Healthy, Easy Barbecue Recipes
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Healthy, Easy Barbecue Recipes

Want to grill your way to weight loss? Female chefs turn out some of the healthiest, easiest barbecue. Here, four delicious recipes, plus shopping and pantry lists.

Grill Shopping List

Grill girls should shop for...

Produce Section
Lemons and limes
Fresh ginger
Fresh red chilies
Romaine lettuce
Basil leaves
Italian parsley
Fennel bulbs
Fresh tarragon

Spice & Condiment Sections
Rice-wine vinegar
Champagne vinegar
White-wine vinegar
Coriander seeds
Lemongrass powder
Sriracha hot sauce
Barbecue sauce
Lime juice
Ripe pitted olives

Meat and Seafood Case
Boneless, skinless chicken thighs
Boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Boneless strip steaks
Sea scallops (fresh or frozen)

Dairy Section
Light cheddar cheese
Grana Padano or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Quick tip: Twenty-one percent of those who grill say they keep leftovers for a week or longer. Food-safety experts say the shelf life is only three to four days. Time to clean out the fridge!


What to Stock Up On

Grill girls should stock up on...

Canola oil
Vegetable oil
Extra virgin olive oil
Balsamic vinegar
Dark brown sugar
Brown sugar
Creamy peanut butter
Soy sauce
Dijon mustard
Red pepper flakes

Grilled Steak

Grilled Steak Over Arugula with Lemon Vinaigrette

Chef Laura Pensiero, RD, owns Gigi Trattoria and Gigi Market in New York's Hudson Valley. This dish gives steak a lemony twist.

Start to finish: 30 minutes
(plus 30 minutes of marinating)
Makes: 6 servings

2 boneless strip steaks, 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 inches thick (about 2 pounds)

1 cup Italian parsley leaves
2 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and freshly ground pepper

1/4 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon white-wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Salt and black pepper to taste
6 tablespoons canola oil

12 cups arugula (about 1 pound)
1 cup thinly shaved Grana Padano or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
(use a kitchen peeler for thin slices)

Coarsely chop the parsley leaves and the garlic. Transfer to a small bowl, mix with the olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Rub marinade over the steaks and refrigerate, covered, for at least 30 minutes.

In a bowl, whisk together lemon zest, lemon juice, vinegar, mustard, and salt and pepper to taste. Add oil, whisking until dressing is emulsified.

Turn the grill to medium-high heat and brush the racks with olive oil. Scrape off any excess marinade from steaks, and grill about 6 inches over heat for 3 to 4 minutes on each side for medium-rare. Transfer steak to a cutting board and let stand for 5 minutes. With a sharp knife at a 45-degree angle, cut steaks, across the grain, into 18 thin slices.

Toss arugula with dressing to coat. Divide among 6 plates. Top each with steak strips, sprinkle with cheese, and serve.

Nutrition facts per serving: 419 calories, 38g protein, 4g carbohydrate, 28g fat (6g saturated), 1g fiber

Barbecue Chicken

Barbecue Chicken Chop Salad

Devin Alexander is a chef and host of Healthy Decadence with Devin Alexander on Discovery Health. Here, she gives a down-home classic a healthy makeover.

Start to finish: 15 minutes
Makes: 4 servings

4 4-ounce boneless chicken-breast halves, visible fat removed
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
4 tablespoons barbecue sauce
10 cups finely shredded romaine lettuce
2 cups seeded, diced, chopped tomatoes
1 1/2 cups seeded, diced cucumber
2 cups diced zucchini
2 ounces light cheddar cheese, finely shredded
Chopped red onion (to taste)

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil leaves
Pinch of salt
Black pepper, to taste

Note: Instead of making your own dressing, you can substitute 3/4 cup prepared light balsamic vinaigrette with 2 tablespoons chopped basil.

