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A Girl and a Grill: Top Chef Alum Carla Hall's Healthy BBQ Tips

Flip without fret by spritzing nonstick cooking spray on your grill first. (Photo courtesy Peter Ardito)

Summertime serves up a lot of temptation. Ice cream, fruity, calorie-packed cocktails, the list of diet wreckers is endless. But according to a recent MorningStar Farms survey, it's not vacation or the parade of food festivals women blame on their diet woes, it's backyard barbecues. That's why they've teamed up with Top Chef alum and co-host on ABC's The Chew Carla Hall for her simple grilling tips to have a scale-friendly summer. Read below to have an easier, healthier weekend fête, plus a new recipe to test out!

  • Prep it: Spray some nonstick cooking spray on the grilling surface before turning up the heat. It makes flipping your food easier than ever.
  • Think outside the bowl: Use your salad to top grilled burgers. Whether it's a slaw or Caprese salad, consider this the adult version of playing with your food.
  • Get fresh: Use the grill to take advantage of summer's wide produce selection. Marinate fresh vegetables in a light salad dressing and grill under tender for a tasty side dish. After the meal, add slices of angel food cake and stone fruit or pineapple to the grill for an easy, crowd-pleasing dessert.

Read more to get Carla's Black Bean Burger with Peach Pico de Gallo recipe.

An easy way to enjoy a burger without weight gain worries. (Photo courtesy MorningStar Farms)

Black Bean Burgers with Peach Pico de Gallo Total time: 85 minutes Servings: 4

Ingredients For the burgers:

  • 4 MorningStar Farms Spicy Black Bean Veggie Burgers
  • 1 medium ripe avocado, pitted, peeled and sliced
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese or crumbled Cotija cheese
  • 4 whole wheat hamburger buns, split
  • Lime wedges

For the peach pico de gallo:

  • 3 medium tomatoes, seeded and finely chopped
  • 2 medium peaches, pitted, peeled and finely chopped, or 1 1/4-cups frozen unsweetened peach slices thawed and finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 or 3 Serrano chile peppers, seeded and finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 clove garlic, minced


  1. For the peach pico de gallo: In a medium bowl combine tomatoes, peaches, onion, cilantro, chile peppers, lime juice, sugar, salt and garlic. Let stand at room temperature for 1 hour.
  2. Meanwhile, spray grill rack with nonstick cooking spray. Preheat grill to medium-high heat.
  3. Grill MorningStar Farms Spicy Black Bean Veggie Burgers directly over medium-high heat, about 6 minutes or until burgers reach internal temperature of 165 ºF and grill marks form on both sides, turning once. Top burgers with avocado slices and cilantro. Sprinkle with cheese. Grill about 2 minutes more or until cheese melts.
  4. Serve burgers in buns. Top each burger with 1/4 cup peach pico de gallo. Place lime wedges alongside of sandwiches on serving plates.

Nutrition Information: Calories 380, total fat 18 g, saturated fat 5 g, trans fat 0 g, cholesterol 15 mg, sodium 810 mg, carbohydrate 45 g, dietary fiber 12 g, sugar 10 g, protein 20 g

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