The Best Vegan BBQ & Grilling Recipes for 4th of July & Beyond

by Alena
Jun 11, 2020
top view of a white table with two seeded burger buns holding beet patties and lots of veggies next to sweet potato fries

Do you look forward to annual barbecues or are you having a hard time navigating them? We collected the top tips for vegans or health foodies and want to share with you our hand-selected list of the very best vegan BBQ and grilling recipes for 4th of July and all throughout summer!

From colorful and satisfying salads to smoky homemade plant-based ribs or steaks that can grab any meat lover’s attention, barbecues can offer a whole host of delicious meals, sides or desserts.

For this article, we teamed up with other amazing plant-based food bloggers who are true experts at vegan grilling and will share with you the best tips and recipes to make any summer BBQ a win.

Because let’s face it, barbecues are usually about as meat-heavy and in-your-face as it gets and we’re the first to admit that we skipped one or two invitations because of this! But potluck-style occasions like these can be perfect to present some delectable vegan goodies for everyone to enjoy.

Luckily, most people have become a lot more accepting of us plant munchers and are even curious to try some vegan goodness that’s completely free from all animal products.

We’re not just talking about food that has been made from scratch but also the whole plethora of vegan meat alternatives found in today’s supermarkets.

According to The Good Food Institute, the $939 million plant-based meat market has grown by 38% over the last two years and the demand for meat products may even fall by 50% in the coming ten years.

Especially those who are curious about meatless meals or following a more plant-based diet might find it more enticing to bite into a burger that’s eerily similar to beef instead of bluntly veggie-stuffed.

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But also for any vegans who miss the taste of meat (yup, vegans want to avoid violence and not delicious flavor), these succulent cruelty-free options can make for an even more enjoyable vegan barbecue!

Best Store-Bought Vegan Burgers

If you’ve ever been on the lookout for vegan burgers at your local store, you’re aware of the huge variety out there. From veggie-loaded to cannot-believe-that’s-not-meat, you have so many choices to taste test with your friends and family!

Here are some brands that regularly make the top ten of any “best vegan burger” list:

  • Beyond Burger & Beast Burger
  • Gardenburger Black Bean Chipotle
  • Boca Burger
  • Qrunch Quinoa Burgers
  • Trader Joe’s Masala Burger
  • Amy’s California or Black Bean Burger
  • Field Roast Burger
  • Morningstar Farms Burgers
  • Hilary’s Eat Well World Best Veggie Burger
  • Gardein Black Bean Burger & Beefless Burger

Please note that we personally haven’t tried any of these because we simply don’t need any meat replacements and prefer a humble homemade bean patty.

Also, we are not compensated to recommend any of these — we just did some research.

Young women and men with drinks in their hands gathering in nature

Tips for Vegans at Barbecues

Now, how to survive a BBQ or 4th of July gathering as a vegan? Well, you definitely need to be well-prepared — emotionally, mentally and in terms of food.

All of us deal with animals being eaten differently and if you’re a die-hard animal rights activist, you might want to step away from watching cruel footage a few days in advance if you choose to attend this event.

There will probably be some conversation about you abstaining from animal products, so if you want to read up on some ideas for what to reply to things like “we have always eaten meat”, “you will be nutrient deficient” or “I couldn’t just eat boring salads”, check out our article here

The most tangible part, the actual food, can be tackled in a few different ways!

Let the Host Know In Advance

If you’re not the one organizing the awesome grill party, make sure to contact the host in advance and let them know that you follow a vegan diet.

You can then offer to bring some things for you to eat — which you can also share with everybody else so you’re not the odd one out.

Tip: if you bring a delicious dish and don’t mention to anyone that it’s vegan, it’ll taste a whole lot better to them!

Ensure There’s Good Food

Lori from My Quiet Kitchen says that “when invited to an omnivorous cookout, my first thought is always, “How do I make sure we’ll have enough to eat?”

