As a plant-based eater, you don’t have to deprive yourself during gatherings like July 4th BBQs. Your Independence Day can be full of delicious, plant-based recipes that are perfect for grilling and there are vegan versions for almost any meat and dairy dish you can imagine. Enjoy your old favorites in new ways! Check out some summer recipes from our two very own vegan cookbooks below, as well as a few favorites from the Minimalist Baker, one of our favorite vegan bloggers!

Sun-Dried Tomato Chickpea Burgers

1 1/2 cup (300 g) dry (uncooked) chickpeas

1 cup (60 g) packed fresh chopped parsley or basil (basil for sweetness, parsley for bitterness)

1/2 cup (80 g) chopped white or yellow onion

6 cloves garlic (2 Tbsp, 12 g)

1/2 cup (55 g) sun-dried tomatoes, chopped

1 1/2 Tbsp (10 g) ground cumin

1/2 tsp turmeric

1 1/4 – 1 1/2 tsp each sea salt and black pepper (or sub a pinch of cayenne)

1-3 Tbsp (15-45 g) tahini (ground sesame seeds)

Olive, grape seed or coconut oil for cooking

FOR SERVING optional
Whole-grain or gluten-free buns
Fresh parsley or basil
Diced red onion
Garlic Dill Sauce
Vegan Pesto

Rinse (uncooked) chickpeas in a fine mesh strainer and add to a large pot. Cover with 2 inches water and bring to a boil over high heat. Boil for 1 minute. Then cover, remove from heat, and let set for 1 hour. Then drain and lightly rinse and dry thoroughly (method from the Kitchn).

In the meantime, add parsley or basil, onion, garlic, and sun-dried tomatoes to a food processor. Mix until well processed. Set aside.

Once the chickpeas are slightly cooled, add half to the food processor, along with cumin, turmeric, salt, pepper and tahini. Mix to combine thoroughly, scraping down sides as needed. Then add the rest of the chickpeas and blend until you have a dough that’s close to a paste in consistency. This may take up to 4-5 minutes to fully incorporate all of the spices and herbs. Add more tahini or a bit of water if the mixture is looking too crumbly or dry.

Sample a small bit and adjust spices/salt/herbs as needed. Then cover and set in the refrigerator for 30 minutes – 1 hour to allow the flavors to meld and the texture to become more firm.
Remove from refrigerator and divide into 4-6 even patties and gently form into patties using your hands. If the burgers aren’t holding together the mixture may need to be blended more thoroughly, or blended with a bit more tahini.

To cook, heat a large metal or cast iron skillet over medium/ medium-high heat (or cook on the grill!). Once hot, add enough oil to create a thin layer on the bottom of the pan and wait 1-2 minutes for the oil to heat up. Then place only as many burgers as will fit comfortably in the pan and cook 2-3 minutes on each side. Once the bottom side is evenly browned, flip gently, as they can be fragile. Continue until all burgers are cooked. Adjust heat as needed if they’re browning too quickly, or aren’t cooking quickly enough.

These burgers are delicious on their own with garlic dill sauce or pesto and desired toppings. They’re also great with a bun, but it isn’t necessary! Alternatively, serve over greens, in pita, or enjoy as is!

To freeze, lay uncooked burgers on a plate or baking sheet and freeze. Once firm, transfer to a freezer safe container and freeze up to one month. Let thaw before cooking on the stovetop or grill.

Watermelon and Tomato Salad

Serves 4


2 cups seedless watermelon, in 1-inch cubes 

2 cups grape or cherry tomatoes, halved lengthwise

1 lemon, juice and zest

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

Sea salt, small pinch

Freshly ground black pepper

1⁄2 cup thinly sliced (julienned) fresh mint leaves


Combine watermelon, tomatoes and salt in a chilled bowl. Whisk lemon juice, zest, oil and pepper and drizzle over fruit.

Sprinkle with mint, and toss gently. Do not refrigerate; serve within 30 minutes on chilled salad plates.


Pasta Salad

Serves 6


1 Pound dry macaroni, cooked al dente

9 cups in total of diced red pepper, chopped red onion or scallions (mostly the white parts), carrots, together with blanched broccoli, asparagus, and snap beans

Mustard Vinaigrette Dressing:

1 tablespoon natural (grainy) Dijon Mustard

4 tablespoons red wind or balsamic vinegar

½ cup cold-pressed, olive oil

1 or 2 minced cloves of garlic

½ teaspoon combined salt and group pepper

Fresh, chopped herbs such as dill, parsley and basil


Combine all ingredients. Refrigerate, but let the dish stand at room temperature a bit before serving.

Tip: See “The Art of Preparing a Perfect Pasta” (in the classic pasta dishes section) for sound culinary counsel.

Vegan Vanilla Cake


1 2/3 cup dairy-free milk (we used boxed coconut milk // almond or rice would also work)

1 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar (or lemon juice)

1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

3 1/4 cups almond flour (not meal // we prefer Wellbee’s brand)

1 scant cup potato starch (not flour)

1/3 cup cornstarch (or you can try subbing arrowroot starch for grain-free)

1 1/3 cup organic cane sugar*

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt (optional)

2 sticks vegan butter, softened (we prefer Earth Balance soy-free buttery sticks)
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
3 1/2-4 cups organic powdered sugar (sifted)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (176 C) and lightly grease two standard 8-inch round cake pans, one 9×13-inch, or three 6-inch round pans* (with vegan butter or coconut oil) and dust with gluten-free flour. Shake out excess and set aside.

In a liquid measuring cup, measure out dairy-free milk and add vinegar. Let set a few minutes. Then add applesauce and vanilla. Whisk/stir to combine.

Add dry ingredients to a large mixing bowl and whisk to combine. Then add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until well incorporated and no large lumps remain. The batter should be thick but pourable. Add more almond flour if too wet or dairy-free milk if too thick.

Divide batter evenly between prepared cake pans and bake on a center rack for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and the edges and surface appear golden brown.

Let cool 15 minutes in the cake pans. To remove from pans, run a dull knife around the edge of the pans to loosen the cakes. Then place a plate or cooling rack on top and quickly invert. Let cool completely (preferably overnight or at least 6 hours on a wire rack) before frosting.

Frost with coconut whipped cream and berries for a lighter application (see inspiration here), or frost generously with my 3-ingredient Vegan Buttercream Frosting (see below).

Store cake covered at room temperature for 2-3 days or in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Freeze up to 1 month.

FROSTING*: Add softened butter to a large mixing bowl and beat for 1 minute. Then add vanilla and mix once more. Gradually add sifted powdered sugar 1 cup at a time and beat until a thick, spreadable frosting is formed. I found about 3 1/2 cups to be the appropriate amount per 1 full cake recipe.

If too thick, the frosting will be too hard to spread (add 1/2 tsp almond milk at a time if too thick). If too thin, the frosting will slide off the cake. If too thin, continue adding powdered sugar until you get the right texture.

Use immediately or cover and store in the refrigerator up to 5 days. Let come to room temperature before frosting.