You can look at this day in two ways: It’s only 188 days until Christmas. Or – you can pass the sunscreen, slip on some shorts and fire up your grill. Yes, it’s that time of year when alfresco eating is the only way to enjoy the summer! You have your traditional favourites like steaks, burgers and sausages. And then there are delicious dishes to satisfy the vegetarians in your life.
Two companies fit the bill: DuBreton is an all-Canadian pork specialist at the forefront of organic certified humane, ethically-produced pork products from pigs that are raised with no antibiotics and in crate-free environments (available at major grocery stores and specialty organic natural health retailers). And MorningStar Farms Veggie Burgers, one of the most popular, plant-based food companies in the U.S., has recently launched in Canada with a line of products, including an array of veggie-based burgers that includes Black Bean, Harvest and Chickpea, full of flavour with no artificial colours, flavours or transfats and a source of fibre. This company has been at the forefront of plant-based foods, with more than 40 years of creating better-for-you veggie options.
Both companies offer a variety of foods perfect for summer entertaining season – note, the following recipes are perfect for the grill, but can be adapted to the stove as well.
Just add ice cold lemonade and a slice of refreshing watermelon. Just hold off on the holiday ornaments for a while!
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Smokey Summer Harvest Veggie Burger
Courtesy MorningStar Farms – note, recipe calls for Harvest Veggie but you can use your favourite veggie burger.
- 4 sesame seed burger buns
- 4 Harvest Veggie burgers
- 1 cup (250 mL) packed spinach
- 4 Tbsp. (60 mL) feta cheese
- 1 cup (250 mL) mayonnaise
- 4 garlic cloves
- 1/4 yellow onion, finely chopped
- 1 1/2 Tbsp. (22 mL) lemon juice
- 2 tsp. (10 mL) smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp. (2 mL) EACH garlic powder and onion powder
- pinch salt and pepper
Preheat your grill to a medium heat. In a piece of tin foil, combine chopped onions and garlic cloves and drizzle with olive oil. Fold foil to encase ingredients and grill for 40 minutes, flipping halfway through cooking process. Remove once garlic is tender and caramelized.
Heat Harvest Veggie burgers according to package instructions. Meanwhile, mash roasted garlic and onions with a fork in a shallow bowl. Combine remaining ingredients to create aioli.
Spread aioli on bottom and top of bun. Place a veggie burger on each bun and top with feta cheese and spinach, distributing toppings evenly.
Grilled Sausage Pineapple Upside Down Cornbread Cake
Courtesy DuBreton Pork
- 1/4 cup (60 mL) butter, melted
- 1 cup (250 mL) packed brown sugar
- 1 can pineapple rings
- 1 pkg. mild-Italian sausages
- 1 cup (250 mL) EACH all-purpose flour and cornmeal
- 1 tsp. (5 mL) baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. (2 mL) EACH baking soda, paprika, garlic powder, salt and black pepper
- 1/2 cup (125 mL) melted butter
- 1 cup (250 mL) buttermilk
- 2 farm fresh eggs
- 1/4 cup (60 mL) honey
- 1 cup (250 mL) sharp cheddar cheese
- 1/2 cup (125 mL) red onion, minced
- 1 jalapeno pepper, finely minced
Allow your grill to preheat over medium high heat for 10-15 minutes. Cook pork sausages over direct heat until fully cooked. Remove from grill and allow to rest on a plate partially covered in aluminum foil.
Grease sides of a 9-inch (23-cm) cast iron pan and add melted butter. Sprinkle on brown sugar. Arrange pineapple rings to cover bottom in a single layer. Cut sausages in 1/2 inch chunks and fill each hole in between pineapple rings with a piece of sausage. Chop any remaining sausage into small chunks and set aside.
In a medium sized bowl, sift all dry ingredients. Add butter, buttermilk, eggs, and honey. Stir until just moistened. Do not over-mix cornbread will be tough. Fold in cheese, red onions, chopped jalapeno and remaining chopped sausage. Spread cornbread mixture over top of cut sausages and jalapenos, being careful not to disrupt bottom configuration.
On a barbecue preheated to 400F (200C), grill the cornbread over indirect heat until nicely browned – about 20-30 minutes. Let cornbread fully cool before cutting into slices.
Mediterranean Pita Sandwich
Courtesy MorningStar Farms – note, recipe calls for Chickpea Veggie but you can use your favourite veggie burger.
- 1/2 of a 7-inch whole wheat pita bread round, warmed
- 1 Mediterranean Chickpea Veggie Burger
- 1 lettuce leaf
- 1/2 Roma tomato, thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup (60 mL) cucumber, thinly sliced
For the Spinach Artichoke Hummus
- 1/4 can (100 g) chickpeas, drained
- 1 tsp. (5 mL) lemon juice
- 1 Tbsp. (15 mL) olive oil
- 1 Tbsp (15 mL) tahini sauce
- 1/4 tsp. (1 mL) EACH salt and black pepper
- 1/4 cup (10 g) baby spinach, chopped
- 1 artichoke heart, chopped (look for jarred artichokes)
HUMMUS: Blend together chickpeas, lemon juice, olive oil, tahini sauce, salt and pepper in a food processor. Once smooth, fold in chopped spinach and artichoke heart. Set aside.
