Six Healthy Summer BBQ Recipe Swaps

by Allen Gil June 09, 2015

Six Healthy Summer BBQ Recipe Swaps

Temperatures are rising and it’s time to pull out the grill. In summer, it’s all about the burgers and traditionally unhealthy fare, like hot dogs, macaroni salad and other dishes laden with heavy ingredients.

Never fear—GYFT has six savory swaps that can help you stay lean while enjoying your favorite summer snacks this year.

Bacon-Honey BBQ Chicken Kabobs


  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, chopped into bite size pieces

  • 12 slices bacon

  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped

  • 1 yellow bell pepper, chopped

  • 1 orange bell pepper, chopped


  • 1 tablespoon oil

  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic

  • ¾ cup ketchup

  • ¼ cup brown sugar

  • ⅓ cup apple cider vinegar

  • ¼ cup honey

  • 3 tablespoons worcestershire sauce

  • 1½ tablespoons yellow mustard

  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce

  • ½ teaspoon chili powder


  1. Heat oil in a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Add garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Add all the remaining sauce ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and allow to cook over low until ready to use.

  2. Skewer chicken pieces, pepper pieces, and bacon onto the skewers. Brush sauce over skewers. Grill over medium heat 4-5 minutes, then rotate, brush with more sauce, and cook another 4-5 minutes until chicken is cooked through and bacon is cooked to desired doneness.

  3. Serve skewers warm with additional sauce for dipping or drizzling. Enjoy!

Portobello Burger with Bell Pepper and Goat Cheese Recipe


  • 1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for grates

  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

  • 3 garlic cloves, minced

  • Coarse salt and ground pepper

  • 1 red bell pepper (ribs and seeds removed), cut into 4 equal pieces

  • 8 portobello mushrooms (about 1 pound total), stems removed

  • 4 hamburger buns

  • 5 ounces fresh goat cheese, cut into 4 equal slices

  • 4 lettuce leaves


  • In a shallow dish, whisk together oil, vinegar, garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add bell pepper and mushrooms; toss gently to coat. Marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes (or refrigerate, up to overnight).

  • Heat grill to medium; lightly oil grates. Grill bell pepper, skin side down, until blackened, about 10 minutes; remove from grill. When cool enough to handle, remove and discard skin; set bell pepper aside. Grill mushrooms, covered, until lightly charred and tender, 3 to 4 minutes per side.

  • Dividing evenly, top bottom half of each bun with bell pepper, mushrooms, goat cheese, and lettuce. Close burgers, and serve immediately.

Quinoa Burger with Black Beans and Sundried Tomatoes


  • ½ cup quinoa

  • 1 small onion, finely chopped (1 cup)

  • 6 oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and finely chopped (¼ cup)

  • 1½ cups cooked black beans, or 1 15-oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained, divided

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (2 tsp.)

  • 2 tsp. dried steak seasoning

  • 8 whole-grain hamburger buns


  1. Stir together quinoa and 1½ cups water in small saucepan, and season with salt, if desired. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 20 minutes, or until all liquid is absorbed. (You should have 1½ cups cooked quinoa.)

  2. Meanwhile, place onion and sun-dried tomatoes in medium nonstick skillet, and cook over medium heat. (The oil left on the tomatoes should be enough to sauté the onion.) Cook 3 to 4 minutes, or until onion has softened. Stir in ¾ cup black beans, garlic, steak seasoning, and 1½ cups water. Simmer 9 to 11 minutes, or until most of liquid has evaporated.

  3. Transfer bean-onion mixture to food processor, add ¾ cup cooked quinoa, and process until smooth. Transfer to bowl, and stir in remaining ¾ cup quinoa and remaining ¾ cup black beans. Season with salt and pepper, if desired, and cool.

  4. Preheat oven to 350°F, and generously coat baking sheet with cooking spray. Shape bean mixture into 8 patties (½ cup each), and place on prepared baking sheet. Bake 20 minutes, or until patties are crisp on top. Flip patties with spatula, and bake 10 minutes more, or until both sides are crisp and brown. Serve on buns.

Ginger-Spiced Salmon Burgers with Zesty Lemon Sauce


  • 1 pound salmon fillet, preferably wild Pacific, skinned

  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion or scallion

  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

  • 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped peeled fresh ginger

  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher or sea salt, plus a pinch, divided

  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, plus more to taste

  • 3 tablespoons low-fat mayonnaise

  • 1 tablespoon reduced-fat sour cream

  • 1 anchovy fillet, rinsed and finely chopped

  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh chives

  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh parsley

  • 1 teaspoon capers, rinsed and finely chopped

  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest

  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil or canola oil


  1. With a large chef’s knife, chop salmon using quick, even, straight-up-and-down motions (do not rock the knife or the fish will turn mushy) until you have a mass of roughly 1/4-inch pieces. Transfer to a large bowl; gently stir in onion (or scallion), cilantro, ginger, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper (do not overmix). Divide the mixture into 4 patties, about 1 inch thick. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes (or up to 2 hours).

  2. Mix mayonnaise, sour cream, anchovy, chives, parsley, capers, lemon zest, lemon juice, pinch of salt and pepper in a small bowl.

  3. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the burgers and cook until browned on both sides and just cooked through, 4 to 6 minutes total. Serve the burgers with the sauce.

Bacon Bison Burger


  • 3.5oz extra lean organic ground bison

  • 1 sprouted burger bun

  • 2 slices turkey bacon (uncured, natural, nitrate free)

  • 2 slices beefsteak tomato

  • 1/4 cup onion sprouts

  • red onion

  • 2 lettuce leaves

  • purple cabbage (optional)

  • Condiments:

    • 1 tablespoon goat cheese (optional)

    • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

  • Seasonings for ground bison:

    • 1 teaspoon garlic paste

    • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

    • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika

    • pinch of cumin

    • pinch of sea salt and pepper

  • spray coconut oil


  • Cook turkey bacon in a nonstick skillet.  While it is cooking spray with a little coconut oil and season with pepper.  The oil will help the bacon become more crispy and the pepper adds flavor.

  • Lightly toast the buns in the oven.  Before toasting, spray with a little coconut oil.

Chipotle-Spiced Turkey Burgers


  • 1 1/4 pounds lean ground turkey

  • 1 cup mild salsa, divided

  • 1/2 cup finely chopped shallots

  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided

  • 1 tablespoon chipotle-flavored hot sauce

  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

  • 4 crusty rolls, halved horizontally, toasted if desired

  • 4 lettuce leaves


Mix ground turkey, 1/2 cup salsa, shallots, cilantro, 3 tablespoons oil, hot sauce, cumin, salt, and pepper in large bowl. Shape turkey mixture into four 3 1/2- to 4-inch-diameter patties.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add burgers; cook until brown, about 3 minutes per side. Reduce heat to low. Sauté until burgers are cooked through, about 4 minutes, turning occasionally.

Arrange roll bottoms on 4 plates. Place lettuce, then burgers on roll bottoms. Top each burger with 2 tablespoons of remaining salsa, then roll tops.

Allen Gil
Allen Gil


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