Summer is known for outdoor fun and BBQs, typically featuring burgers and dogs, potato salad and potato chips and ice cream and brownies. And beer. It’s not exactly the healthiest menu for outdoor eating, but definitely traditional and fun.
If you’re looking to keep the tastiness but lose some of the fat and calories in a fairly standard summer BBQ menu, we have you covered here. Check out the recipes we’ve uncovered for some more nutritious ways to enjoy a BBQ or beach picnic. While there is a bit of prep work involved, it’s definitely worth it to benefit from healthier options. Plus, you’ll get to enjoy your party rather than be stuck at the grill!
Healthy Summer Recipes
Vegetarian Black Bean Burgers (Daily Burn)
- ¼ cup rolled oats
- 1 cup fresh breadcrumbs (roughly a 2-ounce piece of bread)
- ¼ teaspoon lime zest
- ¾ tsp chili powder
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- ½ yellow onion, chopped
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1 tsp chopped fresh oregano
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
Pulse the oats in a food processor until fine. Transfer into a large bowl with breadcrumbs, zest, chili powder and salt. Whisk together ingredients.
Combine beans, garlic and onions in the food processor and pulse until mixture becomes a thick paste. Scrape bean mixture into the oat and breadcrumb bowl and mix with a spatula. Add the egg and oregano and stir until just combined.
With moistened hands, divide the bean mixture into 4 equal portions and shape each into a 3-inch patty.
Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add patties to pan and cook until bottom edges are browned, about 4 minutes. Carefully turn patties over and cook 3 minutes longer or until bottom edges are browned.
Crispy Oven “Fried” Chicken (Daily Burn)
- 2 pounds bone-in chicken thighs and legs, skin removed (approximately 8 pieces)
- 1 cup low-fat buttermilk
- 2 teaspoons hot sauce
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 2/3 cup gluten-free flour
- 1-1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1-1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- 3 cups gluten-free corn flakes
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Olive oil cooking spray
In a bowl, stir together the buttermilk, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce and Dijon mustard. Add the chicken and store in the fridge for a minimum of 30 minutes, or up to six hours, to allow the meat to tenderize.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and place a wire rack on a baking sheet.
In a Ziploc bag, combine the flour, paprika, garlic powder and chili powder. Remove chicken from the buttermilk marinade, and pour the excess into a shallow dish.
Place the corn flakes, salt and pepper in a Ziploc bag and crush with your hands or a rolling pin until they are broken into very small pieces.
Dredge one to two pieces of chicken at a time in the bag of flour. Next, place the chicken in the buttermilk, using a spoon to coat it evenly. Finally, put the chicken in the bag of cornflakes and shake until evenly covered.
Place the chicken on the wire rack and lightly coat with cooking spray.
Bake the chicken in the oven for 40 to 45 minutes, until the coating becomes crisp and golden in color.
9-Layer Mexican Dip (Jeanette’s Healthy Living)
Turkey Taco Meat
- 2teaspoons olive oil
- 1/2-pound turkey
- 2tablespoons taco seasoning
- 1 15-ouncecan vegetarian refried beans
- 1/2cup red bell pepper finely diced
- 1/2cup salsa
- 1/2cup fresh tomatoes diced, optional
- 1-1/2cups low-fat shredded Mexican blend cheese
- 1-1/2cups guacamole
- 1cup non-fat Greek yogurt
- pickled jalapeno pepper slicesas desired
- 1/4cup chopped red onions
- 1scallion minced, optional
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Turkey Taco Meat
Heat oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add ground turkey and cook until browned. Add taco seasoning and continue cooking for 2-3 minutes.
Making the Dip
In a large pie pan or square baking dish, layer refried beans, red bell peppers, turkey taco meat, salsa, tomatoes (if using), and shredded cheese.
Bake until cheese is melted and beans and taco meat are heated through, about 20-25 minutes. Remove from oven. Add a layer of guacamole, yogurt, some jalapeno pepper slices, chopped onions and scallions.
Sweet & Spicy Baked Beans (Eating Well)
- 3 tablespoons canola oil
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 4 slices bacon, chopped (optional)
- 3 (15-ounce) cans low-sodium navy or great northern beans, rinsed
- 1½ cups water
- ¾ cup ketchup
- ⅓ cup brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- 1 teaspoon chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground pepper
Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and bacon, if using; cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, 6 to 10 minutes.
Add beans, water, ketchup, brown sugar, vinegar, chipotle, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the beans are very tender and the liquid has thickened, about 30 minutes.
To make ahead: Refrigerate for up to 3 days.
Grilled Potatoes (SkinnyTaste)
- 2 (13 oz total) medium russet potatoes, washed
- 2 tsp olive oil
- Sea salt and fresh cracked pepper
Cut potatoes into 1/4-inch thick slices. For fun, you can use a fancy crinkle knife with ridges if you have one, but straight cuts are also fine. Toss the potatoes with olive oil. Add salt, and pepper to your taste.
Reduce heat on the grill to medium and lay the potatoes slices straight onto the grill; close the lid. Cook until the potatoes are golden on one side, about 6 to 10 minutes, making sure they don’t burn and adjusting flame accordingly. Turn and cook until tender inside when pierced with a fork, but slightly crisp and golden brown on the outside. Remove from grill, and serve immediately.
Fruity Fun Skewers (All Recipes)
- 5 large strawberries, halved
- 1/4 cantaloupe, cut into balls or cubes
- 2 bananas, peeled and cut into chunks
- 1 apple, cut into chunks
- 20 skewers
Thread the strawberries, cantaloupe, banana and apple pieces alternately onto skewers, placing at least 2 pieces of fruit on each skewer. Add more fruit to each as preferred. Arrange the fruit skewers decoratively on a serving platter. Simple, healthy, and delicious!
Chocolate-Mint Fro-Yo Cupcakes (Eating Well)
- 1½ cups chocolate snaps, such as Mi-Del (about 4 ounces)
- 2 tablespoons melted butter
- 2 pints nonfat chocolate frozen yogurt, softened (4 cups)
- ¼ teaspoon pure peppermint extract
- 12 small mint sprigs for garnish
Generously coat a 12-cup muffin tin with cooking spray.
Place cookies in a food processor and process until fine crumbs form. Transfer to a medium bowl and stir in melted butter. Press about 1 tablespoon of the mixture in the bottom of each muffin cup.
Combine frozen yogurt and peppermint extract in a medium bowl, stirring until well combined. Fill each muffin cup with a generous ¼ cup of the mixture. Press a mint leaf on top, if desired. Freeze until firm, at least 3 hours.