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7 Killer Barbecue Recipes for the Ultimate Backyard BBQ

All-American food is comforting and delicious but it’s not exactly known for being the healthiest fare, both in terms of calories and ingredients.

I have good news though: you can skip the hot dogs and choose good-for-you recipes for your cookout instead and still savor every bite.

Whether you’re planning a grand ol’ feast for Fourth of July or simply want to make the most of the sunny summer weather with friends, these recipes for outdoor grilling will do the trick.


Better-than-Potato Salad

Potato Recipes

Picture courtesy of Ben E. Keith

What’s a BBQ without a potato salad – or three? Put together this alternative and your Saturday morning in the kitchen won’t be time wasted when your salad bowl gets lost in the mix.

Serves 4 / Makes 4 cups


4 cups lupini beans, cooked

2 celery stalks

2 Tbsp. parsley

5 gherkin pickles, minced

½ cup red onion

2 hard-boiled eggs

½ cup silken tofu

2 Tbsp. unfiltered apple cider vinegar

¼ tsp. kosher salt

½ tsp. pepper


1. In a large bowl, mix together the lupini beans, celery, parsley, pickles, red onion, and chopped eggs.

2. In a small bowl, combine the tofu, apple cider vinegar, salt, and pepper. Pour over the bean salad, and toss to coat.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 179

Protein: 6 grams

Carbs: 23 grams

Fat: 4 grams

Grilled Peach Shrimp Satay


Picture courtesy of Bon Aepptit

You can make the most of the summer harvest with fruit salads, pies, and smoothies. But why not toss those juicy peaches on the grill? They’ll develop an even richer flavor that pairs well with jumbo shrimp, bok choy, and Thai chili.

Serves 4


6 Tbsp. smooth organic peanut butter

1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar

3 Tbsp. seasoned rice vinegar

2 Tbsp. soy sauce

2 – 3 tsp. sriracha

9 Tbsp. peach nectar, divided

3 peaches, each cut into 6 wedges

16 large shrimp, peeled and deveined

6 heads of baby bok choy, halved lengthwise


1. Heat the grill up to somewhere in the range of medium-high.

2. Make a sauce by whisking together peanut butter, brown sugar, rice vinegar, soy sauce, sriracha, and a little more than half of the peach nectar.

3. Add peach slices, shrimp, and bok choy to the grill. Brush all three with remaining peach nectar, as well as ¼ of the sauce. The peaches will be done first when slightly charred. The shrimp and bok choy will both take about 3 minutes per side.

4. Transfer the shrimp, bok choy, and peaches to a large plate. Drizzle with some of the sauce, and serve the rest at the table.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 414

Protein: 50 grams

Carbs: 55 grams

Fat: 15 grams


Cajun Chicken Sandwich


Picture courtesy of Good Food

No one’s saying not to serve burgers for a backyard bash, but to give guests a lower-calorie alternative, try throwing these grilled chicken sandwiches on the grill too.

They are high in protein and low in fat, and the spice blend makes it super satisfying – like a homemade version of a drive-thru classic.

Serves 6


6 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (4 oz. each)

1 Tbsp. olive oil

½ tsp. celery salt

½ tsp. garlic salt

½ tsp. lemon-pepper seasoning

¼ tsp. cayenne pepper

6 Kaiser rolls

12 tomato slices

6 lettuce leaves


1. With the chicken breasts between plastic bag or in a plastic bag, use a meat tenderizer to flatten them. Lightly coat both sides with oil.

2. In a small bowl, mix together the celery salt, garlic salt, lemon pepper, and cayenne. Evenly sprinkle the seasoning on the chicken breast, and rub to distribute evenly. Lay in a rectangular baking dish, cover, and leave in the fridge for two hours minimum.

3.  Grill the chicken, and cover with foil. They’ll be ready after cooking on 3–5 minutes on each side. Serve on Kaiser rolls, and top with tomato and lettuce.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 410

Protein: 39 grams

Carbs: 32 grams

Fat: 13 grams


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Light Lobster Roll


Picture courtesy of Grubarazzi

What says summer celebration like succulent lobster rolls? Some recipes, however, will be soaked in butter and thus really hard to fit into any kind of sensible meal plan.

Lighten it up a little – leaving room for plenty of coleslaw and other sides – with this version from Hung Huynh, winner of season three of Top Chef and executive chef at seafood spots, Catch and Catch Miami, plus a modern Asian restaurant, The General.

Serves 4


3 lb. lobster

Juice and zest of 1 lemon

3 Tbsp. olive oil

1 Tbsp. sweet rice wine (mirin)

1 tsp. Dijon mustard

1 Tbsp. chopped chives

2 tsp. minced shallot

1 pinch paprika

Zest of one lemon

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

4 potato rolls


1. Fill a large stockpot with water and a dash of salt, and bring to a boil. Add the lobster to cook for 8 minutes.

2. Remove the lobster meat, about 2 cups’ worth, and chop. Mix with lemon juice and zest, olive oil, mirin, Dijon, chives, shallot, and paprika. Add salt and pepper to taste.