If you already know there will be easy items provided like chips, salsa, guacamole, and raw veggies, you can shift your attention to preparing a vegan side dish, like pasta or potato salad. Then, grab some vegan burgers or sausages at the store.

From Beyond, to Tofurky, to Lightlife, there are so many delicious options these days, and it’s a great way to show everyone exactly how easy it is to be vegan.”

Avoid Cross-Contamination

Wherever meat, dairy or eggs are in close proximity, there’s a good chance some of it might end up on your plant-based food — even if it’s just in small amounts. Jackie from the popular blog Vegan Yack Attack knows a simple trick when it comes to that!

“If you find yourself attending a BBQ or cookout that isn’t quite vegan-friendly, I always recommend bringing a bit of foil with you! (or asking the host if you’re able to use some of theirs) This way you can either make delicious foil packet meals, or just cover parts of their grill for your meal prep, in a convenient way!”

Rebecca from Strength & Sunshine adds to that “Always use a clean safe grill and bring some foil. Check marinades and sauces for hidden ingredients and label your dishes, including serving spoons! You can also ask other people who bring food to write out the ingredients they used in a dish.”

Man with apron standing behind grill with metal spatula in his hand

Experiment & Offer Variety

People who aren’t very familiar with veganism or plant-based diets might feel overwhelmed or unsure about what foods you would actually eat.

On top of bringing some of the products we recommended earlier in this article which try to imitate the look, texture and taste of meat, you can be more veggie-forward.

Kelly, author of 4 vegan cookbooks and founder of Seitan Beats Your Meat has a fantastic black bean burger recipe —  she knows that “while there are so many wonderful meat alternatives on the market, sometimes it’s nice to make a veggie burger that tastes like veggies!”

Classic Vegan BBQ Ideas

There are some super common vegan sides, appetizers or desserts that make the perfect add-on to any well-rounded barbecue menu.

  • Bread or rolls
  • Veggie skewers
  • Grilled or stuffed veggies
  • All kinds of dips
  • Fruit salad
  • Grain salad

Now, if you add a few delicious plant-based dips to these cookout sides, you can already create a well-rounded vegan platter of goodness! Find our favorite creative hummus recipes here.

The following recipes range from classic “accidentally vegan” barbecue meals to new and fantastic ideas you can put on the grill or bring to a potluck! Let’s take a look at what we’ve got — after all, the food part is probably what got you here!

Grilled Veggie Skewers

white surface with six colorful veggie skewers made with zucchini, bell pepper and onion
Recipe by The Forked Spoon

Colorful, healthy and so easy to make! Veggie skewers are a classic BBQ side or appetizer which you can prepare and bring with you. These feature zucchini, red onion and bell peppers drizzled with tangy balsamic vinegar and brushed with some garlic herb sauce.

Easy Vegan Bruschetta

grey plate on table with six slices of bread topped with tomatoes and fresh herbs
Recipe by Running On Real Food

One of our favorite Italian appetizers that’s actually oftentimes already “accidentally vegan” is bruschetta. These crispy little slices of Italian bread are topped with fresh tomatoes, basil, balsamic and some olive oil.

Grilled Corn On The Cob

white baking dish on a table filled with three grilled corn on the cob that are drizzled with some avocado dill dressing
Recipe by Happy Kitchen

There should be no summer BBQ without some grilled corn on the cob! Skip the butter and brush with some oil instead, then serve with this creamy avocado dill dressing for extra flavor and prettiness.

Tofu Pineapple Skewers

white plate with some cooked grains and two grilled tofu and vegetable skewers
Recipe by The Simple Veganista

Let’s take classic veggie skewers up a notch and add some delicious pineapple and Teriyaki-marinated tofu to the mix! Packed with flavor, color and essential nutrients, these delicious kabobs are quick, easy —  a glorious mix of sweet and savory.

Roasted Vegan Garlic Bread

several slices of freshly baked vegan garlic bread with olive oil and herbs
Recipe by Connoisseurus Veg

Garlic bread is actually so easy to make vegan! Just whip up some roasted garlic with olive oil to create a creamy, flavor-packed emulsion, slather it on crusty Italian bread, then toast or grill to crispy perfection.

