Grilled Summer Salad with Creamy Apricot Dressing

by JL Fields on June 17, 2014

Don’t you just love summer? Fresh produce, long days…and easy meals on the grill!

My longtime readers know that I consider myself a busy non-cook. I didn’t know much about plant-based cooking when I went vegan four years ago but I found my way in the kitchen by taking public cooking classes and reading lots of books and blogs. I’m a believer in making your vegan eating and cooking fit into your lifestyle and for some of us, well, we need a little help. At the end of a long work day I often lack imagination or motivation at dinner time and that’s why I’m a huge proponent of vegan convenience foods.

Sunshine Burgers fit the bill for what I consider an ideal meal helper.

Sunshine Burgers | Vegan

Why? Because these vegan burgers, which you can find in the frozen foods section of your local grocer, are about as wholesome as it gets. The Sunshine Burger Quarter Pounder is made of five ingredients: organic cooked brown rice, organic ground raw sunflower seeds, organic carrots, organic spices, sea salt.

Sunshine Burgers have been around for over 30 years and their commitment to a vegan burger made with wholesome ingredients hasn’t changed a bit!

Carol Debberman, founder of Sunshine Burger, grew up in rural New Jersey with a love for vegetarian cuisine.

While starting her own family, Carol took great pride in educating herself about the importance of serving a healthful, nutritious and balanced diet to her children.

In 1983, while experimenting with a variety of foods, she developed a recipe for veggie burgers made from organic whole grains, vegetables and sunflower seeds that her kids loved. Her desire was to create a nutritious, full-flavored, soy-free vegetarian burger without fillers or preservatives that brought food “from farms to your table.”

The recipe was such a success that a small business was born.

Sunshine Burger has been dedicated to offering delicious, wholesome, vegan burgers made with non-GMO, organic whole-food ingredients. Our burgers are pre-baked and browned, and are free of gluten, wheat, soy, corn, oats, dairy, eggs, tree nuts and peanuts.

Today you can find a wide variety of flavorful Sunshine Burgers.

Sunshine Burgers | JL goes Vegan

I am working with Sunshine Burger this summer to show you how simple it is to add their delicious burgers into your healthy, plant-based diet. This month I’m sharing an entrée salad featuring vegetables and Sunshine Burgers, all made on the grill!

Grilled Summer Salad with Creamy Apricot Dressing | Sunshine Burger | JL goes Vegan

Grilled Summer Salad with Creamy Apricot Dressing

by JL Fields @ JL goes Vegan

Keywords: grill entrée salad vegan


    For the Salad

    Grilled Summer Salad and Creamy Apricot Dressing | Sunshine Burgers | JL goes Vegan | pre-grill

    • 1 bunch asparagus
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • Juice of one lemon (half for asparagus and half for lettuce)
    • Pinch of salt + fresh ground pepper
    • 2 cups sliced baby mushrooms
    • 1 cup half-moon slices of onion
    • 6 sweet peppers
    • 1 head of romaine lettuce
    • The other half of the lemon juice
    • Pinch of salt + fresh ground pepper
    • Extra virgin olive oil (enough to grease the grill grate)
    • 2 Sunshine Burgers (any flavor!)
    • Salt and pepper to taste

    For the Creamy Apricot Dressing

    • 2 small apricots
    • 1 cup raw, unsalted cashews
    • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
    • 2 cloves garlic
    • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt (optional)
    • Water (1/4 – 1/2  cup)


    For the Salad

    1. Prepare vegetables: Wash and rinse the asparagus, place in a shallow dish, toss with minced garlic and drizzle lemon juice over it. Add a pinch of salt and ground black pepper. Slice mushrooms and onion and place in a grill basket. Wash sweet peppers (keep whole). Cut lettuce in half, wash, pat dry, and place, flat side up, on a tray and pour remaining lemon juice over it. Add salt and pepper to lettuce, if desired.
    2. Rub oil on grill surface before heating
    3. Heat grill to medium.
    4. Place frozen Sunshine Burgers on the grill, avoiding direct heat. Grill for 7 – 9 minutes.
    5. Flip Sunshine Burgers. Add sweet peppers and asparagus directly to the grill on and place the grill basket with mushroom on the other side (both over direct heat). Grill for 7 minutes.Grilled Summer Salad and Creamy Apricot Dressing | Sunshien Burgers | JL goes Vegan | first on grill
    6. Move burgers, asparagus and peppers to the top grill rack (or remove from grill entirely).
    7. Keep the mushrooms and onions on the grill, tossing with tongs as needed, and place lettuce halves along side of the grill basket, flat side down, and grill for no more than 30 seconds to a minute. Turn the lettuce over and grill for an additional 30 seconds to a minute.Grilled Summer Salad and Creamy Apricot Dressing | Sunshine Burgers | JL goes Vegan | add the lettuce
    8. Remove everything from the grill.

