Green Grillin’: Plant-Based Dishes for a Healthy Memorial Day Cookout

By Dr. Manasa Mantravadi

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Time to Read: 9 min

Memorial Day is just around the corner, and with it comes the season of outdoor cookouts. A time when family and friends gather around the grill, enjoying mouth-watering food in the summer sun. But this year, why not switch things up with healthy Memorial Day recipes that are kind to your body and the environment?


Switching to plant-based dishes doesn't mean sacrificing flavor. In fact, you'll be amazed at the variety and taste that grilled veggies, hearty mushroom burgers, and refreshing salads can bring to your holiday spread. 


Not only are these dishes packed with flavor, but they're also better for your body and the planet. With a little creativity and the right ingredients, your Memorial Day cookout can be a delicious, inclusive, and sustainable celebration.

About Ahimsa

Founded by a pediatrician and mom of three

Stainless steel is the only kid-friendly material recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics 

We are guided by a Scientific Advisory Council comprised of environmental and medical experts, guiding us in creating the safest products, following the latest science and promoting policy to protect human health and our planet

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Why Go Green This Memorial Day?

Switching things up with healthy Memorial Day recipes can make a big difference for you and the planet. Going green at your cookout isn't just about trendy salads and grilled vegetables; it's about embracing a lifestyle that’s kinder to our health and environment.


Plant-based foods are rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals, and they're lower in calories than traditional barbecue fare, which means you can enjoy a hearty plate of delicious food without the usual heaviness. Foods like grilled vegetables and legume-based salads contribute to heart health, aid in digestion, and help maintain healthy weight levels.


Also, getting rid of some meat-heavy dishes for more plant-based options can significantly reduce your carbon footprint. Animal agriculture is a leading contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, so every plant-based burger or grilled veggie skewer you enjoy helps protect the planet. Plus, most plant-based ingredients require less water and land to produce.


But, there is a more personal reason you should try adding more plant-based options at your cookout: it’s a surefire way to make sure everyone is enjoying themselves and has something delicious to eat.


This Memorial Day, let's celebrate with a healthier, more inclusive cookout, and just as delicious as ever.

Healthy Memorial Day Recipes | Spread of Grilled Vegetables

Setting Up Your Plant-Based Cookout

Getting ready for a memorable Memorial Day cookout starts with setting up your grill for healthy Memorial Day recipes. Whether you're a seasoned grill master or new to plant-based grilling, a little preparation will make certain that your cookout runs smoothly.

Choosing the Right Grill

Whether you're using a charcoal, gas, or electric grill, each of these options brings a unique flavor and flair to plant-based grilling.


  • Charcoal Grill will add a smoky flavor that pairs beautifully with veggies like bell peppers and mushrooms.
  • Gas Grills offer precise temperature control that is useful for preparing delicate foods like grilled fruit.
  • Electric Grills are ideal for apartment balconies or small spaces, giving you all the flavor without the smoke.

Avoiding Cross-Contamination

To keep your plant-based dishes free from any meat residue:


  • Use separate grilling baskets or mats for veggies and plant-based proteins.
  • Separate tongs and spatulas should be used for plant-based items.
  • Wipe down the grill grates or line them with foil to prevent contact with any leftover meat juices.

Essential Grilling Accessories

Having the right tools makes grilling easier and more fun.

  • Grill Baskets are perfect for preparing small veggies like cherry tomatoes and mushrooms.
  • Metal skewers or bamboo skewers are essential for veggie kebabs. If using bamboo, be sure to soak in water first to prevent burning.
  • Non-stick grilling mats make flipping veggies a breeze and keep them from sticking to the grill.

With your grill set up, you're all set to create a memorable Memorial Day cookout packed with flavor and heart.

Mealtime Essentials

Plant-Based Dishes for a Healthy Memorial Day Cookout

Ready to wow your guests with some delicious, healthy Memorial Day recipes? Here are a few plant-based dishes that will turn your cookout into a feast of flavor and goodness.

Grilled Veggie Skewers

Nothing beats the vibrant taste of fresh veggies grilled to perfection.

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch rounds
  • 2 large bell peppers, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 large red onion, cut into 1-inch wedges
  • 16 ounces mushrooms, whole or halved if large
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes

Marinade:

  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Instructions:

  • Prepare the Skewers: Thread the zucchini, bell peppers, red onion, mushrooms, and cherry tomatoes onto skewers, alternating colors and shapes for variety.
  • Make the Marinade: Whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, oregano, salt, and pepper.
  • Marinate the Skewers: Brush the marinade generously onto the veggie skewers, ensuring all sides are coated. Let sit for at least 15 minutes.
  • Grill: Preheat the grill to medium heat. Grill the skewers for 8-10 minutes, turning occasionally, until veggies are charred and tender.
  • Serve: Sprinkle with fresh herbs and serve hot.

Watermelon and Mint Salad

A refreshing, sweet, and minty salad that screams summer.

Ingredients:

  • 1 small seedless watermelon, cubed
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves, chopped
  • Dressing:
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon honey or agave syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Instructions:

  • Prepare the Salad: In a large bowl, combine watermelon and mint leaves.
  • Make the Dressing: In a separate bowl, whisk together lime juice, honey or agave syrup, and salt.
  • Combine and Serve: Drizzle the dressing over the salad and toss gently. Serve chilled.

