The Festive Way To Add Vegetables To Your Fourth Of July Cookout

When Americans come together to celebrate the birth of their nation, the star of the show is usually the food. Sure, it's great to get all your friends and family together, and the fireworks displays are fabulous. But no matter how much they may "ooh and ah" as the pyrotechnics light up the sky, nothing tops the juicy burgers, grilled dogs, and homemade apple pies. Yes, nothing beats Fourth of July fare. 

What exactly constitutes food befitting an Independence Day bash? It seems to be the burger. According to Statista, in 2016, party revelers purchased $804 million in beef products, with chicken coming in at a very distant second with just $370 million in spending. Barbecue is a Fourth of July tradition and nothing is better on the "barbie" than a burger or slab of steak. A 2019 Food Network poll cited by Today agrees, saying that only 10% of those surveyed declared they'd love to eat a hot dog at their July 4th festivities, while 15% stated, "They'd actually be happy if they never saw a hot dog served on the Fourth again." Those are some pretty harsh anti-wiener sentiments. 

Statista's data reveals another important fact about what Americans consume on this auspicious occasion — the alarming absence of vegetables. While fruits like berries, cherries, and tomatoes make the Top 10 of America's favorite Fourth of July foods, not a single vegetable made the list. Surely, there is some way to include some healthy greens in your holiday spread. 

A flag-themed veggie tray will amaze your guests

It turns out that by using a little imagination, you can easily incorporate some vitamin-packed produce into your Fourth of July feast. While you can always opt for traditional selections like corn-on-the-cob or coleslaw, there is no need to limit your choice to the tried and true. In fact, if you peruse the internet, you will likely find a bevvy of scrumptious vegetable-based dishes that will allow you to showcase your creativity and artistic flare.  

Food Lion, for instance, suggests building a veggie tray that resembles the flag by using rows of red (cherry tomatoes and red pepper spears) and white (cauliflower, of course) and replacing the blue with a blue-hued bowl filled with blue cheese dressing. The Produce Moms offer up a festive veggie cup, which is easily prepared by pouring dip in the bottom of the clear vessel, throwing in spear-shaped veggies like peppers, asparagus, and carrots, and adding an Independence Day splash with miniature flags and star-themed swizzle sticks. Taste of Home suggests blending a mix of vegetables and fruits to create a red, white, and blue salad. And, remember, any vegetable dish can be made Independence Day-worthy by adding a few simple American-themed decorations that are readily available at your nearest dollar store. 

There is no reason the burger should hog all the glory, while the humble vegetable is ignored this Fourth of July weekend. Get creating and show your favorite veggie some love.