Preheat the grill to high heat. Place the chicken between two sheets of plastic wrap or waxed paper on a cutting board. Using the flat head of a meat mallet (or a rolling pin), pound the chicken until it is 1/2 inch thick. Rub each breast with the olive oil, salt and pepper. Grill 3 to 5 minutes per side, or until cooked through. Let chicken cool.

Whisk together the vinegar, mustard and honey. Slowly whisk in the oil. Stir in the basil and season with salt and pepper. Chop the chicken and transfer it to a medium bowl. Mix in the barbecue sauce and stir to coat. In a large serving bowl, toss the lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, zucchini, cheddar, red onions, and dressing. Top with the chicken and serve.

Nutrition facts per serving: 337 calories, 30g protein, 27g carbohydrate, 13g fat (3g saturated), 5g fiber

Grilled Scallops

Grilled Scallops on Fennel Slaw

Connie Gutterson, RD, is an instructor at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone in California and the author of The Sonoma Diet Cookbook (Meredith Books). Gutterson makes seafood easy and flavorful with this summery dish.

Start to finish: 25 minutes
Makes: 4 servings

12 fresh or frozen sea scallops (1 to 1 1/2 pounds)
2 medium fennel bulbs
3 medium oranges, peeled and sectioned
3/4 cup pitted ripe olives, quartered
1/3 cup chopped fresh tarragon
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon champagne vinegar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted
Fresh tarragon for garnish (optional)

Thaw scallops, if frozen. Rinse and pat dry with paper towels. Cut upper stalks from fennel bulbs. Remove any wilted outer layers and cut and discard a thin slice from each fennel base. Cut fennel bulbs into very thin slices.

In a large bowl, combine fennel, oranges, olives, tarragon, lemon juice, 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, and the champagne vinegar. Stir in 1/4 teaspoon of the kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon of the pepper. Cover and let stand for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, toss scallops with remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Thread scallops onto long skewers, leaving a 1/4-inch space between them. Grill over medium heat 5 to 8 minutes, or until scallops are opaque, turning once halfway through grilling. Divide fennel mixture among four dinner plates. Top with scallops; sprinkle with almonds. Garnish with tarragon.

Nutrition facts per serving: 327 calories, 24g protein, 28g carbohydrate, 15g fat (2g saturated), 8g fiber

Malaysian Chicken

Malaysian Chicken Satay

Alison Barshak is the chef/owner of Alison at Blue Bell, a popular restaurant in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania. She channeled Asian flavors for this chicken dish.

Start to finish: 1 hour
Makes: 6 Servings

1 teaspoon ground lemongrass powder or lemon zest
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced
1 fresh red chili, minced, or 1 teaspoon sriracha hot sauce*
2 cups chopped shallots
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice in 1/4 cup water
1/2 cup water
1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
3-1/2 tablespoons coriander seeds, ground
*Available in the ethnic foods section of most major supermarkets.

1 tablespoon creamy peanut butter
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon sriracha hot sauce or red pepper flakes, to taste
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lime juice
2 teaspoons rice-wine vinegar or white-wine vinegar
2 teaspoons ginger, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup water
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into strips and threaded onto metal skewers

Preheat the grill to high heat. Put the first four marinade ingredients in a food processor and grind. Heat a nonstick pan, pour in the oil, then add ground mixture. Cook until fragrant (about 5 minutes).

Combine the remaining marinade ingredients in a pot on the stove; add the cooked mixture. Bring to a boil and simmer 5 minutes. Let cool, then pour over chicken and marinate for 45 minutes.

Mix all satay ingredients together, except the water and chicken. Slowly add the water until the sauce reaches desired consistency. Grill chicken strips for 2 minutes on each side, or until cooked through. Put the skewers on a plate and pour some sauce over them. Serve with a bowl of extra sauce.

Nutrition facts per serving: 280 calories, 28g protein, 10g carbohydrate, 14g fat (4g saturated), 0g fiber

Originally published in FITNESS magazine, July 2007.