes. Protein is present in all whole plant foods (fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds), so the most seasoned vegans only reach for the faux meats on special occasions. It can get a bit complicated if you or your friends have food allergies, but we've got you covered.

It's easy to prepare meat analogues because they've already been cooked — they only need to be warmed up and maybe charred a bit for that "grilled" effect. Rule of thumb for cooking them: if they look like they're done and ready to eat, they probably are.

California Veggie Burger

  • 1 Morning Star Farms Veggie Griller patty 
  • 1 whole wheat bun
  • 2 tablespooon alfalfa sprouts
  • 1/2 an avocado, peeled and sliced
  • dijon mustard to taste

To grill your veggie patties, you might want to BYOG (bring your own grill) or place tin foil underneath the patties. Charred animal fat tends to linger on grills, and vegan guests may not find that so appetizing. Either way, the patties will smell delicious when they're done, but remember that they won't change color like a meat patty would! When it's completely hot, place in a bun and add toppings. This recipe contains soy and wheat.

Chicago Dog

  • 1 Field Roast Frankfurter
  • 1 whole wheat hot dog bun
  • 1 tablespoon chopped onion
  • 1 tablespoon pickle relish
  • 1/4 cup raw sauerkraut
  • yellow mustard to taste
  • dijon mustard to taste

If you're allergic to soy, this one's for you. Field Roast's products are made from vital wheat gluten, a soy-free meat substitute that you'll find in health food stores and Asian markets. You don't have to rely on these measurements — go crazy with your toppings! And if you're a ketchup lover, feel free to throw some on top.

Tofu Steak

  • 1 block of firm, sprouted tofu
  • 3 tbs liquid smoke
  • 1/4 cup tamari soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons agave syrup
  • 6 cups baby spinach

Gluten-free vegan friends, you too can join in on this barbecue party. Slice the block of tofu into four or five rectangular "steaks" and then place in a bowl. Marinate in a sauce made from the liquid smoke, soy sauce, and agave overnight. You may need to add some water to that mixture to cover the tofu. Then grill until slightly blackened and serve on a bed of baby spinach. We would say one tofu steak serves one person, but in the spirit of Independence Day, that's your prerogative.

Unfortunately, there aren't too many faux meat options for our soy-free gluten-free vegan friends, but that probably means you're eating less processed food anyway. Hurrah! And just because you're not eating faux meats, doesn't mean you can't come enjoy any of the fare. Stay tuned for more vegan barbecue tips and you'll see what we're talking about.

Read more: A Carnivore's Guide to Fake Meat

 --by Krislyn Placide / Image by iStock/kcline

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