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Independence Day! It’s that time of the year again. Wherever you are, from the Pacific to the Atlantic, and from Alaska to the Mexican border, chances are that 4th of July will be a hot and sunny day. Or, as those living in Hawaii would say, a normal day. Except that this day is most certainly not ‘normal’!

It is the day when we celebrate our freedom. Freedom from the colonial rule of monarchs with fun British accents. Freedom to build our own nation and to be proud. And last, but not least, freedom to shoot off fireworks, fire up that grill, join the parade, and party the good old American way.

But, what if, in the true freedom-loving spirit, you have made yourself independent from all foods and items of animal origin? Live and let live. This is the motto of those who choose a vegan lifestyle. A motto that we can be proud of.

As a vegan, of course you probably make sure that your clothes are not made from materials of animal origin. You choose vegan cosmetics too. But, let’s face it. The food is the biggest obstacle here.

The question is, how to fit the meat focused barbecue into this way of life? The barbecue tradition is rooted deeply in the core of the 4th of July celebrations. It is a ritual gathering of friends and family. And, yes, meat is its focal point. It is just how things are and have been for centuries.

People, including our closest family members, make their own life choices. We can advise, but we cannot judge. What we can do is adjust so that we can enjoy together. You don’t have to miss out.  Barbecues can actually be a great place for vegans.

This article is meant to show you just that. We are bringing to you some of the best vegan barbecue recipes to help you enjoy the 4th of July celebrations with no reservations.

The Recipes

We are not going to bother you with desserts and salads here. Almost every vegan is an expert in making these. We’ve decided to focus on barbecue-style dishes. They usually require a bit more work, but are extremely tasty and rewarding. After all, the 4th of July is a special date. So make something special. You’ll see it’s worth it!

1.Beetroot Vegan Cheese Burgers

Another vegan burger, you might think. Don’t think you can get these veggie burgers in the supermarket. You cannot. You’ll understand once you try these – they taste amazing! Your carnivore friends will even want to give them a try.

What you’ll need to make the Beetroot Vegan Cheese Burgers is:

  • 1 onion
  • 1 beetroot
  • 350g frozen pure soy mince
  • 3 tsp tomato puree
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika powder
  • 2 tsp vegan barbecue seasoning
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 vegetable stock cube
  • 1 small tsp Tabasco sauce
  • 3/4 cup bread crumbs
  • 3/4 cup chickpea flour

Fry the chopped onion and grated beetroot in olive oil for a few minutes. After that, add all the other ingredients except the chickpea flour and breadcrumbs and fry them all together. Don’t overdo it but make sure that you don’t have too much moisture in the mix when you’re done.

Once finished, mix the fried ingredients with the flour and breadcrumbs in a large bowl until is resembles dough. Make small balls with the dough, and flatten them using your hands to make burger shapes. You are ready to grill now.

Once cooked, top the burgers with vegan cashew cheese slices, coleslaw, or tomato slices, and serve in a bun.

2.Vegan-style BBQ Ribs

This is a delicious dish made of seitan (wheat gluten), a common vegan meat replacement. It is light and tasty, a perfect summer meal.

To prepare vegan-style BBQ ribs, you’ll need the following ingredients:

  • 1 cup seitan (wheat gluten)
  • 2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 Tbsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • Few grinds of fresh black pepper
  • ¾ cup vegetable broth
  • 2 Tbsp peanut butter
  • 1 tsp liquid smoke
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 cup vegan BBQ sauce

Preparation is simple. To begin, separate the dry ingredients from the liquid ones. Take a big bowl and mix all the dry ingredients (seitan, yeast, paprika, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder).

Once you’ve done that, take a cup and mix in all the liquid ingredients (broth, soy sauce, liquid smoke, and peanut butter). Combine the two mixes together and create a uniform dough, using your hands.

Spread the dough over a cooking sheet, cut it into even pieces, and you’re done.

You can cook these in the oven immediately, take them with you to grill at a 4th of July cookout, or freeze them for later. Whatever you do, don’t forget to add vegan BBQ sauce during cooking for the best possible flavor.

3.Grilled Cauliflower Steak

This is a simple one. It requires very few ingredients and it can be made in just a few minutes. Cauliflower is the base here. So, if you’re looking for a way to cut down on those carbs, this just might be the best vegan  4th of July BBQ recipe for you.

Here is what you’ll need:

  • 1 cauliflower head
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper
  • Salt
  • Low-sugar BBQ sauce

To make this unpretentious but tasty dish, you first need to cut the cauliflower head into even, one inch thick slices. Brush the slices with olive oil and season them with salt and pepper. They are now ready for the grill.

After grilling the cauliflower steaks for approximately five minutes on each side, take them off the grill and smother them in BBQ sauce. Put the steaks back on the grill for a few minutes more and they’re ready.

The Final Word

Being a vegan doesn’t stop you from enjoying anything you want. And 4th of July celebrations are no exception. All you need is a good mood, kindness, a big smile, a pair of Stars and Stripes undies, and a few tips from this article and you’ll have a 4th of July to remember. So, let the grilling begin!

Erica Mesirov has a Master's degree in holistic nutrition and writes the award winning blog Eat, Lose, Gain. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, her dog and her two kittens. When she isn't helping people live vibrantly, Erica spends her time watching girl movies, reading books her mom would say don't challenge her, and making lopsided pottery creations.