Healthy Fourth of July Menu for a Crowd

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Healthy Menu for a Crowd

The Fourth of July typically means celebrating summer in all its glory. It’s time to fire up the grill, gather your friends, and soak up the sunshine before the fireworks begin. The holiday often means also serving up summer flavors. You need a menu to feed a crowd. However, you don’t want to spend all day in a hot kitchen. Don’t worry. I’ve got you covered.

From the entrees to side dishes and festive desserts, here are some delicious recipes for your party. They’re all plant-based, oil-free, healthy vegan. You get all of the flavor and none of the guilt.

Fourth of July Healthy Summer Appetizers

Persian Cucumbers filled with Baba Ghanouj

Instead of serving your typical pita chips or pretzels, use small Persian cucumbers to hold creamy dips like Baba Ghanouj. Use a spoon to scoop out the center, and fill them up. Add some sliced radish and a sprinkling of smoked salt for a fancy touch. Light, refreshing, and healthy!

Persian Cucumbers filled with Baba Ghanouj, sliced Radish, smoked Salt
Persian Cucumbers filled with Baba Ghanouj, sliced Radish, smoked Salt

Jicama Chips with Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

Another grain-free option for fried chips is to use jicama “chips”. Jicama is a root vegetable with a crunchy texture and neutral flavor, making it ideal for any toppings. Spread on some easy Roasted Red Pepper Hummus. Garnish with purple radishes for a fun red, white, and blue theme.

Jicama Chip with Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
Jicama Chip with Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

Sunflower Seed and Carrot Pate

This creamy pate from Gena at The Full Helping use sunflower seeds as the base. Sunflower seeds are more affordable than most nuts. Plus, they soak up flavor quickly. With a little bit of grated carrot and lemon juice, this makes the perfect spread for a summer party. Serve it with crackers or fill mini peppers and mushroom caps.

Sunflower Seed and Carrot Pate from The Full Helping
Sunflower Seed and Carrot Pate from The Full Helping

Lettuce Cups with Watermelon Salad

Fresh lettuce leaves make the perfect grain-free cup for a summer appetizer. Radicchio, endive, and Boston Bibb offer fun colors and simple flavor. For a simple filling, combine diced watermelon and cucumber with fresh herbs like dill, parsley, cilantro, or basil. This is light, refreshing, and healthy. Your guests will be impressed!

Lettuce Cups with Watermelon Salad

Fourth of July Salads for a Crowd

Smoky Broccoli Pecan Crunch Salad

Smoky-sweet and full of crunchy texture, this beautiful raw salad is a must-have for summer picnics and barbeques. An irresistible oil-free dressing comes together with spicy brown mustard, apples, and pecans. You can make the salad and dressing ahead of time. The day of your party, simply combine and serve.

Raw Shaved Cabbage Apple Pecan Crunch Salad - Healthy, Plant-Based, Oil-Free, Gluten-Free, Raw Vegan Slaw Recipe
Raw Shaved Cabbage Apple Pecan Crunch Salad – Healthy, Plant-Based, Oil-Free, Gluten-Free, Raw Vegan Slaw Recipe

Healthy Vegan German Potato Salad

This simple recipe is a healthy twist on a classic summer favorite.  Traditionally made with bacon and cider vinegar, this plant-based version gets bold flavor from smoked salt and spicy brown mustard. This is an easy dish to stretch. Simply add a few more potatoes. For a festive version, mix it up with tri-color potatoes: Red skin, Yukon Gold, and Purple potatoes. This is a dish even carnivoers will love.

German Potato Salad - Healthy, plant-based, oil-free, fat-free, gluten-free, easy vegan recipe
German Potato Salad – Healthy, plant-based, oil-free, fat-free, gluten-free, easy vegan recipe

Italian Three Bean Salad

This is another great recipe for showing off the garden’s bounty! Use fresh green beans or show off with some of the other colorful varieties. Waxy yellow, purple, and red kidney beans would make this a fun red, white, and blue dish. This classic salad is full of fresh flavor. Plus, you’ll love how easy it is to make!

Italian Three Bean Salad -Healthy, Gluten-free, Oil-free, Plant-Based, Vegan Recipe
Italian Three Bean Salad -Healthy, Gluten-free, Oil-free, Plant-Based, Vegan Recipe

Whole Wheat Orzo Ratatouille Vegetable Pasta Salad

Whole wheat orzo pasta cooks up like thick rice. It holds its “al dente” texture, which makes it perfect for cold pasta salad. Ratatouille vegetables like eggplant, zucchini, and bell pepper create a colorful dish. You can show off your summer garden with this plant-based recipe. The best part? Leftovers make a healthy, satisfying lunch. Better make extras.

Whole Wheat Orzo Ratatouille Vegetable Pasta Salad - Healthy, Plant-Based, Oil-Free, Italian, Summer Vegan Recipe
Whole Wheat Orzo Ratatouille Vegetable Pasta Salad – Healthy, Plant-Based, Oil-Free, Italian, Summer Vegan Recipe

Fruit Mocktail Salad

Instead of frozen fruit pops or pudding cups that can be full of chemicals and artificial ingredients, serve up a big fruit salad. Fruit is a healthy way to stay hydrated and satisfy that sweet tooth. This easy plant-based recipe uses peaches, pears, and fresh cherries. However, you can use whatever fruit is on sale and in-season for your area.

