Which means a long holiday weekend, family reunions, fireworks, parades, barbecues and having a vaguely (okay pretty) idea of what this holiday is about — in case you don’t know, Independence Day is the birthday of the US as a free and independent nation (just saying...)
But let's focus on what really matters for all Americans: cookouts.
We take pride in our barbecues, and we’re not afraid to admit it. Oh, how we love all things grilled!
We’re all looking forward to all out BBQ faves — burgers, hot dogs, grilled corn on the cob, chicken kabobs and potato salad. Just to name a few.
If you're hosting a BBQ or a party this weekend, you have to remember that a good host knows how to make every single guest at home.
It’s your job to ask if anyone coming over has certain dietary restriction, allergies or preferences (e.g., vegan)
Ask ahead of time and do your research.
Remember, you’re inviting people over to eat, so it’s important to make sure that everyone can eat.
Most people usually associate BBQ’s with huge amounts of marinated meat being grilled onto a hot barbecue.
So what about your vegetarian/vegan friends?
It’s not a party if someone can only munch on bread for the whole day. Or if they have to fill their plates with boring side dishes (lettuce and tomatoes anyone?)
Make sure that there are good options for them as well.
Corn on the cob and veggie burgers are definitely a nice choice, and so are veggie kebabs, made with eggplant, zucchini and bell peppers.
Recently, I have grown a new love for grilled tomatoes. They’re the best.
Tomatoes marinated in balsamic vinegar, olive oil and fresh herbs, grilled until brown and slightly charred. That’s the real thing people, no joking around.
Now picture this: A green chopped salad, full of greens (obviously), avocado, cucumber, scallions and almonds, served with a balsamic dressing and with some balsamic-grilled cherry tomato skewers.
It doesn’t get much better than this, does it?
This is a nice dish to serve at a cookout, because you can prep the salad and the dressing ahead of time. When you fire up the barbecue, you can throw on the grill the tomato kebabs and let your vegetarian/vegan friends participate in the BBQ just as much as the next person.
And for the record, you should serve this salad to your omnivore friends as well — it really doesn’t hurt to eat some veggies while eating copious amount of meat.
One last note, make sure to clean of any meat fat on the part of the barbecue that you are going to cook food for your vegetarian/vegan friends.
If you are using more than one grill, you could even use one just for the veggies and make sure your meat-loving guests don’t plonk their meat on it.
You want to be a good host, respectful of other people's dietary choices or needs.
Let’s not forget that the United States is a country founded on the principles of freedom, justice, and tolerance. On its birthday, let’s put those principles into action.
Green Chopped Salad with Balsamic-Grilled Cherry Tomato Skewers Print this recipe!
Cherry tomato skewers
24 cherry tomatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon chopped thyme
1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
Fresh ground pepper to taste
4 to 6 wooden skewers soaked in water for 30 minutes (or metal skewers)
Green chopped salad
1 head romaine lettuce, chopped
3 handfuls baby spinach, chopped
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and thinly sliced
1 handful fresh basil leaves, chopped
2 avocados, peeled, seeded and cut into ½-inch cubes
2 scallions, white and light green parts, chopped
½ cup / 2.1 oz / 60 gr slivered almonds (or your favourite nuts)
3 large handfuls green beans, steamed and chopped (optional)
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Pinch fine grain sea salt
Pinch freshly ground black pepper
To assemble the salad, divide chopped romaine lettuce and spinach in 4 individual bowl (or in one large bowl). Top with sliced cucumber, basil, diced avocado, chopped scallions, slivered almonds and green beans (if using). Set aside until ready to serve.
To make the dressing combine olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper into a jar (or a small bowl). Put the lid on the jar and shake well. Set aside until ready to serve.
To make cherry tomato skewers, in a large bowl whisk together the oil, vinegar, minced garlic and thyme in a medium bowl. Add the tomatoes and toss to coat. Let tomatoes sit at room temperature for 30 minutes to marinate.
Heat the grill (or a grill pan) to high.
Remove the tomatoes from the marinade and skewer 6 cherry tomatoes per skewer.
Season on both sides with salt and pepper and grill until golden brown and slightly charred on both sides, about 6 minutes (depending on how hot your barbecue is).
Arrange grilled cherry tomato skewers on top of salad bowls and drizzle with balsamic dressing.
One serving yields 380 calories, 30 grams of fat, 24 grams of carbs and 7 grams of protein.