Plant Powered 4th of July Feast

The 4th of July usually involves backyard BBQ’s and potluck dinners, but those fun festivities don’t have to center around a slab of meat on the grill. Did you know that grilled meat (any meat – chicken, fish, beef and pork) contains carcinogens?

You can still fire up the grill – just toss veggies on instead! Grilled corn on the cob, eggplant, zucchini, onions, mushrooms and peppers are delicious and don’t forget about the fruit – pineapple, nectarines and peaches are simply amazing. Just load up some skewers with your favorites and toss them on the grill for a few minutes.

These plant strong recipes are definite crowd pleasers and are healthier alternatives! Try'em, don't be scared.

Spicy Watermelon Salad-

This recipe is delicious and refreshing – a perfect summer side dish. The sweet watermelon is enhanced with the flavors of lime and mint and the kick from the chili’s rounds it out perfectly.

*adjust ingredients to taste •5-6 cups Watermelon diced •1-2 *chili peppers finely minced •3-4 mint leaves minced •lime juice (1-2 limes)

*You can substitute red pepper flakes or sambal for the chili’s if you prefer.

Cut up watermelon into large chunks. Reserve any juice and mix it with the lime juice, mint and chili peppers. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and refrigerate.

White Bean & Wild Rice Veggie Burger-

•1/2 c uncooked wild rice, rinsed •1 c red onions, finely chopped •1 c celery, finely chopped •3 cloves garlic, minced •1/4 tsp dried basil •1/4 tsp dried parsley •1/4 tsp Mrs. Dash Original no-salt seasoning •1/2 c almonds, lightly toasted •1 1/2 c cooked white beans or •1 (15 ounce can) no-salt-added or low sodium white beans, drained 100% whole grain bread crumbs or old fashioned oats if needed to adjust consistency


Combine rice and 2 cups water (or no-salt-added or low sodium vegetable broth for additional flavor) in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 45 minutes or until rice is tender. Drain any excess water.

While rice is cooking, water saute onions, celery and garlic over low flame for 10 minutes or until tender. Stir frequently to prevent burning; cover sporadically to soften vegetables, but uncover to let water steam off. Stir in basil, parsley, and Mrs. Dash.

Finely chop almonds in food processor. Add beans and process until beans are pureed and mixture is well combined. Place in a bowl and stir in wild rice and onion mixture.

Form into burgers. If mixture is too wet, a small amount of whole grain bread crumbs or oats may be added. Place burgers on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350 degrees F for 40 minutes, turning after 20 minutes.

Israeli Couscous Salad-

•1 1/2 c Israeli couscous •1 c cucumber, quartered and thinly sliced •1/4 c minced fresh flat leaf parsley 10 to 12 basil leaves, thinly sliced (to taste) •3 ripe nectarines, pitted and diced •1 c halved cherry tomatoes •1 avocado, diced •2 to 3 TBSP lemon juice •Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste •Mixed baby greens, as needed •1/4 c toasted pine nuts or toasted slivered almonds green onions, chopped

Bring 5 cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add the Israeli couscous and simmer for about 8 minutes, or until al dente. Drain and rinse with cool water until the couscous is at room temperature.

In a mixing bowl, combine the couscous with the remaining ingredients except the last two. Toss well to combine.

Line a large serving platter with some greens. Mound the salad over them. Sprinkle the top with the toasted nuts and green onions. Serve at once or cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate until needed.

Cherry Vanilla Ice Cream (Dairy Free)-

Ingredients: •2 tsp lemon juice •2 tsp vanilla extract •3 cups cherries, pitted (fresh or frozen is fine) •15 dates, pitted •1 1/2 cups coconut milk •Pinch sea salt

Directions: Place all ingredients and only 1 cup cherries into the blender and mix well. Add remaining cherries and pulse a bit to break them up. If you don’t like chunks in your ice cream, blend until smooth. If you have an ice cream maker, chill the mix so it’s cold and process in the ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. Freeze in a large, airtight glass container. No ice cream maker? Just pour into a large, airtight glass container and freeze. Thaw for about 10 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

No Bake Berry Cheesecake (vegan)-

* even though this is made with healthy ingredients, it is still calorie dense, so watch your portion size!

The recipe is definitely a labor of love – but it’s perfect for a special occasion.

Crust: •1 c raw nuts (any combination works. I use walnuts, almonds and cashews) •1 c unsweetened shredded coconut •8 Medjool dates, pitted (soaked in water for 5-10 minutes) •1 tsp vanilla extract

In a food processor, process the nuts and coconut to the consistency of course sand. Add the dates and vanilla and process until combined well. Press the crust into the bottom of a nonstick spring-form pan or a pie plate. Place the crust in the fridge while you make the filling.

Filling: •2 c macadamia nuts (soaked overnight) •1 package (organic) firm silken tofu (drained) •2 TBSP nutritional yeast •2 TBSP vanilla extract •½ c lemon juice •10 Medjool dates, pitted and soaked in water for 5-10 minutes (blended into a paste with the lemon juice, using a blender or food processor)

The day before you plan on serving, blend the soaked macadamia nuts in a Vitamix or other high powered blender with just enough water to blend until smooth. Pour the mixture into a cheesecloth and let drain overnight.

To make the filling:

In a food processor or high powered blender, process the macadamia cheese and the rest of the filling ingredients until smooth. Pour the filling into your crust and place in the freezer for an hour.

Topping: •1 package of defrosted raspberries, strawberries, blueberries or blackberries (or a combination of your favorites) •2 TBSP chia seeds •2 Medjool dates (blended into a paste with a small amount of lemon juice or water)

Mix all ingredients and leave in the fridge for several hours.

Right before serving, pour the berry mixture over the cake.

* EAT HEALTHY AND THRIVE! Enhance Performance & Recover Faster. Quaility Nutrition is The Competitive Edge! (By Texas & Markus Boesch/Eat Healthy and Thrive)