3 Easy Ways to a Healthier Barbecue
Posted by Hain Celestial on May 13, 2015 | A Healthier Way of Life
Smoke, Sizzle & Serve: By definition, grilling food on the barbecue is the tasty, healthy way to go. This summer, discover 3 easy steps and plenty of super-hot ideas to throw a healthier barbecue that’s anything but boring!
1. Sauce it up
Add taste, not fat, with lighter, smarter sauces that play the freshness card all the way. It’s summer after all!
Change it up from time to time by skipping the mayo and sour cream, using avocado and Greek yogurt to make healthier dips and dressings. For example, try subbing puréed avocado for mayo in Caesar salad dressing, potato salad, deviled eggs, coleslaw, picnic wraps, etc. You’ll be amazed!
- In most recipes, you can also replace mayo with an equal amount of Greek yogurt (if you have time, chill at least 30 minutes to marry flavours) or use half-half. Psst!... It’s also great in marinades to tenderize chicken and moisten fish.
Looking to make trendy Green Goddess Dressing a little healthier? Blend together 1 cup Greek yogurt, 1/2 cup cilantro (or 1 cup basil), 3 chopped scallions, juice of 3 limes, 1 clove garlic, dash of Tabasco, 2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, 1 large tbsp honey or maple syrup, salt and pepper. Adjust to desired thickness by adding yogurt or herbs, if needed.
- Grown in balcony planters and backyard gardens, or picked at the farmer’s market, fresh herbs add a little kick to every dish. Packed with flavour, they also reduce the need for salt (we like that!).
Use basil pesto to marinade fish and chicken, or add crushed mint to lamb rubs. Amp up the taste of pesto by also using ramps, garlic flower or chives. Make a basic herb salsa, mixing olive oil, vinegar, salt, pepper and your choice of fine-chopped fresh herbs…then vary endlessly: add capers, anchovy paste, minced olives, chopped blanched almonds or roasted pine nuts, citrus zest, grilled and minced jalapeno, chopped tomatillos, etc.
- Fresh fruit can also serve to create surprising savoury dressings that will spruce up any dish. The possibilities are endless!
Top burgers with fruit ketchup or Indian chutney. Sneak blueberries into homemade rib sauce. Serve kebabs with spicy fruit compote (just sauté onion in olive oil, add chopped fruit and optional herbs, then simmer until softened). Or jazz up tomato-based salsas with almost any fruit: peaches, mango, pineapple, etc.
2. Get grilling
Vegetables are one of summer’s all-stars, adding zesty taste and splashy colours to anything you serve.
They’re also timely switch-hitters to replace trans fat champs like cheese and bacon. Here are a few pointers to veg it up all summer:
- To add great smoky flavour, skip the bacon and discover the wonder of onions caramelized on the barbecue.
Just wrap thick-sliced onions in foil with olive oil, salt, pepper and optional herbs, then grill 20 minutes on the barbecue.
- Transform the plainest burger with naturally sweet roasted red peppers.
Baste peppers with vegetable oil, then char on all sides directly on the grill. Transfer to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap to steam off the skin. Peel, remove seeds, cut into large strips and smother in olive oil, sliced garlic, kosher salt and pepper. Chill up to 2-3 weeks and use as you go.
- While portobellos make great meatless burgers, they’re also a winning garnish.
Baste portobellos in BBQ sauce, then put on the barbecue. Grill 10 to 20 minutes depending on size, removing and dunking mushrooms in even more sauce from time to time. Hot, hot, hot!
3. Go meatless
Did you know meatless burgers have been gaining in popularity even among non-vegetarians?
No wonder! They’re a great choice to get your protein fix without worrying about fat or cholesterol. Most veggie burgers also provide 3 or so grams of fibre, as opposed to beef burgers that are devoid of fibre entirely.
- In fact, a quick nutritional comparison of Yves Veggie Cuisine® burgers vs. traditional hamburgers would sway even the most die-hard meat lovers!
- Need more convincing? Our kitchens have developed two easy vegan burgers using simple yet surprising garnishes to help reinvent your good ol’ burger: Chipotle Lentil & Quinoa Veggie Burgers and Hawaiian-style Veggie Burgers - In fact, why not test them with your family tonight? (Hush now, don’t tell them they’re meatless, they may not even tell the difference!)
- To learn more about meatless burgers, guest nutritionist Charlotte Geroudet has also come up with some great ideas here. You’ll see: It’s deliciously easy to go healthy, barbecue-style!
Of course, what would a summer barbecue be without some quick appetizers and easy side dishes? Visit our Facebook page to discover more tasty tips and share your own recipes!