The summertime cookout staples of hamburgers, hot dogs and potato salad get boring, and they’re usually a mayo-loaded, nitrite-packed carbfest. Shake things up with new options for picnics and BBQs this Fourth of July and beyond. This collection of 15 vegetarian recipes is full of main dishes, sides, desserts and beverages that are not just light and healthy, but also novel combinations of refreshing seasonal ingredients.
Cedar Plank Grilled Mushrooms with Summer Veggies
Cedar planks give grilled portobella mushrooms topped with parmesan cheese and veggies a boost of extra flavor in this healthy vegetarian cookout recipe by Proud Italian Cook. Use only planks made specifically for cooking, and add whatever veggies you like best.
Watermelon, Mint & Feta Salad
Sweet, juicy summertime staple watermelon is the ideal counterpoint to salty, savory feta cheese in this incredibly simple salad recipe from Nettle & Quince. Just drizzle it with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle on some mint, and you’ve got a sweet and salty salad that’s refreshing on the summer’s hottest days.
Grilled Tofu Tacos with Avocado Crema
Smoky chipotle and paprika give the grilled tofu in these inspired tacos a wonderful depth of flavor. Top them with red cabbage slaw and vegan avocado-cashew cream.
Roasted Grape & Ricotta Crostini
If you’ve never tried roasting grapes, you’re missing out. It really brings out the flavor, mellowing the tartness. This roasted grape and ricotta crostini would be a great picnic recipe; just pack the toppings and bread separately and put it together when you’re ready to eat.
Don’t be skeptical! Spinach burgers might sound incredibly healthy (and they are), but they’re also hearty and delicious. This recipe from The Village Cook is high in protein and low in carbs.
Canteloupe in Coconut Rose Cream
Fresh, healthy and oh-so-summery, this dessert is crying out to be included in your warm-weather celebrations. Little balls of juicy canteloupe are complemented by coconut cream flavored with cardamom, rose water and chopped pistachios.
Grilled Herb Garden Pizza
Grilling adds an extra dimension to the flavor of pizza, ever-so-slightly blackening the crust and making the cheese taste smoky. Pile on your favorite toppings; this recipe from Love and Lemons suggests using whatever fresh herbs you have on hand. Want to save time? Skip the dough and use flatbread instead.
Blood Orange, Quinoa & Kale Salad
Protein-rich quinoa adds even more nutritional heft to vitamin C-laden blood orange and kale in this bright, healthy salad brimming with flavor.
Cilantro-Lime Marinated Veggie Kabobs with Barley Kale Salad
Get your veggie fix with grilled zucchini, squash, tomatoes or any other vegetables that catch your eye at the farmer’s market. In this recipe by Naturally Ella, the grilled kabobs are accented with cilantro-lime marinade and a barley-kale salad.
Grilled Apricots, Cherries, Ricotta & Thyme
Here’s another sweet-and-savory recipe with an intriguing balance of flavors. Grill up some fresh, juicy apricots and cherries (or broil them, as instructed in the recipe by Dash and Bella) and serve them up on crusty bread with ricotta, balsamic vinegar and fresh thyme.
Raw Summer Salad with Chile-Lime Vinaigrette
Indulging in some heavy burgers, beer and cake for the Fourth? Make up for it with a light side salad bursting with both flavor and nutritional value. Corn, cucumber, pepper, cabbage and tomatoes come together with lime juice and olive oil in this recipe from Coconut and Lime.
Grilled Zucchini Stacks with Mozzarella Cheese and Balsamic Drizzle
These little stacks of grilled zucchini and mozzarella cheese, accented with balsamic vinegar, are almost like bite-sized healthy lasagnas.
Grilled Cabbage Wedges with Spicy Lime Dressing
Sick of cole slaw? Cabbage is a sturdy veggie that holds up well to grilling, and the intense heat really brings out its sweetness. Get the super-easy instruction at Breanna’s Recipe Box.
Infused Water Recipes
Water infused with fruit, vegetables and herbs is hydrating, refreshing and a treat for your tastebuds, too – without the extra calories that come with soda and other beverages. Get some ideas at Free People.