Photo: Fireworks Display

by Tracy Ternes

Friends, family, fun, fireworks…and food!  July is the heart of summer and the heart of summer fun! We want to give you some ideas for easy, fun, and tasty summertime recipes that you can whip up for a Fourth of July potluck, a picnic at the beach, a backyard barbeque or a mellow night on the patio at home. Keep things simple and fresh so you can have plenty of time to relax and soak up the good vibes of summertime.

Finger Foods

Easy appetizers and finger foods are the stars of the potluck. If you’re short on time or just not up for cooking, Down to Earth has many pre-made options like frozen mock meats (Gardein brand has some really great choices); just heat up and arrange on a plate with a toothpick in each piece and some dipping sauce on the side. Vegetable rolls, pot stickers, samosas, or taquitos are also great finger foods that can be found in the freezer section.

Or, try these easy recipes:

Barbeque

Summertime and barbequing go hand in hand. If you’re new to a plant-based diet, you might be wondering what to take to the cookout. Rest assured, you will not go hungry…

Aside from the plethora of veggie dogs, veggie burger patties, mock meats, and tofu that grill up so nicely (Down to Earth carries many choices of all these), this is your chance to experience the satisfaction of throwing any and all vegetables onto a grill and seeing the magic that happens! Simply slice your veggies, brush with olive oil or with sauce if you wish, and grill to perfection.

Corn, onions, bell peppers, mushrooms and zucchini are good to start off, but don’t be afraid to experiment. Even fruits like pineapple, peaches and watermelon can be grilled!

Here is a great Kabob recipe that you can tweak according to the veggies you have:

Grilled Veggie Kabobs
This recipe calls for veggie sausages and Italian dressing, but feel free to substitute tofu or seitan and barbeque sauce.

Tofu tip: For a “meatier” texture of tofu that cooks faster, freeze a block of tofu overnight, then defrost. You’ll be able to easily squeeze out all the water and end up with a chewier texture that can be grilled or baked more quickly. Frozen tofu also becomes very juicy when marinated as it absorbs more of the marinade.

Down to Earth carries a variety of sauces, all free of artificial colors, flavors and sweeteners (try Ginger People or Annie’s as well as our local brands) but you can also make your own with one of these recipes:

Any of the above sauces can also be used as a marinade for tofu, tempeh or seitan or as a spread for veggie burgers. Don’t forget to pick up some buns to go with your burgers and dogs! Down to Earth carries regular and gluten-free varieties, with all-natural ingredients.

Summer Salads

Showcase the colorful sweetness of summer produce with these salads:

DIY Ice Cream Sundae Bar

A selection of ice cream + all the toppings you can dream up = a crowd-pleasing dessert with endless possibilities! Feel free to go crazy with this one.

Down to Earth has an impressive selection of organic ice cream, including non-dairy ice cream, and an assortment of toppings and sauces. Explore our bulk bins for candies, chocolates, and nuts. We also carry ice cream cones, sprinkles, coconut shreds, fresh and canned fruit toppings and of course, chocolate and caramel sauce. The best part is, everything we carry is free of artificial colors, flavors and sweeteners!

Try dipping cones in melted chocolate and dipping them in sprinkles. Arrange all your ice creams, cones and toppings around a table, along with dishes and spoons, and allow everyone to come up with their own creations.

Add some homemade flare with these easy recipes:

Photos: Ice Cream Toppings and Cones

Drinks

Stop by Down to Earth on your way to the beach and pick up some refreshing canned or bottled beverages for the ice chest, or mix up one of these at home:

Down to Earth is your source for summer yumminess! Together, lets make summer memorable, care-free and full of healthy, fresh, FUN and delicious foods.