Celebrate Juneteenth with these plant-based, summertime recipes from Physicians Committee Food for Life instructors.
Juneteenth honors the day—June 19, 1865—that enslaved Black people in Galveston, Texas, learned that they were free—two and a half years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. Many Black American families celebrate and reflect on Juneteenth by having a cookout. We asked Food for Life instructors throughout the United States to share their favorite plant-based summer recipes and traditions! Check out their recipes down below, for a delicious plant-based cookout menu packed with barbecue veggie burgers, salads, sides, desserts, and more!
Green-and-White Summer Salad
Recipe courtesy Tammy Robertson, RN, BSN
Cauliflower is a cruciferous vegetable that contains glucosinolates, which may have anticancer properties. Mushrooms have anticancer and immune-enhancing benefits. White beans, part of the legume family, are high in antioxidants, an excellent source of protein, and have cholesterol-lowering soluble fiber. Onions are part of the allium family. They contain quercetin, which has anti-inflammatory properties. Onions can lower risk of certain cancers and help build a stronger immune system. Quinoa is a pseudo grain high in protein and rich in flavonoids, including quercetin and kaempferol. These are potent plant antioxidants with numerous health benefits. Salad greens contain folate, which builds healthy cells and genetic materials. Enjoy this nutrient-packed, filling, nutritious, and delicious salad!
16 ounces salad greens
1 15-ounce can low-sodium garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups cooked quinoa
7 ounces artichoke hearts packed in water, rinsed and drained
1/2 large onion, cut into 1/4-inch slices
7 ounces hearts of palm packed in water, drained, rinsed and cut into 1/2-inch slices
6 white button mushrooms, cleaned and cut into 1/4-inch slices
2 cups riced cauliflower
1 cup frozen fire-roasted white corn, thawed
Arrange lettuce on the bottom of a large bowl. On top of the greens, going around the bowl in a clockwise circular direction, arrange each ingredient around the edge of the salad bowl until you have small piles of each. Drizzle your favorite low-fat plant-based salad dressing just prior to serving.
Ancestry Bean Salad (Black-Eyed Pea Salad)
Recipe courtesy Sharon Matthews, MPH
In addition to being nutritious and delicious, black-eyed peas are considered “a symbol of good luck” among some African Americans. Some believe that eating black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day brings good luck for the coming year. It is believed that this tradition dates back to the first day of 1863, the day the Emancipation Proclamation went into effect. It is also believed that on this day, enslaved people celebrated their freedom with a meal that included black-eyed peas.
Whether true or superstition, the black-eyed pea holds a significant place in African American history because early records dating back to the 1600s indicate that black-eyed peas were transported from West Africa to the West Indies by enslaved people and subsequently traveled with enslaved Africans as the slave trade moved into the United States.
In my mind, black-eyed peas are magical because they are in the DNA of the diet of many people of African ancestry. I have read that the black-eyed pea received its name from the “black eye” in the center of the bean. As for me, I nicknamed the black-eyed pea the “ancestry bean.”
1 cup dried black-eyed peas
3 cups water
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1 cup carrots, thinly sliced and cut in half moons
1/2 cup kalamata olives, cut in slivers
1/2 cup fresh or frozen yellow corn
2 medium-sized sweet mini red peppers, thinly sliced
1 heaping tablespoon of sweet brown rice miso
3 tablespoons Bragg apple cider vinegar
Rinse black-eyed peas. Place in a pot with 3 cups of water. Boil for 30 minutes or until tender. Rinse in cold water. Place in a bowl. Add scallions, olives, corn, and red peppers.
Mix dressing ingredients in bowl (miso and apple cider vinegar). Pour dressing over black-eye peas, scallions, carrots, olives, and red pepper mixture. Toss and chill. Serve over a bed of lettuce or greens.
Recipe courtesy Cheryl Marshall
Potato salad is a favorite dish of mine and many African American families. Since my childhood, it has been a summertime complement to anything barbecued. It was one of the first dishes I learned how to make the vegan version of for my family.
5 pounds red potatoes
1 1/2 cups vegan mayonnaise (store-bought or make your own)
1 medium onion, diced
1 medium green pepper, diced
1 cup sweet relish
1/3 cup mustard
1/3 cup nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
Paprika for garnish
Cut potatoes into 1/2-inch cubes. Place potatoes in a large pot and boil for about 15 to 20 minutes. Don’t overcook. They should be al dente or slightly firm. Drain potatoes and allow to cool or run under cool water.
