BYOPBF (Bring Your Own Plant-Based Food) 

Summer has started and party season is upon us (unless you’re in Summer classes like me. Hello 8:00am Government). Barbecues, movie nights, bon fires etcetera aren’t usually tailored to the vegan lifestyle, but, there’s no reason to settle! If you come prepared with your own ingredients, you won’t have to sit sadly at the 4th of July with a half-heartedly made pile of lettuce that Aunt Deborah labeled a salad.

First of all, vegan burgers are perhaps the easiest of the no-brainer substitutes. The Boca Original Vegan Veggie Burgers are my absolute favorite. My non-vegan, or as I’d like to think pre-vegan counterparts seem to enjoy these across the board, as well. These little patty-shaped delicacies are made of primarily soy and wheat! Dress it as necessary, and slap on some vegan mayonnaise. I get mine from Whole Foods.

If you’re more of a hot dog person, have no fear, there are numerous sausage options open to you, too. Even local shops like H-E-B and Kroger have proven to carry more vegan friendly products than I expected. My parents surprised me with some Tofurky Sausage Links a couple of weeks ago, and they were delicious! We haven’t mastered cooking them yet, but, when I get the hang of it, I will report back.

My family has cooked chicken and sausage on the grill ritually for years. But, much to their surprise, the blackened parts of any meat contains carcinogens, so they have drastically changed their routine. Even the smoke coming off cooking meat has been linked to cancer and Alzheimer’s! I was surprised, but after a moment of consideration it made a lot of sense… especially considering that plants don’t have the same health dangers lurking inside of them. You can read more about this here: https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/diet/cooked-meats-fact-sheet.

That being said, blackened veggies cooked in a grill basket are absolutely delicious, especially marinated in a sauce of your choice. ( I’d recommend Korean Gochujang hot sauce on broccoli.) It takes about twelve minutes all together to prepare a gigantic serving of grilled vegetables. Cut them up and spice/sauce them before you throw them into the olive-oiled grill basket. After about six minutes, mix them around and add more seasoning/sauce, and let them cook for the rest of the twelve minutes. Et víola, delicious blackened vegetables for five! Fajitas, anyone?
Speaking of fajitas, my mother has become the queen of cooking Beyond Meat Chicken Free Strips. (Pictured in the bowl on the left.) The texture and flavor of these imitation pieces is almost suspiciously reminiscent of actual chicken pieces. Let alone, they are cut and grilled exactly like grilled chicken strips! From their frozen state, they are thrown into a pan with olive oil and seasonings, and cooked until tender. The cool time probably isn’t more than 10 minutes for an entire bag, which serves 4 per container. You can get a six pack of bags on Amazon for less than $35! That’s 24 servings. (Which have 20g of protein each, by the way.) Serve with tortillas, guacamole, salsa, bean salad, and grilled veggies. Fajita tacos for days. Add lots of lime juice and cilantro. I’d bet money your non-vegan friends could barely tell the difference! Side note: I saw vegan queso at Whole Foods the other day and I cannot stop thinking about it. I’ll be trying that soon.

There are so many well-made plant based alternatives on the market right now that hosting a vegan cookout really isn’t just for vegans anymore. If your silly friends have a refined enough palette to eat their vegetables, there’s no doubt they’d enjoy whatever cruelty free goodies you have in store for them. And hey, fruity Summer drinks are usually something you don’t have to worry about anyway.

Happy partying!

Kylie

(PS- Summer Solstice is fast approaching and I have some exciting things in store….)

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