More Plant-Based Appetizers

Don’t these recipes sound fantastic? Okay, let’s add some more ideas for your vegan cookout that you can serve as appetizers.

Crispy Buffalo Cauliflower Wings

hand holding a baked cauliflower wing that's been dipped in some green vegan ranch
Recipe by Nutriciously

One of our favorite meatless appetizers that’s a hit at any gathering are these crispy cauliflower bites. Tender on the inside, slathered in flavorful Buffalo sauce, gluten-free and surprisingly high in protein — what’s there not to love?

Oil-Free Sweet Potato Fries

white table with some newspaper and parchment paper on which lay a bunch of crispy baked sweet potato fries next to some BBQ sauce and cashew sour cream
Recipe by Nutriciously

This secretly healthy side and plant-based finger food makes any spread that much more exciting! Completely oil-free, our crispy sweet potato fries can be dipped to your liking and are the perfect addition to your plant-based grilled burgers.

Grilled Quinoa Stuffed Avocado

table with five avocado halves that are stuffed with a quinoa veggie mixture next to two limes
Recipe by Recipes From A Pantry

Did you know that if you grill avocados, they largely keep their shape while offering the taste of melted butter? Load them up with some cooked grains of your liking (in this case, quinoa) and top with herbs and spices. Simple, genius and ready in under 30 minutes!

Romaine & Radicchio Crostini

white plate with a slice of crispy sourdough bread topped with grilled romaine and chickpeas
Recipe by The Mostly Vegan

This colorful veggie-loaded crostini is topped with grilled sweet romaine and peppery radicchio and drizzled with a smoky charred carrot dressing. It’s basically like a huge sourdough bread crouton, finished with some salad and crispy cumin chickpeas. Must try!

Tasty Vegan Summer Salads

Every good BBQ or grilling event needs a nice selection of different salads! And not just in the books of us plant munchers. Here are our favorite choices, most of them undetectably vegan!

Classic Creamy Potato Salad

woman standing next to a bowl of potato salad and mixing it with two spoons
Recipe by Nutriciously

This (almost) classic potato salad is made with a creamy homemade vegan cashew mayo, crunchy celery, dill pickles and onions — all completely oil-free, gluten-free and whole food plant-based. It’s usually the first salad to be devoured completely at any BBQ!

Grilled Corn Salad Bowl

large white bowl with leafy greens, sliced avocado, pickled onion, lentils, grilled corn and pine nuts
Recipe by Green Evi

Nobody who tries this colorful grilled salad bowl will ever say again that vegan food is boring and unsatisfying! Just look at this spread of beluga lentils, pickled onions, sliced avocado and grilled corn on a bed of arugula. It’s feeding your eyes and belly at the same time!

Balsamic Summer Pasta Salad

two plates with vegan pasta salad featuring tomato, strawberries and fresh herbs
Recipe by Veggie Inspired

This easy vegan pasta salad is prepared in under half an hour and features everything you love about summer! Crunchy veggies, sweet strawberries, juicy tomatoes, fresh herbs and curly pasta all tossed with a creamy balsamic dressing. Definitely bring this stunning plant-based side to your next picnic or potluck!

Sweet Potato Lima Bean Salad

two hands holding a spoon each and mixing freshly prepared rocket, bell pepper and sweet potato salad
Recipe by Nutriciously

Cozily spiced roasted sweet potato cubes in a lima bean and vegan rocket salad, topped with a quick homemade oil-free sweet mustard dressing. This versatile plant-based side is bursting with color, nutrition and just perfect to bring to any summer party!

Grilled Vegetable Summer Salad

wooden bowl with leafy greens, grilled mushrooms, asparagus, tomato, avocado and vegan feta at a BBQ
Recipe by Making Thyme For Health

This grilled vegetable summer salad has so much more to offer than just leafy greens: marinated meaty portobello mushrooms, grilled asparagus and avocado, fresh basil and some vegan mozzarella (which can be skipped for convenience). Non-vegans are sure to love it!