Vegan BBQ Sauce

A smoky, sweet, and tangy BBQ sauce perfect for slathering on your grilled veggies and burgers.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Instructions:

  • Mix the Ingredients: In a medium saucepan, combine all ingredients and stir well.
  • Simmer: Bring to a simmer over medium heat, then reduce to low and cook for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Serve: Let the sauce cool before serving. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Embrace a Healthy Memorial Day Cookout

As you prepare for your Memorial Day cookout, remember that healthy Memorial Day recipes can be just as satisfying as traditional dishes. By embracing plant-based options, you're serving up vibrant flavors while making choices that are kinder to your body and the planet.


Remember for a successful plant-based cookout, you should:


  • Mix and Match Flavors.
  • Include All Tastes
  • Prepare in Advance

Let's make this Memorial Day a celebration of good food, good company, and new traditions that nourish both our loved ones and the planet.


Shop Ahimsa today for plates and more.

Dr. Manasa Mantravadi is a board-certified pediatrician whose dedication to children’s health drove her to launch Ahimsa, the world's first colorful stainless steel dishes for kids. She was motivated by the American Academy of Pediatrics’ findings on harmful chemicals in plastic affecting children's well-being. Ahimsa has gained widespread recognition and been featured in media outlets such as Parents Magazine, the Today Show, The Oprah Magazine, and more.

Dr. Mantravadi received the esteemed “Physician Mentor of the Year” award at Indiana University School of Medicine in 2019. She was also named a Forbes Next 1000 Entrepreneur in 2021, with her inspiring story showcased on Good Morning America. She serves on the Council for Environmental Health and Climate Change and the Council for School Health at The American Academy of Pediatrics. She represents Ahimsa as a U.S. industry stakeholder on the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC) for the Global Plastics Treaty, led by the United Nations Environment Program. Dr. Mantravadi leads Ahimsa's social impact program, The Conscious Cafeteria Project, to reduce carbon emissions and safeguard student health as part of a national pilot of the Clinton Global Initiative.

She is dedicated to educating and empowering people to make healthier, more environmentally friendly choices at mealtime. Her mission remains to advocate for the health of all children and the one planet we will leave behind for them through real policy change within our food system.

Dr. Manasa Mantravadi

Dr. Manasa Mantravadi

Dr. Manasa Mantravadi is a board-certified pediatrician whose dedication to children’s health drove her to launch Ahimsa, the world's first colorful stainless steel dishes for kids. She was motivated by the American Academy of Pediatrics’ findings on harmful chemicals in plastic affecting children's well-being. Ahimsa has gained widespread recognition and been featured in media outlets such as Parents Magazine, the Today Show, The Oprah Magazine, and more.

Dr. Mantravadi received the esteemed “Physician Mentor of the Year” award at Indiana University School of Medicine in 2019. She was also named a Forbes Next 1000 Entrepreneur in 2021, with her inspiring story showcased on Good Morning America. She serves on the Council for Environmental Health and Climate Change and the Council for School Health at The American Academy of Pediatrics. She represents Ahimsa as a U.S. industry stakeholder on the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC) for the Global Plastics Treaty, led by the United Nations Environment Program. Dr. Mantravadi leads Ahimsa's social impact program, The Conscious Cafeteria Project, to reduce carbon emissions and safeguard student health as part of a national pilot of the Clinton Global Initiative.

She is dedicated to educating and empowering people to make healthier, more environmentally friendly choices at mealtime. Her mission remains to advocate for the health of all children and the one planet we will leave behind for them through real policy change within our food system.

More Mealtime Essentials

Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I use stainless steel instead of plastic? Is stainless steel better for health?

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) released a report in July 2018 suggesting ways that families can limit exposure to certain chemicals at mealtime, including “the use of alternatives to plastic, such as glass or stainless steel, when possible.” The report explained that “…some additives are put directly in foods, while “indirect” additives may include chemicals from plastic, glues, dyes, paper, cardboard”. Further, “Children are more sensitive to chemical exposures because they eat and drink more, relative to body weight, than adults do, and are still growing and developing.” While stainless steel items meet the recommendation to avoid plastic products in children, Ahimsa® products have the obvious advantage of not breaking like glass.

Is stainless steel better for the environment than plastic?

According to the Steel Recycling Institute, steel can be recycled over and over and over again without losing its integrity and requires less energy to recycle than to make anew. Most plastic unfortunately ends up in landfills and it is estimated to take 700 years to decompose. Our special coloring process that allows Ahimsa® products to be fully metal is environmentally friendly, so it does not produce toxic run-off into the ecosystem.

Will Ahimsa products break or peel?

No. Our steel is durable, so it won’t break or shatter with everyday use, like glass. And it won’t peel, like other colored stainless steel products you’ve seen. We use a special process that allows the colors to naturally occur in the metal.

Which Ahimsa products are best for my little one(s)?

Our products are meant to last, you can use Ahimsa at ages 1, 8 and 18! We thoughtfully design our products to be safe for little ones and our planet while reducing consumption. Once your child outgrows the Starting Solids Set  and can use regular cups and utensils, the training cup is the perfect size rinse cup in the bathroom, the infant spoon doubles as a tea stirrer and the bowl is great for snacks or as an additional compartment to our modular divided plate. Our plates are great for any age as they encourage choosing a variety of healthy foods at each meal and help visualize portion sizes easily. It’s the lasting beauty of stainless steel - grows with your child and reduces waste.

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