Healthy Recipes for Summer Cookouts
Food, warm weather, and good company.. what more could you ask for? Don't miss out on summertime cookouts just for fear of breaking your clean-eating streak. Take advantage of fresh summer flavors and your grill to create a healthy menu of lean meats, tart sauces, and gorgeous salads.
Orange Chicken Skewers with Jalapeño-Mint Yogurt Dip
Tangy Greek yogurt and fresh mint are a refreshing balance to the heat of a jalapeño, but to tame the spice a bit more, simply remove the seeds of your jalapeño before dicing and stirring into the yogurt. This recipe serves 2, but is easily doubled to serve more (or if you want to make sure you have leftovers). If you are using wooden skewers, be sure to soak them in cold water prior to grilling.
Smoked Potato Salad
This is the recipe you need for those potluck gatherings where you really want to impress but then find you’re supposed to bring … potato salad. This version will wow, from its beautiful indigo color to its rich, smoky flavor. A nice hit of cumin and chipotle chile powder amplifies the smokiness and makes for a deeply savory salad. If the purple potatoes (or other small, waxy potatoes if you can’t find purple ones) are larger than we specify, cut them in half so they’ll cook evenly and get tender.
Grilled Avocado Salad
Avocados are the charred base for cherry tomatoes, cilantro, cheese, and pickled red onion in this vibrant and satisfying salad.
Harissa Grilled Chicken Skewers
These skewers get a nice, long marinating time due to the low amount of lemon juice. If your marinade is loaded with vinegar or citrus, go for 30 minutes to an hour at most to ensure the best texture.
Grilled Shrimp Skewers with Charred Asparagus and Snap Peas
Get the extra charred flavor by cooking the veggies in your cast iron skillet directly on the grill, rather than the stovetop.
Cacio e Pepe Roasted Potato Salad
Cheese and potatoes are an indisputably good combination—and this side's sure to become a picnic, cookout, and even a weeknight favorite. Try this peppery potato salad alongside a grilled steak and be sure to serve it immediately to retain the potatoes' crispy texture.
Tomato, Peach, and Corn Salad
The summer's favorite produce is compiled together to create this vibrant and beautiful salad. The salad is tossed in a sweet and savory honey vinaigrette and topped with feta for a stunning finish.
Charred Squash Salad
I love this salad over sliced tomatoes with burrata or crumbled Valbreso feta, or as a complement to any protein. The herbs can be swapped for any herbs of your choice. Rotating the squash on the grill before turning allows for a little more char.
Caramelized Tomato Bruschetta
One of our favorite grilling techniques is to use a cast-iron skillet. It’s ideal for charring cherry tomatoes, since it keeps them from falling through the grate. If you have the real estate on your grill, you can do steps 2 and 3 at the same time.
Grilled Salmon with White Bean and Arugula Salad
Ask for salmon fillets from the head end of the fish--the tail end is much thinner. This light salad is the perfect base for any fresh fish that you desire.
Sriracha-Lime Grilled Watermelon
BBQ Chicken with Peach and Feta Slaw
This summery crunch-tastic slaw is guaranteed to find its way into your recipe rotation for the rest of the season. Using ripe, juicy peaches, it's the perfect sweet-salty side dish for any number of grilled or smoked proteins.
Three-Bean Pasta Salad
We combined two potluck classics—pasta salad and three-bean salad—to make one tasty new side dish. Blanched celery is the unexpected star in this side dish; it has a tender-crisp texture and bright green color. Swap out the canned beans for your favorite cooked field peas.
Grilled Four-Onion Pizzas
This pizza showcases the best of the allium family--from the sharp top notes of fresh chives to the deep flavors of sautéed leeks. Go green with your pizza and you won't look back. Grocers like Publix and Whole Foods sell pre made, whole-wheat dough, making this recipe a breeze.
Mushroom-Potato Salad with Miso "Mayo"
The salad holds up well and can be made up to a day ahead--but bring it to room temperature before serving for the biggest umami blast. White miso is the umami-bomb base of the dressing that will have you licking the bowl. It's potato salad like you've never had before, guaranteed to steal the show at your next barbecue.
Chicken Kebabs with Spicy Sauce
That jar of salsa hanging out in the back of your fridge has more in store for it than a date with a bag of tortilla chips. This easy chicken kebabs recipe will help you teach that lycopene-rich salsa some tasty new tricks.
Grilled Peaches with Honey Cream
You can use apricots or nectarines instead of peaches. We recommend garnishing this dessert with fresh mint.