Millet Tabbouleh Salad

white plate with a mix of millet, bell pepper and fresh herbs on it
Recipe by Salted Plains

If you’ve never tried millet, now is your chance! This fresh tabbouleh is gluten-free, ready in just 30 minutes and can be prepped in advance. Featuring a simple vinaigrette, fresh herbs and chopped veggies, it’s a simple “accidentally vegan” side salad.

Watermelon Feta Salad 

white bowl on a table in which cubed watermelon, mint leaves, olives and vegan feta are being mixed by two hands
Recipe by The Plant Riot

Refreshing, fruity and so easy to make! This vegan watermelon, mint and feta salad is perfect for a hot summer’s day and requires only 5 ingredients. Optional, delicious add-ins include olives, cucumber and arugula.

Grilled Corn & Avocado Salad

close-up of bright bowl with corn, onion, avocado and fresh herbs
Recipe by Nutrition In The Kitch

With grilled corn being the star of this dish, this simple recipe adds some amazing flavor thanks to the lime, red onion and creamy avocado. It’s gluten-free, fully vegan and you can enjoy any leftovers over the next few days when the flavors had more time to meld together!

Easy Vegan Barbecue Sides

More grilled goodness we can serve for a plant-based BBQ menu from deliciously spiced veggies to meatless smoky steaks and other tasty ideas.

Mediterranean Rainbow Collard Wraps

white plate with a few rolled vegan collard wraps filled with millet next to a yogurt dip
Recipe by Nutriciously

Get ready to make any picky eater fall in love with healthy food — these collard green wraps are great vehicles to add more fresh vegetables to anyone’s diet in a very creative and delicious way. Crunchy leaves with satiating starches, some veggies and a creamy vegan yogurt sauce! The perfect finger food you can serve or bring to a summer party,

Grilled Cauliflower Steaks

silver plate with two crispy grilled vegan cauliflower steaks, walnuts, herbs and slices of lemon
Recipe by Well Plated

One of the healthiest and easiest ways to serve some plant-based steak alternatives (though not really replicating meat at all) are cauliflower steaks! This versatile veggie can be made into rice, pizza crust or a grilled and seasoned crispy side dish that’s approved even by veg skeptics.

Grilled Potato Nacho Bowl

woman in blue dress holding a white plate with potatoes, beans, corn, green pepper and a vegan sauce in her hands
Recipe by Delish Knowledge

This humble bowl features grilled potatoes and peppers, tossed with black beans, corn, herbs and the most addicting chipotle-cashew sauce. It’s a fuss-free side you can customize to your needs and enjoy with the whole family!

Cajun-Spiced Grilled Tofu

white plate with grilled zucchini, beans, bell pepper and marinated tofu
Recipe by Healthy Nibbles

Let’s make tofu socially acceptable! This delicious meat substitute often gets a bad rep for being flavorless and having an awful texture — how about smothering it in a flavorful 5-ingredient marinade and then putting it on the grill along with some veggies? Easy to prep in advance and perfect to bring with you.

Portobello Steaks With Avocado Chimichurri

white plate with two grilled portobello steacks topped with herbs and avocado next to a knife
Recipe by Minimalist Baker

Another veggie-forward meat replacement are these grilled portobello mushrooms in saucy marinade with spicy avocado chimichurri. How can you say no to that? This easy recipe is hearty, herby, nutritious and a little zesty — perfect for all your summer grilling needs.

Grilled Aubergine With Carrot Top Pesto

chopping board with parchment paper on which eight slices of grilled aubergine that have been filled with lentils and drizzled with tahini lie
Recipe by Lauren Caris Cooks

This delicious plant-based side makes barbecues a vegan dream instead of a nightmare! Charcoal-grilled aubergine (or eggplant) halves are loved by pretty much everyone when dressed up with some creamy tahini and flavorful zero-waste carrot top pesto.

