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Healthier ‘Que for a Healthier You – Healthy Barbecue Recipes

According to a recent survey by ARRIS Composites, the average American hopes to lose 29 pounds in 2023 by adjusting their eating habits and exercising more. Are you one of them? Surprisingly, your grill or smoker can be one of your biggest allies in eating healthier. Yes, we’re well aware that the stereotypical barbecuer leans toward the rotund and shops in the XXL racks in clothing stores. A devil-may-care diet of fatty brisket, ribs, and gargantuan chops and steaks will send your cardiologist into paroxysms of fear and loathing.

But replace those meats with leaner options, serve them with sides of vegetables and grains, and you’ll painlessly reach your goals.

It’s no surprise that the Mediterranean Diet, named the best of 2023 by U.S. News and World Report, is based on popular ways of eating in the 21 countries that border the Mediterranean Sea—Italy, Greece, Morocco, etc.—all countries with strong live fire cooking traditions. Browse Steven’s popular books, The Barbecue! Bible and How to Grill Vegetables, for example, and you’ll find terrific recipes that will make dining a pleasure and help you develop healthy habits that will enhance (and maybe prolong) your life.

To get you started, we’ve collected several healthy barbecue recipes from around the world that will put you and your family on a healthier path.

Healthy Barbecue Recipes

Real Turkish Shish Kebab

Contrary to American versions of the dish, Turkish shish kebab rarely comes with vegetables on the same skewer as the meat. Rather, the vegetables are grilled on separate skewers, so each can be cooked the proper length of time.

Turkish shish kebabs - Healthy Barbecue Recipes

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Avocado Chile Tartines

Born in Los Angeles, the avocado tartine has become the new power breakfast. Some people fire it up with chili powder, cayenne, or Espelette pepper, but we like fresh serrano chiles.

Grilled Avocado Toast

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Shepherd’s Tacos with Chicken and Green Sauce

Though traditionally made with pork, we’ve swapped leaner chicken breast for the pork but kept the tomatillo sauce, flavorful marinade, and fresh pineapple. (You could use a firm fish, too.)

Shepherds Tacos

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Escalavida (Ember-Roasted Vegetable Salad)

This colorful salad, a specialty of Spain’s Catalonia, can be made up to a day ahead. Use whatever vegetables you have on hand.

Ember-Roasted Vegetable Salad (Escalivada) - Healthy Barbecue Recipes

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Thai Grilled Beef Salad

This Thai Grilled Beef Salad pays homage to one of Steven’s barbecue heroes, Chris Schlesinger. Instead of marinating the beef, we grill the beef simply and then mix it with the marinade ingredients as we slice it.

Thai Grilled Beef Salad

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Planked Salmon with Lemon and Mustard Glaze

The Mediterranean Diet recommends eating seafood at least twice a week. Salmon, with its payload of Omega 3 fatty acids, is a good choice. Leftovers are great when broken into flakes and served over a green salad.

Healthy Barbecue Recipes

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Greek Garlic and Lemon-Roasted Potatoes

These potatoes are a traditional accompaniment to Greek spit-roasted lamb. Lemon is one of the dominating flavors, and although North Americans don’t usually associate it with potatoes, I must say it adds a whole new dimension.

Grilled Potatoes

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Salt Slab Grilled Pears with Amaretti

Airy low-cal amaretti cookies, a specialty of Italy (widely available in supermarkets or online) give grilled pears a crunchy, almond-flavored topping.

Salt Slab-Grilled Pears with Amaretti

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Looking for more? We’ve got more Healthy Barbecue Recipes right here!

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