When I think of “Fourth of July”, my thoughts immediately turn to summer bliss. Basking in the sun, sipping a celebratory cocktail, and getting together with friends and family for a classic backyard barbecue is my idea of a perfect vacation. If you’re planning your weekend menu and feel like adding more plants to your plate, these vegetarian Fourth of July recipes are for you.
It’s no secret that the Fourth of July is usually all about the grill, but that doesn’t mean it should focus on hot dogs, burgers or steaks. Instead, your menu can include plant-based favorites that even the most avid meat lovers will enjoy. So whether you’re planning a menu for dietary restrictions, wanting to include more vegetables in your diet, or are simply looking for vegetarian sides to complement meats, these 15 vegetarian Fourth of July recipes are a great place to start. Stash a few in your back pocket and try something new this year – you and your guests may be surprised how much you love them.
Feature image by Suruchi Avasthi.
Vegetarian appetizers on the 4th of July
Spring Crudité With Green Goddess Dressing
Why we love it: Add in your favorite summer veggies (and fruit if you like!) and you’ve got a winning Fourth of July appetizer that can satisfy hungry diners. Paprika, cucumber, tomatoes, watermelon, you know.
Hero Ingredient: That green goddess dressing can also serve as a coating for salads, spreads for sandwiches, or an overall spicy superhero in your fridge. Use it freely.
Get the recipe for Spring Crudité with Green Goddess Dressing.
White bean and radicchio salad
Why we love it: I love a good white bean, and that is certainly celebrated in this simple salad. A little vegetable stock, chives, lemon juice and olive oil is all you need before you set out on the easiest summer appetizer or side dish that sets the tone for the 4th of July festivities.
Hero Ingredient: Shaved Parmigiano Reggiano is the perfect sidekick to that wonderfully bitter radicchio. Salty, nutty and savory… mmm.
Get the recipe for White Bean and Radicchio Salad.
Simple citrus salad
Why we love it: I’ve said this a few times, but this salad is as refreshing as it gets. What do you get when you combine juicy citrus with salty marcona almonds and sharply shaved onion? Pure bliss. While it may be unconventional, this salad is an excellent starter for any summer gathering. It’s the same atmosphere as biting into a frozen slice of orange after a football game. Seems ideal to me.
Hero Ingredient: A splash of white wine vinegar — though it’s not necessary — is a real game-changer.
Get the easy citrus salad recipe.
Watermelon Tomato Caprese Salad
Why we love it: This easy salad combines four of summer’s most beloved ingredients: watermelon, tomatoes, cucumber and basil. Make the most of the season by whipping up a large bowl of this tasty caprese. Of course, those mozzarella balls should not be overlooked. They bring in the perfect amount of creamy indulgence that complements literally anything in salad.
Hero Ingredient: Lime juice (and zest, if you have the patience) keeps things nice and tangy.
Get the recipe for Watermelon Tomato Caprese Salad.
Classic Hummus With Marinated Chickpeas
Why we love it: Hummus, one of the most classic appetizers, is the perfect Fourth of July appetizer. It’s so easy to serve with pita bread, crackers, or fresh veggies, and it’s guaranteed to engage any snack guest. In this recipe, hummus gets an upgrade with marinated chickpeas. A little texture goes a long way here, and that’s what really sets this easy recipe apart from your basic hummus. I’m over it.
Hero Ingredient: If you have leftover marinated chickpeas (or if you have the bandwidth to make extra), they make a great topping for salads, wraps, and even sandwiches.
Get the recipe for Classic Hummus With Marinated Chickpeas.
Vegetarian main dishes of the 4th of July
Sweet Potato Falafel Veggie Burgers
Why we love it: Let me tell you, these veggie burgers are probably tastier than any you’ve ever had. Gone are the days of lifeless black bean-focused veggie subs and here’s the new wave of meatless splendor. This patty combines the traditional flavors of falafel with hearty sweet potato to create something truly magical. Prepare to be amazed.
Hero Ingredient: Chickpeas + sweet potato = protein galore.
Get the recipe for Sweet Potato Falafel Veggie Burgers.
Smashed Grilled Sweet Potatoes With Chimichurri
Why we love it: Grilled sweet potatoes are a showstopper for any Fourth of July gathering, and here’s why. They are packed with nutrients, filling and satisfying and grilled. grilled! What could be more Fourth of July than grilling? I can barely think of three things. Throw these crushed ‘taters on the grill and enjoy the sweet smell of summer.
Hero Ingredient: I highly recommend doubling that chimichurri recipe to use on sandwiches, grilled meats, or wraps all week. Get the most out of your cooking.