Fruit Mocktail Salad - Easy, Healthy, Plant-Based, Gluten-Free, Essential Vegan Dessert and Breakfast Recipe
Fruit Mocktail Salad – Easy, Healthy, Plant-Based, Gluten-Free, Essential Vegan Dessert and Breakfast Recipe

Fourth of July Satisfying Plant-Based Side Dishes

Chipotle Baked Beans

Growing up in the south, baked beans was a standard summer side dish. They were often flavored with bacon and a sugary sauce. This healthy vegan remake gets a smoky, spicy kick from chipotle powder. Dates and molasses add natural sweetness. You can make a big batch in the oven or the Slow Cooker. This is sooooo good…you’ll be licking the spoon.

Chipotle Barbecue Baked Beans - Healthy, Gluten-Free, Oil-Free, Plant-Based Vegan Summer Picnic Recipe
Chipotle Barbecue Baked Beans – Healthy, Gluten-Free, Oil-Free, Plant-Based Vegan Summer Picnic Recipe

Sweet Corn Succotash

This favorite Southern recipe comes in a million variations. The fundamentals of succotash are simple: corn, lima beans, and fresh thyme.  Use up your summer garden with diced zucchini, red potatoes, or okra. You can serve this healthy vegan side dish warm or cold. Extras make awesome leftovers for lunches.

Sweet Summer Corn Succotash - Healthy, Gluten-Free, Oil-Free, Plant-Based, Vegan Recipe
Sweet Summer Corn Succotash – Healthy, Gluten-Free, Oil-Free, Plant-Based, Vegan Recipe

Homestyle Green Beans and Potatoes

This side dish from Susan at FatFree Vegan reminds me of the green beans my parents would bring to parties. Ours were made with smoky Joe bacon. But, Susan makes her plant-based version using smoked salt. While my childhood version often used canned potatoes (yes, it’s a thing), this healthy recipe opts for fresh. If you’ve never had this before, try it. It will soon become a favorite.

Homestyle Green Beans and Potatoes from FatFree Vegan

Roasted Corn on the Cob with Garlic Shallot “Buttah”

Roasted garlic, shallots, and creamy cashews create a ridiculous plant-based “buttah. You won’t believe how delicious this vegan butter tastes! Spread it on sweet roasted corn on the cob. Your Fourth of July party has never been “buttah“.

Roasted Corn with Garlic Shallot Plant-Based “Buttah”: Vegan Butter Substitute - Oil-Free, Gluten-Free, Sauce, Dip, Condiment Recipe
Roasted Corn with Garlic Shallot Plant-Based “Buttah”: Vegan Butter Substitute – Oil-Free, Gluten-Free, Sauce, Dip, Condiment Recipe

Fourth of July Easy Summer Desserts

Vegan Tofu Lemon Curd with Berries

Lemon, berries, and a festive presentation. Need I say more? Tofu and dates create the sweet, creamy base for this healthy dessert. Whip up a batch ahead of time and you’re ready to party! Your guests will love how light this is. Plus, you’ll love that you didn’t have to turn on the oven.

Vegan Tofu Lemon Curd with Berries - Healthy, Plant-Based, Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Oil-Free, Summer Dessert Recipe
Vegan Tofu Lemon Curd with Berries – Healthy, Plant-Based, Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Oil-Free, Summer Dessert Recipe

Peach, Plum, Wild Blueberry Summer Oat Crisp

If you want to show off the sweet fruits of summer, a simple fruit crisp is the easiest way to do it. Use any ripe stone fruits for this healthy dessert. Add fresh berries for extra juicy flavors. This is an easy recipe to stretch for a crowd. Plus, it’s gluten-free and vegan: easy to please all of your guests.

Peach, Plum, Blueberry Crisp - Healthy, Plant-Based, Gluten-Free, No Sugar Added, Oil-Free Vegan Summer Dessert Recipe
Peach, Plum, Blueberry Crisp – Healthy, Plant-Based, Gluten-Free, No Sugar Added, Oil-Free Vegan Summer Dessert Recipe

Fresh Watermelon Slice

Summer is watermelon season! Juicy, fresh watermelon is a sweet treat for your picnic. This makes the easiest dessert for a crowd. Cut it into slices and let everyone enjoy healthy snacking all day. If you get the kind with seeds, you can even practice your spitting aim with fun games. This treat is budget-friendly, fun, healthy, and simply delicious!

Fresh, Sweet, Juicy Wateremelon
Fresh, Sweet, Juicy Wateremelon

Make These?  Let me Know!

If you give any of these bean recipes a try, let me know!  Leave a comment, or take a picture and tag it @chefkatiesimmons or #plantsule on Instagram.

Peace and chickpeas, Chef Katie

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