Who doesn’t love long weekends spent with friends and family in the sunshine celebrating an extra day off of school and work?! My absolute favourite way to unwind and reconnect with the people I love most is by throwing a backyard barbeque…fresh air, good laughs and great food!
As a nutritionist hosting foodie get-togethers I am always looking for healthy recipes, but as a Mom I also need to make sure they are tasty enough for my children to dig in to as well. We all know the typical BBQ fare: cheeseburgers, hot dogs, creamy macaroni and pasta salads—and we also know how eating these foods makes us feel…gassy, bloated, thirsty, and craving more processed, high-sodium or sugary foods.
So I have created a few recipes that will leave your guests gushing about how delicious, vibrant and fun your event was and that your children will also enjoy.
For your base meal plan you can still offer up typical BBQ grub but with a healthier twist. Try sourcing grass-fed, grass-finished beef for your burgers or purchase organic turkey to make turkey burgers. Swap out processed hot dogs for nitrate-free sausages; you can still have your pasta salad but choose gluten-free pasta, top with mixed veggies and toss with olive oil, apple cider vinegar, salt, pepper and fresh herbs instead of a thick creamy dressing. So that you won’t be left missing that creamy texture, crumble some goat cheese on top for the extra va va voom effect.
Instead of a creamy potato salad, I’m going to be dishing out a Grilled Sweet Potato Black Bean Salad instead. I plate this colourful salad on a white platter layered with fresh Boston or Bibb lettuce to build what my guests refer to as the focal point of the table at meal-time. Gorgeous, filing and makes for great leftovers.
Did you know that sweet potatoes are rich in B6, vitamin C, iron, magnesium, potassium and carotenoids? They are the perfect addition to any meal or salad to add an extra hit of colour and mega dose of nutrients.
I use US organic Sweet Potatoes for this recipe and most of my sweet potato recipes, especially when our short season for these beauties has ended. Most people roast their sweet potatoes but for this recipe I pulled out my Philips Infrared Smokeless Grill to get the job done. The barbecue intimidates me so I prefer using my indoor, much easier to clean grill instead. It heats up quick and cools down just as fast.
Instead of having bowls of salted peanuts or mixed nuts out I like to offer my guest something different to nibble on. With so many children having dangerous nut allergies I don’t even like taking the risk so I have found these delicious Coconut Chips from Thirsty Buddha that my kids absolutely LOVE. For them they like the original or chocolate flavor and for me I love the spicy hit of the Wasabi flavor. It feels so good knowing they are getting a great non-GMO, plant-based healthy food into their bellies without a ton of sugar. A big bonus is that Thirsty Buddha is a Canadian company to boot.
No BBQ is complete without a cocktail or two. Being the health-conscious girl that I am I created this hydrating version of a cocktail using coconut water as the base instead of sugary pop or anything artificially sweetened. My Skinny Colada Cocktail with muddled mint and lime is the perfect flirty drink for kicking up your heels without overdoing it with sugar and calories. Plus it makes a great alternative to pop for kids when served without alcohol.
Turkey Feta Burgers
Makes 4-6 patties depending on size.
- 1 pkg organic, ground turkey
- ½ cup goat feta
- 1-2 fresh garlic cloves, minced
- fresh herbs and spices to your liking
Prep and Cook:
- Combine all ingredients to form patties and grill. You do not need eggs or breadcrumbs to hold these together.
- Use your Hamilton Beach Smokeless Grill to grill until clear juice runs and you achieve your desired taste, texture and flavor.
- Serve on a gluten-free bun or on top of Boston or Bibb lettuce and garnishes of your choice.
Grilled Sweet Potato and Black Bean Salad
Serves 8 (as a side)
Prep Time: 20 minutes
- 2 large sweet potatoes
- 1 head of Boston or Bibb lettuce (for the platter display)
- 1 can organic black beans, rinsed
- 1 can organic baby corn kernels, rinsed
- 2 cups shredded red cabbage
- ½ cucumber, diced
- 1 red pepper, diced
- 1 yellow pepper, diced
- 4 large radishes, finely diced
- Handful fresh basil, chives and parsley for garnish
- ¼ cup hemp seeds
- ¼ cup capers
- 2 avocados, halved, pitted and diced
- Your favourite vinaigrette or healthy dressing, to taste
Prep and Cook:
- Arrange lettuce on your platter.
- In a large mixing bowl add all of your prepped vegetable ingredients together (minus the herbs).
- Drizzle some dressing and toss.
- Spoon the salad mixture over the lettuce-covered platter and top with avocado, hemp seeds, capers and freshly chopped herbs.
- Pour the rest of the dressing over top and let sit until you are ready to serve this gorgeous dish up to your guests.
Skinny Colada Cocktail with Muddled Mint and Lime
- 2oz. vodka or rum
- 2 oz Thirsty Buddha Coconut Water
- 2 oz pineapple juice
- Splash of mineral water
- 1/2 lime, juiced, plus a slice or wedge for garnishing
- 4-6 mint leaves
- Shredded coconut for rimming your glass
Prep and Cook:
- Run a lime around the rim of a margarita glass and then invert onto a plate of shredded coconut to evenly coat the rim.
- Place the mint in the bottom of the glass and use a muddler to twist and break apart your fresh mint. Squeeze fresh lime juice over top.
- Add ice to your glass and pour in your alcohol of choice, coconut water, pineapple juice and splash of mineral water.
- Garnish with a few extra mint sprigs and sliced lime on the side.
- For extra colour and flavour, use frozen berries instead of ice cubes.