Along with celebrating Independence Day, July 4th is also a time to celebrate another beloved summer tradition – a good old-fashioned backyard BBQ, complete with checkered tablecloths, plenty of ice-cold brews, and the largest inflatable pool toys money can buy. Don’t own a pool? Neither do we, but that doesn’t stop us from proudly displaying the Stars and Stripes, firing up the grill, and plying our family and friends with a plethora of quintessentially American picnic foods. Imagine sinking your choppers into a buffet of juicy, flame-broiled burgers, creamy potato salad, deviled eggs, garden-fresh beans, and last but not least, bright, sunny lemon bars. Sound like the perfect outdoor meal? It will be if you follow the healthy July 4th recipes below. Each is a wholesome spin on a popular seasonal dish. Surprisingly, all it takes to turn a nostalgic warm-weather meal into an uber-nutritious (and utterly delicious) smorgasbord are a few additional plant-based and probiotic-rich ingredients. Of course, whether you choose to share that secret is up to you. We doubt your guests will be contemplating healthy dining options as they line up for seconds (and possibly thirds) of their favorite summer foods.
Start your party off right with this Asian take on an iconic American finger food. There’s a reason kimchi is such an important ingredient in Asian cuisine. Not only does the natural fermentation process promote the growth of beneficial bacteria, which aids in digestion, it also infuses veggies with a pleasant zesty tang. As a result, these melt-in-your-mouth golden orbs are the perfect blend of smooth and creamy and hot and spicy. Add a touch of smoked paprika and a crumble of crisped bacon for a winning recipe that’s sure to “wow” every time.
We have food blogger extraordinaire Jess Larson to thank for this gem. All you need are five readily accessible ingredients, a large bowl, and a hot grill to whip up a thick meaty turkey burger that’s juicy and flavorful enough to rival any beef burger, but without all the artery-clogging saturated fat. Want to boost your health creds even further? Replace the mayo with yogurt (or even better, a plant-based yogurt alternative). Larson also offers up several handy grilling tips, as well as suggestions on easy ways to change up your burgers’ flavor profiles. How’s a Chipotle, Lemon Herb, or Moroccan burger sound? If you’re anything like us, you’ll want to try each one.
No reputable list of healthy July 4th recipes would be complete without a meatless burger option, and we’ve hit the jackpot with this five-star winner from food blogger and cookbook author Richa Hingle. (Many thanks to The Vegan8 for discovering this burger, but not-a-burger, recipe.) One hundred percent vegan and packed with protein, the herbal flavors (garlic, cumin, cilantro, oregano, chipotle) in Hingle’s popular patty creep up on you slowly before finishing strong with a powerful punch of ginger and jalapeño. One explosive bite will have your head (and taste buds) spinning.
Yukon Gold potatoes, candied red onions, and sauerkraut are the undisputed stars of this iconic picnic side. Along with providing a potent dose of gut-healthy probiotics, the inclusion of wildbrine’s Dill and Garlic Kraut also offers up a surprising tartness and crunchy texture that contrasts nicely with the cool creaminess of the salad’s yogurt dressing. No matter how much you might try to resist, it’s hard to argue with a bite that’s both delicious and nutritious!
You’d be hard-pressed to find any dish with a healthier profile than this assortment of garden-fresh green, yellow, Romano, and French beans, all lightly tossed in a dressing made with wildbrine Arame and Ginger Kraut, toasted sesame seeds, and gluten-free soy. Vegetables, in general, are packed with essential vitamins and minerals that boost our immunity and keep our bodies running smoothly. However, legumes or beans of all ilk have the added distinction of being a great source of fiber, as well as plant-based proteins, which are the cellular building blocks we depend on for healthy tissue growth. So, when it’s time to dig into this veggie extravaganza, don’t be afraid to over-indulge. This is one instance where more is definitely better.
Sunshine on a plate – that’s the best way to describe these bright, citrusy dessert bars, which hail from the kitchen of veteran foodie and blogger Leah Goldglantz. Forget that the ingredients in her yummy handheld treats are vegan, probiotic-rich, and dairy-free. And also forget that those same ingredients are high in magnesium, copper, vitamin E, and riboflavin, essential nutrients your body craves. All you really need to know about these tart “made-for-summer” bites is that they are (to borrow a phrase) “irresistibly delicious.” Each is composed of a coconut- and maple-sweetened, thick, lemony custard sitting atop a sticky, gooey crust of crushed almonds, chopped Medjool dates, and sea salt. If that’s not worth waiting in line for, we don’t know what is!
Summer is in full swing, and we can’t wait to sample nature’s bounty while dining (à la picnic basket) in the great outdoors. But, while we care about healthy eating, we care even more about eye-popping, jaw-dropping flavor. Do you feel the same way? Then, give the healthy July 4th recipes above a try. You have our word; they won’t disappoint!