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To amp up your grill game, here are some meatless options for your Fourth of July barbeque

grilled kababs and watermelon with chef rdj
Image Credit: Dan Gold // Unsplash. Illustration by Nate Merritt. Graphic by Miquéla Thornton

In the United States of America, the Fourth of July is on the horizon, and as you fire up your grill for this weekend and next Tuesday, you might be thinking of adding some non-meat options, and lower climate-impact foods to your menu.

We’ve got you covered.

For one, there’s always the classic Impossible Burger, a meaty plant-based burger that uses 96% less land and 87% less water than a traditional beef burger, while holding the mustard on greenhouse gas emissions, generating 89% fewer emissions compared to its beef alternatives.

Of course, Impossible’s catalog isn’t limited to burgers – the California-based company has a product suite of plant-based chicken, pork, and sausage to help put a dent in the about 375 million burgers and the 150 million hot dogs consumed in the U.S. every Independence Day. That’s enough hot dogs put together on a kabob and run from L.A. to the nation’s capitol… five times.

If plant-based burgers aren’t your thing, how about considering a lower-impact meat option like salmon burgers, or other seafood for July 4th? While seafood options don’t make the top 10 list of what Americans buy for the holiday, more than $85 million on shrimp and about $50 million on salmon.

It may not compare to the millions spent on pork, beef, and chicken for the Fourth, but plenty of Americans are laying fish on the grill and assembling shrimp and pepper kabobs, that while delicious, also help lower their carbon footprint in comparison to hot dog, ribs, and burger options.

However, if you’re still having a burger craving and plant-based meat isn’t your thing, how about returning to Impossible’s predecessor, veggie burgers?

They pack a nutritious punch to any summer BBQ plate while having a significantly less environmental impact than meat, and sometimes, even meat’s plant-based substitutes. You can even outright replace the burger together, with a portabello mushroom, charred to perfection on the grill after soaking in a smoky marinade.

Speaking of vegetables, are you throwing some on the grill? May we suggest grilled corn on the cob, asparagus, sliced eggplant, zucchini, bell peppers, cherry tomatoes or broccoli, and cauliflower florets seasoned to perfection?

You can even skewer these veggies on a kabob and show your BBQ guests that you’re the ultimate host because simply buying a pack of hotdogs and puns is for amateurs. We’re taking it up a notch. Feel free to check out our Eco Eats series on Instagram for some vegetable-forward dishes that will impress your family and friends even more.

You might even want to consider, lowering your carbon footprint by going with a dairy-free cheese for your burger, or even if you want, substitute the meat with a goat/sheep’s milk cheese called Halloumi which grills nicely.

And for dessert, keep your grill on, because we’re suggesting throwing some watermelon or pineapple slices on and eating them just like that or adding the pineapple on top of a scoop of (dairy-free ice cream) while settling down to watch the fireworks and the newest episodes of Downey’s Dream Cars which just premiered on Max.

These meatless and lower emissions options aren’t just for the Fourth of July and as the summer goes on, adding these items to the grill could help lower your carbon footprint. Alternatives to beef, pork, and chicken aren’t just for the resident vegetarian, vegan, or even pescatarian of the family. They’re for everyone. Happy Fourth!


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