3. Toast the potato rolls, and stuff with lobster. Dig in immediately, and enjoy.

Nutrition Facts

Calories: 363

Protein: 18 grams

Carbs: 42 grams

Fat: 14 grams


Grilled Green Beans with Cumin and Smoked Paprika


Picture courtesy of Pinch and Swirl

If you’re looking to cook veggies on the grill, green beans probably aren’t your first pick. In fact, they likely aren’t on your list of options at all because their size and shape make green beans the perfect fit for falling through the rack.

A skillet made for the grill is an easy solution but it’s not needed if you don’t mind losing a few to the fire.

Serves 4


¼ cup olive oil

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp. ground cumin

½ tsp. smoked paprika

Pinch of cayenne pepper

1 lb. fresh green beans, washed and trimmed

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Juice of ½ lemon (about 1 Tbsp.)


1. In a large bowl, whisk together olive oil, garlic, cumin, paprika, and cayenne. Toss the green beans in the mixture to evenly coat.

2. Spread out the green beans in a single layer on the grill, or add to a grill pan. Cook for about 8 minutes until they’re crispy on the outside, tender on the inside.

3. Remove from the grill, and season with salt and pepper. Squeeze lemon juice over the top, and serve.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 150

Protein: 2 grams

Carbs: 9 grams

Fat: 13 grams


Seedy Tahini Coleslaw


Picture courtesy of Lunchbox Bunch

Don’t like mayo? This is a more flavorful coleslaw thanks to the use of tahini as dressing instead.

Plus, it’s vegan for guests who have special dietary needs, and the addition of sesame, pumpkin, and hemp seeds (or your seeds of choice) will give this classic BBQ side dish a big nutritional boost.

Serves 10


1 medium head of green cabbage

1 small sweet onion, diced

1 green apple, diced

2 Tbsp. unfiltered apple cider vinegar

2 Tbsp. seasoned rice vinegar

¼ cup agave syrup

Juice of one large orange

4–5 Tbsp. tahini

1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

1 tsp. ground cayenne

1 Tbsp. cumin powder

1 tsp. coriander

¼ tsp. sea salt

¼ cup sesame seeds

¼ cup pumpkin seeds

2 Tbsp. hemp seeds


1. Halve the cabbage, and slice it into strips. Add to a large bowl with the red onion and apple, and set aside.

2. Whisk together apple cider vinegar, agave syrup, orange juice, tahini, black pepper, cayenne, cumin, coriander, and sea salt to make the dressing.

3. Pour the dressing over the cabbage mix, and add sesame and pumpkin seeds. Toss very well, cover, and let chill for at least an hour.

4. Remove from the fridge immediately before serving, and garnish with hemp seeds.

 Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 184

Protein: 6 grams

Carbs: 21 grams

Fat: 10 grams


Grilled Cornmeal and Mixed Berry Clafouti


Picture courtesy of The Year of the Cookie

The grill isn’t just for hot dogs, hamburgers, and veggies. Did you know you can prepare an amazing dessert on the barbie too?

With the addition of cornmeal, this rustic French classic becomes an American adaptation that’s crispy on the outside, soft and light on the inside.

Serves 8


1 cup yellow cornmeal

½ cup whole wheat pastry flour

¾ cup sugar

1 ½ tsp. baking powder

½ tsp. baking soda

½ tsp. salt

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1 ½ cups low-fat buttermilk

2 pints blueberries

1 pint raspberries

3 Tbsp. rum

1 Tbsp. powdered sugar

½ cup heavy cream (optional)


1. Preheat the grill to bake the clafouti over indirect heat, about 325°F. Then prepare a 9-inch round cake pan by lightly greasing it with sunflower oil.

2. In a large bowl, stir together cornmeal, flour, ½ cup sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Pour in the eggs and buttermilk, and mix until the dry ingredients are incorporated but not smooth. Fold in one pint each of the berries, careful not to over-mix. Transfer to the greased cake pan.

3. Place the cake pan on the grill, ensuring it isn’t directly over the fire. Bake for about 50 minutes with the grill covered. The clafouti is finished when it can pass the toothpick test. Remove from the grill, and cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes.

4. Spread out the charcoal for direct grilling, or turn the gas burners to medium. In a large skillet, melt butter before adding the remaining blueberries, raspberries, and sugar. Stir until the sugar is dissolved and berries are glazed. Remove from heat, and add the rum.

5. Brush the grill with oil, and then loosen the clafouti from the sides of the pan to turn it out. Before you do, though, brush the top with the liquid from the sautéed berries. Then, flip the pan so the clafouti is right on the grate. Leave for just a minute or two, and use a spatula to move it to flat plate or baking sheet. Cover it with the serving dish or platter, and transfer.

6. Before enjoying dessert, sprinkle it with powdered sugar and a drizzle of warm cream. Top with berries and their syrup.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 310

Protein: 7 grams

Carbs: 59 grams

Fat: 6 grams


What did you think of these barbecue recipes? Have anything else to share? Let me know in the comments below!

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