Get the recipe for Smashed Grilled Sweet Potatoes With Chimichurri.
Paneer Tikka Kebabs
Why we love it: Kebabs are naturally made for summer barbecues. But that doesn’t mean they should be stacked with meat. These vegetarian alternatives bring all kinds of flavor and texture to the party that are as delicious as they are satisfying. The paneer is marinated overnight in yogurt and plenty of spices to maximize the flavor alongside those juicy peppers and onions – yum!
Hero Ingredient: Ginger and garlic combine the power of spices to round out all that flavor.
Get the recipe for Paneer Tikka Kebabs.
Black Bean Tacos with Mango and Radish Salsa
Why we love it: Packed with tons of protein and savory, these black bean tacos are a real winner. The other winner? That mango and radish salsa. If you’re concerned about time or just want to divide your work, I highly recommend making the salsa the night before your gathering. Even better, the flavors meld longer, resulting in a tastier topping. It’s a win win.
Hero Ingredient: If you choose to make extra salsa, set it up with chips for an easy appetizer that you already have on hand. Bonus!
Get the recipe for Black Bean Tacos With Mango and Radish Salsa.
Spinach and Ricotta Pizza With Garlic Olive Oil
Why we love it: Spinach and ricotta is a classic combination when it comes to homemade pizza. But here’s where it gets even more interesting: That garlic oil really is to die for. And with this recipe, once you fire up the grill for the fourth, toss your pizza right on the grates and cook until the crust is golden and those cheeses have melted. It’s definitely a double whammy.
Hero Ingredient: Seriously, make extra garlic oil for dipping bread (I love this focaccia), salad dressings, or basically anything you think could use a garlic kick.
Get the recipe for Spinach and Ricotta Pizza With Garlic Olive Oil.
Vegetarian side dishes of the 4th of July
Summer Pasta salad
Why we love it: Charred veggies are the stars of this summer side. And oh, they shine bright. It’s no secret that grilling your produce can extract all of its delicious flavor, but it’s proven true in this pasta salad. Those charred edges on eggplant, broccolini, summer squash, and zucchini are something to behold. Not to mention you’re getting protein, complex carbohydrates, healthy fats and fiber all thrown together in one harmonious serving. Tip: it tastes even better at room temperature.
Hero Ingredient: The simple lemon vinaigrette makes all those beautiful products shine.
Get the recipe for Summer Pasta Salad.
Texas-Style Mac and Cheese from The Defined Dish
Why we love it: If you’re looking for a high-level mac and cheese recipe, look no further! Sour cream and a can of green chiles set this recipe apart from all the others. Sour cream brings in the flavor while green chiles usher in just the right amount of heat. Your guests will thank you later and probably direct you to bring the mac from now on.
Hero Ingredient: Breadcrumbs and mac and cheese are truly a match made in heaven. Say goodbye to lifeless noodles and hello to your new go-to.
Get the recipe for Texas Style Mac and Cheese†
Easy Vegetarian Baked Beans from Fork in the Kitchen
Why we love it: Baked beans aren’t the prettiest (or the healthiest), nor the most loved. But I firmly believe that no backyard barbecue is complete without them. You just can’t celebrate American Independence Day without a jar of good baked beans.
Hero Ingredient: Not an ingredient, but one of my favorite things about baked beans is that they can hang in a slow cooker while your event starts. It may seem counterintuitive to enjoy such a warm side during the peak of summer weather, but I stand by the statement that baked beans are a barbecue necessity. I don’t make the rules.
Get the recipe for Easy Vegetarian Baked Beans†
Corn and Avocado Salad
Why we love it: Lamb’s lettuce is another classic Fourth of July recipe that belongs on every festive plate. This easy variation with avocado and fresh herbs is ideal for any warm weather gathering and can even be personalized to your liking. If you have the grill going, you can choose to grill your corn rather than blanch it, which will boost the charred, smoky flavor in your tasty salad.
Hero Ingredient: Fresh dill and chives really seal the deal on freshness here.
Get the recipe for Corn and Avocado Salad.
Salt and Vinegar Crispy Potatoes
Why we love it: Think crispy potatoes are a restaurant only luxury? Think again. Camille’s salt and vinegar potatoes get crisp enough in a cast iron skillet that you’ll think they’ve been fried in a vat of oil. But they are not! Just a little, wink.
Hero Ingredient: To all my apple cider vinegar gurus, this recipe is for you. We’re talking immunity boosts, nutrient absorption, blood sugar regulation, and more, all wrapped up in a pillowy potato packet. I’ll take two, please.
Get the recipe for Crispy Potatoes with Salt and Vinegar.