    For the Creamy Apricot Dressing

    1. Take a sharp knife, slice apricots in half and remove the pit. Cut each into four pieces.
    2. Add apricot, cashews, vinegar and salt to a blender. Add water as needed to achieve creamy consistency.

    Serve one of two ways:

    Chop warm lettuce, slice the grilled peppers and toss in a large bowl with the mushrooms and onion; place Sunshine Burger on top. Serve with asparagus spears and drizzle with dressing. Grilled Summer Salad and Creamy Apricot Dressing | Sunshine Burgers | JL goes Vegan | Warm chopped saladOr…

    Plate the lettuce halves, asparagus, whole peppers and Sunshine Burgers. Spoon the mushrooms and onion over the burger and drizzle dressing over the burger and veggies.

    YIELD: Serves 2

    Powered by Recipage

    Grilled Summer Salad with Creamy Apricot Dressing | Sunshine Burgers | JL goes Vegan | Served

    Cooking vegetables outside on the grill is such a great way to keep your kitchen cool in the summer! Adding a Sunshine Burger to the grill makes for a hearty, filling meal, filled with whole foods.

    I want to share the Sunshine Burger love with you!

    First, for anyone living in the continental U.S. enter the giveaway below and you could win coupons for FREE Sunshine Burgers, Sunshine SWAG + a $25 VISA card!

    Second, Colorado readers, I have some fun things cooking up for you!

    1. Enter the giveaway below, of course!

    2. Sunshine Burger will be at VegFest Colorado! Stop by between 10 – 6 on July 5 and 6 for samples and surprises! (I will be at the table all day Saturday and would love to meet you!)

    3. I will be at the Sunday Downtown Market in Acacia Park, at the Colorado Springs Vegan & Vegetarian Group table – on Sunday, July 13. Stop by the table and say “Hello, Sunshine!” and you’ll get a coupon for a FREE Sunshine Burger (available at Natural Grocers, Sprouts, Whole Foods, Walmart and coming soon to King Soopers!).

    4. If you’re a member of the Colorado Springs Vegan & Vegetarian Group Meetup, RSVP quickly for the Very Vegan Potluck. We’re whipping up YUMMY vegan BBQ sauces for the burgers graciously donated by Sunshine Burger.

    So, what are you waiting for? Follow Sunshine Burger on Facebook and Twitter, sign up for the Sunshine Burger newsletter and enter the giveaway!

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    This post was sponsored by Sunshine Burger. While I have been compensated for this post, the point of view provided in this post is my own.

    • saniel

      I’ll try the hemp and sage burgers on the grill with sweet potato home fries and vegan Caesar salad. Thanks

    • saniel

      Can I sub rice vinegar for balsamic or other vinegar? I don’t any.

      • JL

        Absolutely, @disqus_uakVi4AAlm:disqus! I like rice because it’s lighter and a great compliment to the cashews and apricots. But any vinegar would do, as would using lime or lemon juice to taste!

    • Stacy W

      Wow – that salad looks amazing!! I think the BBQ burgers & the shitake mushroom burgers sound super tasty!! I cannot wait to try these!

    • Lizzie

      Saw a sundried tomato pesto recipe yesterday that I think would be super tasty on a Sunshine Burger! But I don’t have a grill, so stovetop skillet it is! 🙂

    • I would grill the sunshine burgers with red onions and sliced mushrooms!

    • Susan

      I would grill the garden herb burgers and load them up with tomato, lettuce, pickle, mustard and ketchup. I would serve with grilled corn on the cob and some green salad!

    • Sandy Smith

      How’s the protein content of this burger? That’s the only problem with a few of the veggie burgers on the market.

      • JL

        Sandy, protein ranges from 7 to 12 grams by the burger. The quarter pounder in this recipe is 12g. Funny, though, I rarely am concerned with protein in veggie burgers; if I”m eating three or more servings of beans a day I know that the beans, combined with a wide variety of veggies, grains, nuts and seeds, will get me where I need to be nutritionally.

