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Vegan recipes to try this Memorial Day

With Memorial Day marking the start of the summer grilling season, it’s time to dig out the charcoal, uncover the grill and celebrate the flavors of a new season.

Whether you are opening your home for a cookout this holiday weekend or heading to a friend’s for a Memorial Day barbecue, one way to add some variety is by sharing a vegan dish. Free of animal products or by-products — such as dairy, eggs or honey — this Memorial Day is a great time to share meatless food with friends and family. In fact, observing a meat-free day just once a week can reduce the chance of heart-related disease, maintain a healthy weight and improve the environment, the Meatless Monday Campaign reported.

Here are some vegan-friendly recipes to try at a cookout this weekend.

Start off with a fresh kale salad by midwestern blogger, Kate — a vegetarian. The popularity of this leafy green has skyrocketed due to its calcium and vitamin A contents, Shape Magazine reported. With healthy fats from avocado and a zesty vinaigrette dressing, this is a salad that can be shared between guests, vegan or not.

When it’s time to start grilling, skewers are simple, classic and allow some flexibility. These grilled vegetable skewers from Taste of Home feature popular summer vegetables like corn and zucchini. Adding peppers is a good way to boost flavor. Or add some cubed tofu — extra firm works best — to increase protein content.

Ditch the frozen veggie burger this weekend with this grillable bean burger from food blog A Couple Cooks. This meatless main dish will satisfy the biggest appetites with protein sourced from beans and omega fats from the almonds and seeds. These natural fatty acids are beneficial for maintaining heart health and can even reduce cholesterol, Mayo Clinic explained.

What’s a cookout without some form of potatoes? Pass on the potato salad — usually made with eggs or mayonnaise — and throw these cilantro lime sweet potato fries from Food Network on the grill while it’s still fired up. Grilling this starch rather than frying it adds crunch and reduces fat content, so don’t feel guilty reaching for seconds.

If you saved room, take a twist on an American classic with a rhubarb apple pie, originally from Dynise Balcavage of Urban Vegan but featured on The Today Show. Don’t be frightened by the recipe calling for vegan baking substitution ingredients — most of them are available at any supermarket in the health section or right alongside the non-vegan alternatives.

May your cooking adventures this weekend be just as delicious as they are eco-friendly.

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