(Natural News) Traditional summer backyard barbecues often include hotdogs, burgers and other processed meats, but that doesn’t mean that the next event you host has to include unhealthy food for your guests. If you want to serve healthier snacks for your next barbecue or get together, why not try some plant-based meat alternatives like vegetable fritters or jackfruit pulled “pork” sandwiches?
Healthy can also be tasty
In 2017, an interesting survey from Nielsen revealed that 39 percent or one-third of Americans say they are “actively trying to eat more plant-based foods.” The survey also showed that six percent of American consumers follow a strictly vegetarian lifestyle and three percent follow a strictly vegan lifestyle.
Vanessa Rissetto, a registered dietitian from New York City, explained that having more people eat plant-based foods is a win for both consumers and the environment. Superfoods like lentils and tofu are nutritious meat alternatives, and eating more plant-based foods means you consume more fiber that boosts your gut health.
If you want to follow a healthier diet, check out these plant-based foods that everyone at your next barbecue party can also enjoy.
Even organic tofu can take the place of chicken or pork, if you know how to cook it right.
If you’re grilling, use extra-firm tofu. Give your “steak” a flavor boost by marinating organic tofu in garlic, ginger and coconut aminos with some red pepper flakes for a spicy kick.
Alternatively, you can serve grilled extra-firm tofu in a banh mi by using ingredients like cilantro, hoisin sauce, pickled carrots and radishes and sliced jalapeños. Use mayo sparingly.
If your guests like eating something hearty, serve tasty vegetable fritters. Veggie fritters are also great substitutes for meat and fish patties.
Serve potato and broccoli fritters with a topping like fresh tomato salsa. Alternatively, you can pair veggie fritters with refreshing chimichurri or pesto. (Related: Turn any meat or dairy dish into a healthy plant-based alternative.)
If you can’t give up meat, serve an irresistible veggie platter to entice your guests. Getting them to enjoy vegetables along with their burgers is better than serving salty potato chips full of sodium and preservatives.
But instead of going with boring veggie sticks and dip, prepare something more appetizing by grilling vegetables and a hummus dip.
Serve a colorful veggie platter for your centerpiece and include delicious, grilled vegetables like:
- Asparagus spears
- Baby artichokes
- Bell pepper strips
- Blanched Brussels sprouts
- Blanched carrots
- Broccoli spears
- Fennel wedges
- Yellow squash slices
Pulled “pork” jackfruit sandwich recipe
Jackfruit, a Southeast Asian superfood, is popular among vegans and vegetarians because it’s a natural and delicious meat alternative. The fruit is also dense and chewy, making it the perfect ingredient for filling vegan sandwiches.
When cooked right, even jackfruit can fool meat-eaters into thinking they’re eating pork and not fruit. The fleshy interior of jackfruit has a texture and consistency similar to meat. To make a vegan pulled “pork” sandwich, substitute jackfruit for meat.
Follow the recipe below to make jackfruit pulled pork sandwiches!
Ingredients for two servings of pulled jackfruit:
- 3/4 cup low- or no-sodium BBQ-sauce
- 1/4 cup vegetable broth
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 20-ounce cans of young green jackfruit in brine or water
- 2 tsp brown sugar
- 2 tsp paprika powder
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp liquid smoke (optional)
- 1 pinch of red pepper flakes
- Black pepper, to taste
- Salt, to taste
Ingredients for the vegan ranch sauce:
- 1/2 cup vegan mayonnaise
- 1 Tbsp parsley, finely chopped
- 1 Tbsp soy milk
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- Black pepper, to taste
- Salt, to taste
Ingredients for the sandwiches:
- 2 Buns
- 1 Avocado
- 1 Tomato
- Drain and rinse the jackfruit, then remove the core and put the fruit in a mixing bowl. Stir in the brown sugar, cumin and paprika, then cover the fruit pieces evenly with the spices.
- In a medium-sized pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Saute the onion for three minutes or until it becomes translucent. Add the garlic then cook for another minute.
- Add the jackfruit to the onion and garlic and cook for three more minutes.
- Add the BBQ sauce, the optional liquid smoke and the vegetable broth. Cook everything for another 15 to 20 minutes.
- Use a fork to shred the jackfruit, then set it aside.
- To prep the vegan ranch sauce, combine all ingredients in a small bowl.
- Serve the pulled jackfruit on a bun with the avocado, tomatoes, lettuce and ranch sauce.
Note that jackfruit can have a lot of sodium. Manage your sodium intake by using low- or no-sodium sauces for a guilt-free pulled “pork” sandwich.
Serving both lean cuts of meat and healthier plant-based meat alternatives gives your guests lots of nutritious options while also ensuring that they’re eating healthy snacks as you celebrate summer.
Visit Ingredients.news for more articles about other vegan-friendly ingredients and recipes.