There’s no better way to cap off a great summer than with a barbecue cookout with your loved ones. Of course, your festivities might look somewhat different this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic and continued social distancing guidelines. But don’t worry: even if you’re only able to host a small, extra-safe gathering, you can show your guests an awesome time. And since health and wellness are everyone’s priorities these days, why not make your spread both delicious and good for you? Check out these healthy eats, including yummy BBQ recipes for grilled chicken and fish; veggies and fruit; and more.
- Grilled Chicken and Fish Recipes
- Grilled Vegetables and Fruit
- Make End-of-Summer Dessert a No-Brainer
- Have a Happy and Healthy Rest of the Summer!
Grilled Chicken and Fish Recipes
If you’ve been grilling burgers, steaks, and hot dogs all summer, maybe it’s time for something new and different. Try chicken and fish: they’re tasty, versatile, and better for your cardiovascular health than red meat. That’s why they figure into so many popular BBQ recipes. Here are a few guaranteed crowd-pleasers for your get-together.
Thai-Style Chicken Satay Skewers
Check out these delicious Thai-style chicken satay skewers (serves four) in spicy peanut sauce from the always-excellent Skinnytaste. They’re amazingly flavorful, low carb, and gluten-free!
- ½ cup light coconut milk
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce (in the Asian cooking section of your supermarket)
- 2 teaspoons red curry paste
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
- ½ ground turmeric
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Black pepper, to taste
- 1¼ lb boneless and skinless chicken cutlets
- 16 bamboo skewers, soaked in water
- Lime wedges for garnish
- 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro, for garnish
- 1 tablespoon chopped peanuts, for garnish
For the dipping sauce
- ⅓ cup low-sodium chicken broth
- 2 tablespoons peanut butter
- 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce, or Tamari for gluten-free
- 1 teaspoon grated ginger
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 1 teaspoon Sriracha chili sauce (skip this if you don’t like spicy!)
- 1 small garlic clove, minced
Combine the marinade ingredients (except for the chicken) in a bowl. Slice the chicken into long, thin strips (3” long by 1” wide) and add them to the marinade. Chill for at least four hours.
Prepare the dipping sauce by whisking all ingredients together in a medium saucepan. Bring it to a boil, reduce the heat, and stir until smooth (about 5 min). Allow sauce to cool to room temperature.
Thread the marinated chicken onto the skewers and grill on high heat, about 2–3 minutes on each side. Garnish with chopped cilantro and peanuts, and serve with lime wedges and dipping sauce.
Grilled Salmon with Lemon and Dill
Rich in omega-3s and protein, salmon is always a great choice for a main dish. Additionally, grilling it outdoors means the scent won’t linger in your kitchen for days. Try this yummy, Mediterranean-inspired grilling recipe (serves four) from Well Plated by Erin. It’s healthy eats you won’t want to miss!
- 1 ½ pounds salmon (boneless and skinless)
- 1 small bunch of fresh dill
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1 medium lemon, sliced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
Line a baking sheet with a large piece of aluminum foil and coat the foil in baking spray. Place half the lemon slices and several sprigs of dill in the middle of the sheet. Layer the salmon on top. Drizzle with melted butter and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Top with minced garlic, more dill, and the rest of the lemons. Reserve a tablespoon of dill for serving.
Fold the edges of the aluminum foil over the top of the salmon so that it is completely covered, leaving room for air to circulate. Cook on medium heat for 14–18 minutes with the grill closed.
Open the grill and carefully open the foil packet so that the salmon is exposed. Close the grill and cook for an additional 3 minutes or so. To serve, remove the dill sprigs and cut into portions. Serve with chopped dill and lemons.
Grilled Vegetables and Fruit
Healthy grilling recipes don’t have to involve meat at all. You can serve grilled fruit and vegetables as tasty side dishes at your BBQ or offer a completely plant-based menu. With the right seasoning, many veggies can be as satisfying as meat entrees.
When it comes to getting nutrients from veggies, grilling is an excellent cooking method. Check out these herb-grilled vegetables (serves six) from Food Network. They’re so quick and easy that this just may become one of your favorite healthy bbq recipes.
- ½ cup chicken broth (or use vegetable for vegan cooking)
- ½ teaspoon dried and crushed thyme leaves
- 1 large pepper, cut into wide strips
- ⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 large red onion, cut into thick slices
- 1 medium zucchini or yellow squash, cut into thick slices
- 2 cups large mushrooms
Combine the broth, thyme, and black pepper in a bowl and brush the mixture onto the vegetables. Lightly oil the grill rack and preheat to medium heat. Cook the vegetables for about 10 minutes, turning once midway through. Continue to baste the veggies on the grill. Remove from heat and enjoy!
To add something sweet to your savory spread, try grilling your favorite fruits, too. Get a load of these gorgeous fruit kabobs from Feel Good Foodie and I Heart Naptime. It’s easy to recreate the ones pictured or come up with your own.
Make End-of-Summer Dessert a No-Brainer
Hosting a gathering usually means you’re pretty busy, between preparing and serving food and chatting with your guests. Take a shortcut to delicious dessert by preparing your ingredients in advance and using your Instant Pot pressure cooker to finish the job. Two Sleevers has compiled 13 low-carb dessert recipes you can make in your pot, like gluten-free coconut almond cake. When it’s almost time for dessert, you can pop everything you need into your cooker and go back to enjoying your company. Using the Instant Pot will take some of the, well, pressure off you.
End the Summer With These Healthy Eats
Start fall off right with an end-of-summer weekend barbecue that’s all about healthy eats. With so many tasty options available, your guests will be asking about next year’s party before this one ends!