PITA SANDWICH: Heat Mediterranean Chickpea Veggie burger according to package instructions. Cut in half. Meanwhile, spread spinach artichoke hummus inside pita pocket. Place lettuce, veggie burger halves, tomato and cucumber in the pocket.
Charcoal Grilled Cherry Pork Burgers
Courtesy DuBreton Pork
- 1/2 lb. (454 g) organic ground pork
- 1/2 tsp. (2 mL) granulated garlic
- 1/4 cup (60 mL) dried cherries, roughly chopped
- 2 Tbsp. (30 mL) dark maple syrup
- 1 Tbsp. (15 mL) bourbon
- 2 green onions, finely sliced
- 1/2 cup (125 mL) seasoned breadcrumbs
- 1/2 tsp. (2 mL) dried thyme
- 1 tsp. (5 mL) EACH dried sage and dried red chili flakes
- 1 large farm fresh egg
- 3/4 tsp. (4 mL) salt
- 1/2 tsp. (2 mL) freshly cracked black pepper
Fill a chimney starter of your charcoal barbecue to top with charcoal briquettes. Place a lighter cube below chimney and ignite. Allow briquettes to fully light within chimney for 15-20 minutes. In meantime, combine ground pork with all ingredients in a bowl. Gently mix ingredients together, trying not to overwork mixture. Form mixture into eight equal patties and place them on a parchment-lined cookie sheet.
Place cookie sheet with patties into freezer for 5-10 minutes to allow patties to firm up before grilling.
Using grill gloves, pour lit briquettes into charcoal baskets and close lid of your charcoal barbecue. Allow grill to preheat for 15 minutes.
Remove patties from freezer. Cook directly over top of coals until prominent grill marks are formed (about 2-3 minutes), and then flip. Cook for an additional 2-3 minutes, and transfer patties to outer ring of barbecue to ensure they’re cooked throughout. Close lid and allow patties to continue cooking. Using a probe thermometer, remove patties from grill once an internal temperature of 160F (72C) is reached. Allow to rest on a plate partially covered with foil. Serve these burgers on a pretzel bun, with cheddar cheese, leaf lettuce, red onion, spicy red pepper rings, and BBQ mayo.
Sweet and Spicy Black Bean Veggie Burger with Corn Off the Cob Salsa
Courtesy MorningStar Farms – note, recipe calls for Black Bean Veggie but you can use your favourite veggie burger.
- 4 sesame seed burger buns
- 4 Spicy Black Bean Veggie burgers
- 2/3 cup (50g) lettuce, chopped
- 4 Monterey Jack cheese slices
For Corn Off the Cob Salsa
- 1 ear of corn, husked
- 1 can fire-roasted tomatoes, diced
- 1/2 red onion, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup (60 mL) cilantro, finely chopped
- 1/2 jalapeno, chopped with seeds removed
- 1 Tbsp. (15 mL) fresh lime juice
- 1 tsp. (5 mL) garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp. (1 mL) EACH chili powder and ground cumin
- Pinch each salt and pepper
Place corn on barbecue and grill for 30 minutes, turning corn occasionally until each side is charred. Remove and carefully strip corn off cob with a knife. Heat veggie burgers according to package instructions. Place cheese on each veggie burger and continue heating until cheese is melted. Meanwhile, combine corn off the cob with all ingredients to create the salsa.
Place a veggie burger on each bun and top with lettuce and salsa, distributed evenly.
Peach-Smoked Ribs with Punch Bowl Barbecue Sauce
Courtesy DuBreton Organic Pork
- 3 racks pork back ribs
- 1 cup (250 mL) apple juice (for spritzing while smoking)
For rib rub
- 1 Tbsp. (15 mL) EACH paprika, garlic powder, dried mustard powder, black pepper, salt
- 1/2 Tbsp. (7 mL) onion powder
For punch bowl BBQ sauce
- 2 cups (500 mL) ketchup
- 1/2 cup (125 mL) EACH orange juice and ginger ale
- 1/4 cup (60 mL) apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup (125 mL) EACH canned peaches, chopped and canned pineapple chunks
- 1/4 cup (60 mL) maraschino cherries, chopped
- 1 Tbsp. (15 mL) Worcestershire sauce
- 2 Tbsp. (30 mL) EACH soy sauce and molasses
Using a spoon, remove tough membrane on underside of ribs. Combine all spices in a bowl. Rub spices into ribs, making sure to really rub racks and cover every inch of them in spices. Set aside in fridge for flavours to meld for as long as you have time for (including overnight).
In meantime, set up your smoker according to the manufacturer’s specifications. While maintaining a temperature of 225-250F (107-120C), smoke ribs with your favourite smoking wood until an internal temperature of 190F (88C) is reached.
Every half hour, lift the lid of smoker, and spritz racks with pure apple juice. This will help the meat stay juicy and add natural sugars that will work to caramelize outside of meat.
BBQ sauce: Combine all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Pour contents into a saucepan and allow to come to a bubble. Reduce heat to low and simmer until thickened, approximately 20-30 minutes.
About an hour before you plan on taking ribs off of smoker, brush on BBQ sauce every 20 minutes, allowing it to reduce even further while sticking to ribs. Let the ribs rest for 10-15 minutes before serving. Serve with side dishes like collards and greens, a rich mac and cheese, and buttery grilled corn.
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