        • Sandy Smith

          I wish I was as good as you at getting things ready. Yes, I read your tips, and someday I will do better. 🙂

          • JL

            Progress, not perfection, @disqus_zxdvPjLaiT:disqus! 🙂

    • Terri Jones Cole

      I keep it pretty simple with grilled veggie burgers. I think barbeque sauce and grilled Vidalia onions and avocado would be great on the Barbeque Burger. Oooohhh, and some coconut bacon!

    • JVerplank

      I would grill them camping, then add awesome veggies and your dressing!!!

    • Sandy Smith

      I am obsessed with grilled romaine!

    • Dana

      All of the Sunshine Burgers look tasty! I would like to try the hemp and sage one on the grill with tomato, lettuce, and avocado.

    • Ben

      This looks amazing!

    • Amanda Thomas

      I would grill it with some mushrooms, peppers and onions.

    • VeggieNextDoor

      I would make the Falafel burgers with homemade tzatziki sauce 🙂

    • bitt

      I love Sunshine Burgers! I would probably thaw them first then grill them 5 min per side. Serve with plenty of pickles!

    • Shelah Segal

      This salad looks fantastic, JL! The Sunshine Burgers also look like the perfect addition to a well-stocked WFPB freezer!! Thanks for the opportunity to win 🙂

    • Donna F.

      With lots of added onions!

    • Adele

      I would prepare them with tomato, romaine lettuce and onion toppings with some organic ketchup

    • Bianca

      Wow. I love the idea of a veggie burger on top of a salad!! And I adore Sunshine burgers.

    • steph

      falafel sounds great!

    • bonitapita

      I’ve had the garden and southwest. Loved them both. I’d love to try the falafel.

    • princessfiona911

      I stayed using these burgers years ago. They are awesome and I don’t worry about what I’m eating. Great recipe. Can’t wait to try it!

    • Katherine

      I’ve had the falafel ones (didn’t grill them though) and they are SO. GOOD. I want to try all of them! I’d love it with some grilled peppers and onions!

    • Ricki

      You’ve convinced me!! They sound amazing. Such clean, yummy ingredients!

    • The Peace Patch

      I’d like to grill their Loco Chipotle burger then stack it in a bagel sandwich with plenty of veggies and a little extra hot sauce. 😉

    • sgrant

      Would love to try Sunshine Burgers. Going to look for them at the grocery.

    • ittyebb

      Id have to go with the Black Bean South West, would be nice grilled stove top with some grilled onions, and slices of tomato with a little vegenaise to dip in.

    • I would add grilled peppers to the burger.

    • Debra Lee

      With lots of fresh tomatoes

    • warren

      I have not tried these b urgers yet as I have not seen them at my store. The veggy burgers I have tried are not worth the money. I would try the Chipolte burger first as I like spicy

    • Amy

      Ooo, I love all the options!

    • Tory

      I would grill it and add to a salad. The falafel flavor sounds amazing.

    • I usually prepare burgers on the George Foreman Grill since our condo doesn’t allow us to have real grills 🙁

    • owsla

      I’d grill it like any other burger and eat it on a bun with lettuce, tomato, pickles, ketchup, mustard and vegan cheese!

    • Corrine

      I’d grill it with veggie skewers. =)

    • MatthewPR

      Those sound like good burgers. I should see you at Veg Fest.

      • JL

        Awesome, @MatthewPR:disqus! Please be sure to say hi!


      Well, probably plain– they’re good on their own with lettuce and tomato.

    • Ali Seiter

      With lots of caramelized onions!

    • Jamie W

      Do we have these in Texas? I have never seen them. I would LOVE to try all of the flavors!

    • Kitty Iecvan

      I’d grill a shiitake mushroom burger with some pepper and more mushrooms!

    • Rusty

      I would grill it with some sweet onions and some mushrooms and plate it with a garden salad with my homemade dressing

    • ammauceri

      We grill them with BBQ sauce and lots of veggies! 🙂

    • rachel

      I haven’t tried these yet because of the price, but they look delicious.

    • jeanne

      I would grill the falafel one and eat it with garlic hummus!

    • Amanda J

      To prepare a Sunshine Burger on the grill, I’d have my grillmaster friend do it. 😉

    • Victoria

      My husband would do the grilling for sure. I suspect he’d spray it with some olive oil to keep it from sticking to the grill grates and then would likely serve it on a toasted bun with some fresh veggie toppings.

    • Jessica Grigsby

      I’ll use crack black pepper, grilled tomatoes and stacks of jalapeno peppers

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