Classic Vegan Coleslaw

glass bowl with easy colorful vegan coleslaw to serve at a grilling event or 4th of July
Recipe by The Simple Veganista

Light, flavorful and so much healthier than store-bought, this veganized classic barbecue side dish is ready in 10 minutes. Featuring homemade mayo along with some vinegar and dijon for tanginess and added depth, this delicious coleslaw is undetectably plant-based!

Plant-Based Meaty Mains

No matter if you choose to pick up some delicious and grillable vegan meat alternatives at the store, you can always add a plant-forward option to go along with them! Here are some meaty mains that even carnivores enjoy.

Ultimate Beet Veggie Burgers

two large and colorfully stuffed beet burger patties in whole wheat buns with avocado, mustard, BBQ sauce, greens and carrot on a plate
Recipe by Nutriciously

If there’s one veggie burger you make, this should be it! It’s hearty, filling, rich in Umami flavor and tender on the inside. Featuring deep purple beets, protein-rich beans and only a few other highly nutritious staple foods, this vegan burger is as delicious as it gets — meat-eater approved!

Vegan Hot Dogs (3 Ways)

white table with a wooden chopping board and three different kinds of vegan hot dogs next to bowls with ingredients to make them
Recipe by Nut-Free Vegan

Whether you’re up for a more traditional all-American hot dog or are looking to experiment with some new flavors, this cookout classic can certainly be made fully vegan. Find recipes for a New York-style dog, a Kansas City one or a Seattle dog, all served without a side of animal cruelty.

BBQ Jackfruit Burger

wooden chopping board with three vegan BBQ jackfruit burgers next to each other and a woman taking one of them
Recipe by Love & Lemon

One of the healthiest and most delicious ways to replace meat on your plate is by using jackfruit. It adds a wonderful texture and smoky flavor to your burgers when smothered in some BBQ sauce. Try these pretty jackfruit sandwiches!

Grilled Blackened Tofu Steaks

two white plates with two slices of freshly grilled vegan tofu steaks next to some broccoli
Recipe by My Darling Vegan

Impress your family with these marinated and flavorful blackened tofu steaks! Wonderfully textured, they are grilled to perfection and served hot with a side of veggies and some bread. They are sure to make everyone forget about their prejudices around tofu!

Honey BBQ Seitan Ribz

white plate with several slices of vegan seitan BBQ ribs perfect for grilling
Recipe by Vegan Heaven

These drool-worthy vegan ribs have a wonderful (and slightly scary) meaty texture, dripping with sweet and sticky sauce and are flavored with hickory liquid smoke. You can make them ahead of time to please every meat-lover at your summer barbecue!

Sweet & Spicy Black Bean Burgers

two plant-based bean burger with spicy sauce and lettuce on a black plate
Recipe by Veggies Don’t Bite

Raise the bar this summer with these easy grillable sweet vegan black bean burgers! They come with a sweet and spicy sidekick and are made with mango habanero cream for an added burst of flavor. Serve with some crunchy slaw and fries or chips!

Grilled BBQ Jackfruit Pizza

parchment paper with some freshly grilled vegan BBQ jackfruit pizza where one piece has been cut off
Recipe by Blissful Basil

This delicious plant-based pizza is loaded with BBQ pulled jackfruit, tangy hemp seed cheddar cheese, onions, zesty ranch and fresh cilantro. We love this colorful comfort food that you can enjoy on a fun summer night without having to hold back! 

Veggie Meatball Sub

close up of two homemade vegan meatball subs on parchment paper
Recipe by Vegan Heaven

Our last vegan meaty main is this scrumptious meatball sub. It’s made with protein-rich kidney beans, some rolled oats and a whole bunch of spices and herbs for that delicious traditional flavor! A true family favorite.

Delicious Vegan Summer Desserts

Finally, we arrived at the dessert section! That’s where healthy-ish treats from frozen to grilled and baked await us. Find a few light and fruity choices as well as scrumptious comfort foods to finish your barbecue!

