Just because youâ€™re vegan, or trying to be, doesnâ€™t mean you have to give up grilling altogether or subject yourself to a summer of Boca burgers. Plenty of healthy and amazingly good vegan burgers and dogs hold up just fine on the grill. So first, three quick reminders of why weâ€™re inviting all our not-yet-vegan friends to try them, and then, with the help of Compassionate Cuisine Chef Linda, letâ€™s get grillinâ€™!
1. You want to be a responsible citizen. As confusing as it was before I began to educate myself, I now understand that the very best way I can care for the only planet we have is to refrain from eating animal products. Plant-based eating uses far less water, far less energy, far less land, and far fewer crops (most of our corn and soy is grown to feed animals). According to the EPA, the comparative impact of methane, released by cows and other ruminants (as well as by landfills, swampland, etc.), is over 20 times greater than carbon dioxide in its impact on global warming. I used to love burgers as much as the next person. But friends, animal agriculture is destroying the world â€” our air, our water, our topsoil, our biodiversity. And as the leading cause of global warming, it is destroying entire communities and costing human and animal lives. Consider being a good citizen of the Earth by acknowledging what science knows to be true, and changing your behavior in response.
2. You love animals. Â Hot dogs and hamburgers are made from pigs, some of the most exceptional individuals Iâ€™ve ever known, or cows â€” gentle, kind, and sensitive animals. Iâ€™m sure it will surprise you that many pigs love to swim, or that Tucker the steerâ€™s very favorite activity is bath time.Â Any ten chickens or cows are as individual as any ten dogs, or any ten humans, and all heartsâ€”human hearts, cat hearts, bird hearts, cow and pig heartsâ€”yearn to sing. Anyone who has spent any time with the remarkable animals at Catskill Animal Sanctuary knows this to be true. If you consider yourself an animal lover, consider extending your compassion to all animals rather than limiting it to your personal animal companions.
3. While you may not be a health nut, you probably donâ€™t want to eat toxic food. Eating highly processed meat is one of the worst dietary choices we can make. After reviewing 7,000 clinical studies of the links between diet and cancer, The World Cancer Research Fund concluded that processed meats (hamburgers, hot dogs, sandwich meats, bacon, etc.) are dangerous for human consumption, citing numerous studies including one that noted a 67 percent increase of pancreatic cancer among those who regularly ate processed meat.
So we hope thatâ€™s enough to inspire friends who are still eating our other friends to try some different options this summer.Â Here are Chef Lindaâ€™s suggestions for cruelty-free summertime fun!
After grilling your favorite vegan dog (we like Field Roast and Tofurkey brands), add any of the following:
- Add a Mexican flair to your not-dog by mixing a few tablespoons of canned black beans with a few tablespoons of fresh or jarred salsa, place on your dog and add a sprinkling of Vegan pepper jack cheese (Daiya brand).
- For the healthy California take on your dog, add thin slices of avocado, sprouts, shredded carrots and a dollop of Veganaise mixed with a little tahini.
- Turn up the heat by making chili dogs with prepared vegan chili (or your own), chopped onions and pickled jalapenos. If youâ€™d like, try vegan sour cream!
- Here’s one that’s unusual but a favorite at home: Â top your dog with mashed potatoes, crumbled vegan bacon and sauerkraut. How many ways can you say “yum”?
Rather try a burger? Iâ€™ve made Lindaâ€™s Mile-High Portobello Burgersâ€”theyâ€™re delish! Additional recipes from her almost-always-sold-out classes are here, including a couple more for burgers. Try some and send your feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org.