Spicy Tomato-Cucumber Salad
This elegantly simple salad is summer in a bowl. Sunshine-yellow and ruby-red wedges of juicy tomato anchor this dish with a hefty dose of lycopene, a heart-helping, cancer-fighting antioxidant. Cucumber and bell pepper bring their crunch to the party, while lemon and chile keep things lively with heat and zing. Remember—summer tomatoes are extra juicy, so plan to serve this salad soon after making it for the most concentrated flavor.
Summer Melon Salad
Put to good use all of the in-season melon at hand this time of year with a delicious, savory and sweet salad. Use a small scoop or melon baller to form perfectly formed individual melon spheres.
Charred Eggplant with Salsa Verde and Burrata
Take advantage of the summer sun and cook dinner on the grill.
Ginger-Lime Fruit Salad
Just a little lime and ginger help to macerate the fresh fruits so they can release their juices. Grapes, diced nectarines, or blackberries would also be delicious.
Shrimp Kebabs with Mint and Melon Salad
The shrimp is balanced with slight sweetness, bitter char, and tangy lime—a combination that complements the refreshing melon. Pick the ripest melons you can find; they should be firm but slightly soft and fragrant, especially near the stem end. Round out this dinner with your favorite grain or the Herb-Scented Rice Salad. Gina Homolka is the founder of skinnytaste.com and @skinnytaste.
SoCal Shrimp Tacos
Marinate shrimp for 10 minutes and hit them with high heat on your grill before wrapping them in corn tortilla with your toppings of choice. This recipe includes direction for fried avocado slices and a citrusy cabbage and radish mixture for toppings.
Tomato Salad with Herbed Ricotta and Balsamic Vinaigrette
Sliced heirloom tomatoes are wow-worthy on their own--a simple vinaigrette and dollops of basil-flecked ricotta take them over the top. Serve with toasted baguette slices to sop up any tomato juices.
Every cookout has corn. Butter is great, but easoning corn with chili powder and grated lime rind takes corn from a backyard favorite to something really special. The instructions call for a grill pan, but your outdoor grill is even better.
Green Bean Potato Salad with Lemon-Soy Vinaigrette (Wade's Potato Salad)
This vibrant and colorful side dish is sure to be a total show-stopper in any cookout, picnic, or potluck scenario--it's anything but your typical, creamy, mayo-based potato salad. Crisp, delicately sweet green beans pair up with tender, fluffy petite red potatoes for the base of this dynamic salad. The super simple lemony dressing is balanced by the salty kick of soy sauce, a touch of toastiness from sesame oil, and just a bit of heat from crushed red pepper. And the finishing touches put this recipe right over the top: mint leaves for a touch fresh herbaceousness and toasted almonds and sesame seeds for added nutty crunch.
A crunchy, refreshing salad meds well with warm temperatures and savory meats. Using fresh, farmers market tomatoes with really make a difference in this bright side.
Okra is its best this time of year. Skip the fryer and toss them on your grill with garam masala for a much needed (and healthier) change of pace.
Grilled Watermelon and Shrimp Skewers
Grilling watermelon adds a smoky note to the fruit and gives it a slightly meaty texture that matches well with shrimp. Cooking takes only a couple of minutes, so have both sets of skewers ready before you start. You'll need 12 flat metal skewers (12 in. long) or 18 skewers (8 in. long)--or use bamboo skewers of the same size, soaked in water for 30 minutes.
Summer Fig and Watermelon Salad with Feta
Balsamic glaze is a syrup of concentrated, cooked-down, sweetened balsamic vinegar; it adds a sweet and tangy element to this refreshing salad. Look for it near the vinegar.
Grilled Jamaican Jerked Drumsticks
Make your own Jamaican jerk seasoning in a food processor by combining onion, jalapeño pepper, garlic, ginger, allspice and sugar. Add orange juice to make a marinade for these island-style grilled chicken drumsticks.
Tex-Mex Flank Steak and Vegetables
Chipotle salsa - both a key ingredient in the marinade and a condiment for the meat and vegetables in this recipe - has a smokier, more full-bodied flavor than regular tomato salsa.
Pork Tenderloin with Spicy Guava Glaze
Rubbing lean pork tenderloin with a fragrant spice mixture before grilling infuses flavor into the meat. To carry out your island theme, serve the pork with rice and a mango salsa.
Grilled Tenderloin with Warm Vegetable Salad
Simply seasoned grilled beef tenderloin steak served with a medley of grilled summer squash and tomatoes makes an ideal dish for summer entertaining.