Quick 4th of July Parfait

side view of a glass with blueberries, strawberries, coconut whipped cream and a spoon
Recipe by Bear Plate

With all the beautiful fresh fruit and bright vibrant colors, this dessert screams summer! No matter if you’re celebrating 4th of July or want to serve this delicious treat at any BBQ, the vegan parfait can be put together in just 4 minutes and dressed up to your liking.

No-Bake Fruit Tarts

three mini lemon tarts on a white surface with fresh seasonal berries and mint
Recipe by Nutriciously

Would you believe that these cute mini lemon tarts are completely sugar-free and oil-free? On top of that, they are easy to make, decadently creamy, lemony and not overly sweet. Fun to make with your kids, too!

Strawberry Coconut Popsicles

ice cubes on which lie nine homemade strawberry and coconut popsicles which is a great vegan summer dessert
Recipe by Jessica Gavin

These vegan strawberry popsicles contain four simple ingredients for a refreshing and delicious frozen summertime treat! We especially love the addition of toasted coconut flakes which totally take this cold family-friendly dessert to the next level.

Rhubarb Strawberry Cobbler

one baking dish and two small plates all of which have some freshly baked vegan rhubarb berry cobbler
Recipe by Occasionally Eggs

This healthy cobbler features delicious seasonal produce which makes it sweet, tart and super pink! Ever so slightly sweetened, it can be served warm with a scoop of coconut milk ice cream or even some coconut whip.

Vegan S’Mores Brownies

two small white plates where three vegan s'mores brownies are stacked on top of each other
Recipe by Making Thyme For Health

Crispy graham crackers layered with fudgy flourless brownies, gooey marshmallows and melted chocolate chips — uhm, yes please! This really is an undetectably vegan festive summer dessert that everyone will love!

4th of July Fruit Salad

glass bowl in a table with a 4th of July fruit salad consisting of melon, berries and cherries
Recipe by Vegan Heaven

If you’re looking for a super healthy and easy, yet stunning summer dessert option, this 4th of July fruit salad is everything you need! It features blueberries, cherries, watermelon and honeydew — the latter of which can be transformed into little stars using a cookie cutter!

Blueberry Swirl Cheesecake

black plate on a white table with a piece of no-bake vegan cheesecake with a berry swirl and topped with strawberries and blueberries
Recipe by Blissful Basil

We love no-bake recipes during summertime! This decadent vegan cheesecake is made with a buttery graham cracker crust, a rich and creamy filling and super pretty berry swirls. Prepared within 45 minutes, it needs to be chilled for two more hours before serving nice and cold!

Grilled Peaches With Ice Cream

white plate with several bowls of halved grilled peaches with some creamy vegan ice cream
Recipe by Sweet Simple Vegan

Looking for a quick and easy way to use up your peaches? Grill them with a touch of maple syrup! These grilled peaches make for the perfect snack or dessert and are a great way to keep things light this summer.

Grilled Fruit Kabobs

white plate with five grilled strawberry, pineapple, melon and banana kabobs
Recipe by Feel Good Foodie

Here’s a really fun way to end your summer BBQ! These rainbow kabobs become nicely caramelized over the heat which brings out the natural sweetness. They are easy to make, totally customizable and great for kids.

We hope you liked our list of the best vegan barbecue and grilling recipes! Have you tried any of them? Let us know in the comments below and feel free to Pin this article here!

Alena enjoying a bowl of fresh plant-based food and coffe in a restaurant
Alena Schowalter is a Certified Vegan Nutritionist (CPD) who has been a vegetarian since childhood and vegan since 2012. Together with her husband, she founded nutriciously in 2015 and has been guiding thousands of people through different transition stages towards a healthy plant-based diet. She’s received training in the fields of nutrition, music therapy and social work. Alena enjoys discussions around vegan ethics, walks through nature and creating new recipes.
dark grey spotted bowl with a variety of vegetables next to small bottle of green smoothie isolated on light background

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