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August 17th

Try these sizzling healthy treats this BBQ Season

Go to a barbecue and you’re often served a hot dog smothered in tomato ketchup with fried onions. It’s a classic winner, there’s no denying it, however, if you want to be more health conscious, then it’s time to switch from the red and fatty meats to leaner and more creative options.

Barbecue the Healthy Way

Barbecuing can actually be really healthy, and it also means eating outside in the glorious summer evenings; which in the UK is a treat indeed, especially since we spend so much of our time indoors during the winter months. Start cheffing in the garden and you can make the most of the lingering summer sun, and enjoy increased time to mix with any guests you have over, as instead of keeping a lonely vigil over the kitchen stove you’ll be able to BBQ and banter at the same time.

We’ve picked three easy ideas for some light and delightful al fresco eating.

Monkfish kebab

Whilst being much cheaper, monkfish is often likened to lobster because of its firm texture. You can grill the fresh tail fillets whole or even cut them into medallions, as unlike other more popular varieties, monkfish doesn’t flake apart over heat. It’s a great meat alternative too, with a fleshy appearance. Another plus for this little used fish is its lack of skeleton. Because you eat the cartilage-supported tail there are zero bones to pick out. It’s a low-fat, low-calorie option too.

If you fancy some extra zing, marinate the fish in soy sauce, lime and chilli flakes for about 30 minutes. Or simply season with lemon juice and garlic rather than salt. These two ingredients will still impart a lot of flavour and save precious calories. Top tip: it’s best to save some marinade to brush your meat or fish with every 10 minutes as it cooks. This way it will add moisture, trap the smoke flavour in and caramelise gently as it goes.

Pop the monkfish cubes on a skewer interspersed with chunks of ripe mango, drizzle over some olive oil plus the juice of one lime. Delicious!

 Falafel burger 

Transform protein power house chick peas into this healthy burger that’s filling too. Serve this Middle-Eastern inspired meal up for anyone who craves a big bite but who doesn’t want the calories.

Drain a tin of chick peas and dab off excess water with a kitchen towel, then tip them into a blender along with a chopped garlic clove, 1 small red onion, a handful of parsley, 1 tsp of cumin, coriander, ½ tsp of chilli powder, 2 tbsp of flour and a pinch of salt. Pulse these ingredients until you get a fairly smooth combo and then shape the mixture into patties. Brush each side with olive oil, chill in the fridge for 20 mins and then get them on the BBQ. Make sure the coals are glowing white as this is when the heat reaches its most even state.

Pair the burger with sliced aubergines to complete the Mediterranean feel of the meal. Brush the aubergine thins with oil and sprinkle over cayenne pepper, oregano, thyme, paprika and garlic powder – or get creative and mix up your own Cajun-esque seasoning – then leave over the heat for about 4-5 minutes per side.

Greek-Guac lime dressing

Whip up this quick salad dressing to enhance any veggies you eat as a side, or even pour over lean meats like turkey or chicken.

Abundant in health benefits, avocados boast an amazing offering of nutrients. In its impressive line-up are: vitamin C to maintain good skin and strong cells, vitamin K to encourage wound healing, vitamin B5 to help get energy from food, vitamin B6 to help red blood cells carry oxygen around the body; vitamin E to strengthen the immune system, Folic acid which contributes to making DNA, and Potassium which helps maintain consistent blood pressure. If ever there was a wonder food, the avo is it!

You’ve probably eaten it on toast, as a side, or in guacamole, but make this light sauce and have absolutely no qualms about drizzling it on your salad and then drizzling on some more. Instead of a cream base, this uses Greek yogurt, so you don’t have to worry about piling on the calories.

To get one small jug of this lovely stuff, whizz up the following in a food processor, adding water to get your desired consistency. It should be ready in about 5-7 minutes.

1 avocado, 1 clove of garlic, 15g of roughly chopped coriander, 60g of low fat Greek yogurt, 1 tbsp fresh lime juice, 3 tbsp olive oil, ¼ tsp salt, ¼ tsp ground black pepper.

Whilst the grill might not be as familiar as your go-to oven or pan, it’s a great way to get into a lighter and healthier dinner rhythm as the evenings continue to be long. Quality of food high, quality of free time high, and to top it off, there’s minimal washing up too! You might even be able to fit in a late sesh at the gym. Get those tongs at the ready…

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