In a mixing bowl, add onions, green peppers, sweet relish, mustard, nutritional yeast, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Mix all ingredients well. Add potatoes, mix well, and sprinkle paprika on top.
Place in refrigerator until cool. Serve chilled.
Pasta Salad Delight
Recipe courtesy Lori Washington
This dish is perfect for a family picnic or barbecue! Your guests will never know this dish is chock-full of fiber from the pasta, and the dressing offers a great source of plant protein, calcium, and iron. How about that for a healthy pasta dish served up with love!
16 ounces brown rice pasta (available in most grocery stores)
1/2 tablespoon onion powder
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon celery salt (or 1/4 cup chopped celery)
1/8 teaspoon smoked paprika (to mix in salad)
1/8 teaspoon smoked paprika (to use for garnish, optional)
1/4 cup chopped onions
3/4 cup sweet relish (do not drain)
1/2 cup sweet green peas (optional, I use frozen, let them thaw)
2 tablespoons sweet spicy mustard
4 tablespoons fat-free Italian dressing
1 1/2 cup mayonnaise (recipe below; or use vegan mayonnaise, but that will change this recipe from a healthy pasta salad to a higher fat version)
Mayonnaise Recipe (Eazy-Peezy)*
*This recipe is a modified version from The Starch Solution by Dr. John & Mary McDougall
1 12.3-ounce box silken tofu drained in strainer (do not use refrigerated; use shelf stable)
1.5 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon mustard powder
1/8 teaspoon ground white pepper
Boil pasta according to directions. In the meantime, chop the onions and celery. Drain and rinse pasta with cold water. Add drained pasta to mixing bowl and add sweet relish, chopped celery, and onions and mix together with pasta. Add the spices (onion powder, black pepper, celery salt, smoked paprika) and mix into pasta.
To make the mayonnaise, mix all mayonnaise ingredients in a mini food processor until smooth. Be sure to use the silken tofu in the grocery aisle and not the refrigerator section to get that smooth and creamy texture.
Add the dressings (sweet spicy mustard, Italian dressing, and mayonnaise) and gently mix dressing into pasta. Lastly, fold sweet peas into pasta. Then pour into serving dish and garnish with smoked paprika.
Note: Be sure to leave peas out at room temperature or microwave prior to adding to your salad.
BBQ Baked Beans
Recipe courtesy of Deitra Dennis, RN, NBC-HWC
Baked beans are a classic cookout favorite, and these get a boost of flavor from barbecue sauce and vegan Worcestershire sauce. Meatless crumbles add a plant-based twist and pump up the protein already provided by the beans.
1/2 medium sweet onion, diced
1/2 medium green bell pepper, diced
2 garlic gloves, minced
1 vegetable bouillon cube (my preference is Edward & Sons Not-Beef Seasoning Cubes)
1/2 package meatless crumbles
2 28-ounce cans Bush’s Vegetarian Baked Beans
1 tablespoon vegan Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon liquid smoke
1 tablespoon barbecue sauce
1 tablespoon molasses
1 tablespoon ketchup
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Heat a medium-size skillet (test readiness by adding a drop of water; it’s ready when there are bubbles). Add onions and bell pepper and saute until they are translucent (or soft). Add water (if you notice the vegetables sticking, use 1 tablespoon at a time). Add the garlic and saute for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add the veggie crumbles (cook according to the package).
In a baking dish, combine the cooked veggie crumbles, onion, and green bell pepper with all remaining ingredients. Stir until ingredients are thoroughly combined.
Place into oven uncovered. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and let stand for 5 minutes.
Smoky Maple Mustard Kebabs
Recipe courtesy Sahrah Yashaahla
4 servings (8 kebabs)
Vegetable kebabs with tempeh are my new sweet-and-savory summer favorite. Grilled or roasted, these kebabs are fresh and delicious. With a hint of sweet maple syrup and zesty Dijon mustard, the marinade will complement any of your favorite vegetables. Kebabs have always been my go-to for grilling. Experimenting with different marinades and sauces makes this easy favorite different every time I make it!
