When you really think about it, a summer cookout is often almost vegetarian. Favorites include many meat-free options - like potato salad, deviled eggs, pasta salad, fruit salad, desserts and more. But many times, the stars of the show are the hot dogs and hamburgers. We know that Homer Simpson said, "You don't win friends with salad," but we are here to boldly disagree with him. After all, meat has a big environmental impact, so just cutting a little of it out of your cookout will really make a big difference - plus it'll free up some cash to spend on higher quality, sustainably-raised meat for the folks who'll want it.
We know that Homer Simpson said, "You don't win friends with salad," but we are here to boldly disagree with him.
Meat-free and healthy can truly be delicious. What you need are flavorful recipes that are similar to the traditional (meatier) BBQ spread you have come to know and love. Let's find a good replacement for the hot dog and hamburger - and don't leave off the yummy toppings, like onions, sauerkraut, ketchup, mustard, tomatoes, chili, relish...whatever is your favorite, bring it along. And really...isn't it about all the toppings anyway?
To create the most sustainable cookout feast, look for certified organic, local, and sustainable ingredients - whatever you can get your hands on. Find a farmers' market or coop near you to shop for your spread.
Need some inspiration? Here are eight vegetarian cookout dishes that we think will satisfy everyone - carnivores and vegetarians alike.
- Smoky Guacamole with GMO-free Corn Chips
- Grilled Nectarine and Zucchini Salad
- Authentic Mexican Street Corn
- Festive Beet-Pickled Deviled Eggs
- Quinoa Apple Salad with Curry Dressing
- Easy Grillable Veggie Burgers
- Charred Carrot Dogs
- Mezcal Watermelon Margarita
OK, OK. I know not everyone is going to be happy with veggie burgers (or those carrot hot dogs). If this is the case, be sure to buy quality meat from a sustainable source - look for pasture-raised with good animal welfare standards. Some farmers' markets carry meat from local farms.
Enjoy your cookout - whatever you eat!
This post was originally published in May 2016.