I’m not saying you have to go meatless this 4th of July, but if you’ve been observing Meatless Mondays for a while now, it is possible to celebrate America’s independence without burgers and hot dogs. Of course, you could buy those BBQ staples in their meatless form, but if you’re used to conventional burgers and dogs, you and your guests will probably not like them.

If you want to have a meatless holiday, don’t reach for the fake meat; reach for the fresh, seasonal vegetables and your grill.

From now until July 4, 2011, you can get a free eBook, “Cookouts, Veggie Style!,” from Amazon. You can download the digital cookbook to your Kindle or other device that uses the Kindle app. There are several recipes that would be great for a 4th of July cookout like Roasted Insalta Caprese (the traditional Caprese salad gets the kabob treatment) and Portobello Stuffed with Summer Orzo (that become little mini-vegetarian casseroles).

In addition to the recipes in “Cookouts, Veggie Style!” we’ve got some great meatless recipes and ideas in MNN’s archives to choose from.

  • How to Grill Vegetables – A video that demonstrates various methods of using the grill to cook delicious, seasonal vegetables.
  • Grilled Corn on the Cob – Mark Bittman shares his favorite way to grill corn on the cob. Corn is a must-have at any 4th of July celebration, whether it’s meatless or not.
  • Sourdough Panzanella with Summer Vegetables – No one will miss the meat if you serve hearty, incredibly satisfying dishes like this take on the classic Italian bread salad. The recipe calls for vegetables roasted in the oven, but they could easily be roasted on the grill, too.
  • Grilled Eggplant Sandwich or Grilled Eggplant and Red Bell Pepper Sandwich – Two variations on using meaty eggplant between burger buns instead of ground beef.
  • Summer Vegetable “Napoleon” – This isn’t a grilled dish, but it would be a perfect side dish to take to meatless 4th of July celebration. It’s kind of a baked ratatouille with layers of meaty summer vegetables and simple seasonings.
And, if you decide you’d rather not observe meatless Monday this 4th of July, don’t sweat it. Just declare a meatless Wednesday or Thursday next week.

Will you be going meatless this 4th of July? 

Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

Oh no! The 4th of July falls on Meatless Monday this year
Can you celebrate America without meat on the barbeque grill? Sure you can. With a free vegetable grilling eBook and some of MNN's own recipes, you’ll have lo