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Backyard BBQs for Father's Day (and Every Day)

by Elysabeth Alfano

This is a winning, plant-based salad and sandwich combo for enjoying indoors and out this summer. “One of the things that I don’t like about Brussels sprouts is the bitterness that comes with it,” says plant-based chef Elysabeth Alfano. “Often, chefs try to cover this by overcooking with gobs of oil and other fatty substances. However, I prefer Brussels sprouts in their natural state: raw. When chopped fine, they lose all their bitterness. Because they are a cabbage, eating them raw is a great option.”

She notes, “Rich in vitamin K and antioxidants, and high in fiber, Brussels sprouts are one of the foods that you should always be trying to work into your diet, and now you can without the oil and bitterness. In fact, it doesn’t get any easier and tastier than my Raw Brussels Sprouts Salad. Check out this no-fuss, super-healthy, no-oil, hearty salad to please loads of people while taking less than 10 minutes. I serve this a lot at dinner parties or picnics because it is so easy. It holds up well in summer heat, too, and travels easily."

No-Oil Brussels Sprouts Salad

Yields: 8 servings

1 lb Brussels sprouts, cleaned with end nub cut off

1 can of garbanzo beans (keep the aqua faba liquid)

2 Tbsp red wine vinegar

1 Tbsp (heaping) of Dijon mustard

Lemon slices as a garnish

Salt and pepper to taste

Cut off end of each sprout and cut in two. Put in food processor to finely chop. Place in bowl.

Drain garbanzo beans and keep the aquafaba. Set aside.

In separate bowl, combine aquafaba, Dijon mustard, red wine vinegar, salt and pepper to taste. Mix thoroughly.

Combine with Brussels sprouts and garbanzo beans, mix and taste. Season as needed. Plate and serve.

Add lemon slices as a garnish or squeeze a little lemon juice onto the salad. Serve.

Here is Alfano’s recipe for summer lovin’ in the form of a Mushroom Burger.

“Oh Dad, grilling is on and we so got you! Keep your cholesterol and saturated fat low by grilling up this easy Portobello Mushroom Burger that is hearty and meaty, without the health scare (or antibiotics and hormones),” she says.


Portobello Mushroom Burgers

Yields: 4 servings

 4 Portobello mushrooms, de-stemmed and washed

4-6 big cloves peeled garlic

3 stems fresh rosemary

4-5 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

¾ cup soy sauce

Put mushrooms in a resealable bag with all ingredients and mix, sometimes spooning liquid onto the inside mushroom cap. Ideally, most liquid should sit in the mushroom cap. Refrigerate as such for 4 hours or overnight.

Take mushrooms out of bag and either place on grill, bottom side first with all the juice sitting in the cap, for 7 minutes and then flip for 7 minutes, or place in an oven-safe dish (bottom side-down) and bake and all the juice in the cap and bake at 400° F for 30 minutes.

Some juice will naturally also be in the bottom of the dish. This is fine and will keep it from drying out. You can keep the garlic in the caps in both instances or not. Your preference.

You can also keep the rosemary in both instances or take the rosemary off for grilling or baking. If you keep the rosemary (sometimes I do), it will dry out. So you can also take it off and pick a few of the still fresh leaves and put them on the burger once it is done. The smell is heavenly.

Once finished, place on a ciabatta bun (If you don’t want it tasting too salty from the soy, you may pat down the baked version a bit with a paper towel. Your choice.) and add your favorite condiments. My favorite are grilled onions, Dijon mustard and a plant-based cheese. I also like to add a few fresh rosemary leaves for the aroma. Enjoy! It’s as easy as 1-2-3.

Elysabeth Alfano is a personal coach and chef that helps people transition to a plant-based diet and lifestyle. She is the host of the only plant-based radio program in the nation, The Elysabeth Alfano Show, on WCGO and The Smart Talk Radio Network. She also develops recipes for restaurants looking to veganize their menus at For more information, email [email protected].

*Photos by Elysabeth Alfano