1/4 cup vegetable broth
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons liquid aminos or soy sauce
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke
1 package tempeh
1 red onion
1 red pepper
8 wooden skewers soaked in water for at least an hour
Combine marinade ingredients in a bowl or jar. Mix well.
Chop tempeh into half-inch cubes. Steam the tempeh cubes for at least 10 minutes.
Cut squash and zucchini lengthwise. Then cut into half-inch slices. Chop onion and red pepper in half-inch to one-inch pieces.
Place tempeh and vegetables in a glass dish. Cover with marinade. Marinate at least an hour up to overnight in the refrigerator. Rotate tempeh and vegetables while marinating to distribute the marinade evenly. Reserve marinade to brush on while grilling or roasting (optional).
Use skewers to create kebabs. Alternate vegetables and tempeh until skewer is full. Grill for 10 to 15 minutes, turning to cook evenly. Be careful not to overcook.
Optional: Roast in the oven at 450 F for 15 minutes instead of grilling.
Recipe courtesy Granetta Coleman
No cookout is complete without a burger! Everyone will enjoy these tasty bean-based burgers that are packed with protein and loaded with fiber. Research shows that beans satisfy hunger more than meat.
1/4 cup onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
13- to 15-ounce can low-sodium cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup barbecue sauce (preferably, low sodium)
4 whole-wheat burger buns*
Optional toppings: lettuce, spinach, tomato slices, pickles, hot peppers, sliced onions, avocado
Mash the beans with a fork or potato masher. Add the remaining ingredients and blend until well combined.
Cut in the mixture to form 4 even sections. Gather a section at a time and roll it into a ball and flatten the ball to form a patty. Repeat with each section to form 4 patties.
Spray skillet with nonstick spray and brown burgers over medium heat until lightly browned (about 5 minutes). Flip the burgers and lightly brown (about 5 minutes) the other side.
Serve on a bun with toppings.
*Note: You can also skip the bun and wrap the burgers in a romaine lettuce leaf.
Grilled Portobello Mushroom Hoagie
Recipe courtesy Diane Callaway
Mushrooms are a must in every diet. They have cancer-fighting properties. The most popular types include maitake, cremini, portobello, and white button. Any cook, especially a beginner, can be very creative with a variety of mushroom dishes. All types of mushrooms are full of fiber, help to decrease cholesterol, and contain vitamin D.
6 fresh portobello mushrooms
1 medium white or red onion
6 sundried tomatoes
2 tablespoons capers
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar (more if needed)
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tomato, sliced
Discard stem from mushrooms cap and wipe cap off with a clean paper towel. Slice mushrooms 1/4-inch thick and place in a quart-size Ziploc plastic bag. Pour the balsamic vinegar over the mushrooms and add garlic and onion powder along with the red pepper flakes until mushrooms are completely covered. Place bag in the refrigerator for 15-12 minutes.
Heat the grill and place the diced onions, sundried tomatoes, and capers in foil and place on the grill. Remove the mushrooms from refrigerator and place on the heated grill and cook for 10-12 minutes until they begin to darken and slightly shrink. Remove the foil with the onions, capers, and sundried tomatoes and put to the side.
Cut and place whole-wheat hoagie rolls on the grill open side down for 1 minute until lightly toasted. Remove rolls from grill and place lettuce, tomato, onions, capers, and sundried tomatoes in the roll. Place mushrooms on top to keep roll from becoming too soggy.
Optional: vegan mayonnaise, raw onions, jalapeno peppers, sweet peppers
Vanilla Berry Sorbet
Recipe courtesy Chernice Lane Benjamin
This refreshing sorbet makes for a great snack or dessert! Just 1 cup of raspberries has 8 grams of fiber. Insoluble fiber—found in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, beans, and bran—acts like a broom, cleaning your digestive tract. While most people get only 10 to 15 grams of fiber a day, 40 grams per day is recommended for healthy people.
2 cups raspberries or strawberries, frozen or fresh
1/4 cup maple syrup or agave
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon almond extract, optional
In a blender, combine all the ingredients and blend until smooth. Adjust the sweetness to taste, if needed. Pour into a freezer-safe container, cover, and freeze for at least 3 hours, until firm. To serve, let thaw.