posted by Lydia Krupinski

Photo from The Enchanted Spice

If you’re anything like my husband, you can’t wait to light up the grill and throw some edibles onto the grates. For vegetarians and vegans, Memorial Day can conjure up deeply repressed meat missing emotions – if not just for the sake of nostalgia. That’s why I’ve put together this handy guide to a Meat-Free Memorial Day for veg-heads and carnivores alike!

Firing Up the Grill:

Skip the lighter fluid and opt instead for a starter cone or chimney starter. Not only will you protect yourself from harmful toxins, you’ll also lower your risk for petroleum related burns.

Photo from Martha Stewart

Throwing Down the Goods:

Start your grill off with some aromatic edibles that can be used on burgers and other entrees. Onions will add distinct flavor to the dish and will get your guest’s salivating whilegarlic will add a touch of zest to your salad. For something with a touch of whimsy, throw some pineapplespears, or nectarines straight onto your grill. Hit up one of Chicago’s plentiful farmer’s markets to stock up on these, and other fresh burger ingredients, likeheirloom tomatoesfresh sprouts, and artisan cheese. Here’s a market guide from the Sun Times.  You may also want to invest in some out-of-the-ordinary buns. Try asiago cheese rolls, pita, or even pretzel buns from Whole Foods.

One of my favorite tried and true homemade veggie burger recipes hails from the queen of DIY…that’s right…I’m talking about none other than Ms. Martha Stewart. This simple patty combines mushroomszucchini, and quinoia to create a delicious burger that’s packed with vitamins and taste. To make it vegan simply substitute the eggs and cheese for more zucchini. Get the recipe from Martha’s website.

Photo from Veggie Burger Madness

Edible Extras:

To wash down your burgers stir up a tall pitcher of fresh squeezed lemonade. A day early collect some fresh mint from your garden (if you don’t have any run to your local grocer) and grind it in a mortar. Pour your mint paste into a cup with enough water to fill an ice cube tray, and stir. Pop in the freezer for 24 hours for flavored ice cubes. Then, just before your soiree, melt turbinado sugar in some warm water for sweetener. Then you’ll want to squeeze your lemons into your pitcher, one at a time, adding water to the desired dilution. Once tart but not too tangy, mix in your sugar water and toss in your icecubes.

Photo from The Food Network

For dessert there’s nothing better than some homemade ice cream. A quick and easy vegan recipe combines rice milk, salt, raw sugar, carob chips, cocoa powder, and vanilla. I’m fortunate enough to have my own hand-cranking vintage churn, but if you’re not quite as fortunate, you can make Popsicles instead. To serve the ice cream off the stick, wedge it between two freshly baked cookies for a dreamy desert that will send your heart soaring.

These are some of our ideas on how to serve up a meat-free Memorial Day spread.

What are you cooking up this holiday weekend? Share your plans with us by posting your comments below!