Barbecues aren’t just about the cooked food; the side dishes you create to accompany meat or veggie options can make all the difference.
Great salads can really enhance the flavour of all the other food and there are so many delicious options.
Here are nutritionist Suzie Sawyer’s three favourite healthy salad ideas to make your barbecue truly come to life!
Suzie’s Special Salad (with nothing left out!)
As a nutritionist, I talk endlessly about maximising the colour on your plate to enjoy the benefits of as many nutrients as possible. And this salad doesn’t disappoint in that respect. It’s gorgeously colourful, is packed with immune-boosting vitamin C, energising B vitamins and loads of antioxidants to protect the body from everything life throws at it.
This recipe contains black beans and spinach leaves as a base and is then loaded with chopped vine tomatoes, cucumber, mango chunks (use frozen ones and defrost), red onion, avocado and crumbled feta cheese on the top.
Herbs also contain some wonderful health benefits in terms of their antioxidants but are helpful for the digestion too. So, blending up a bunch of mint, coriander and basil with garlic, olive oil, white wine vinegar and honey makes a delicious and healthy dressing.
This salad will stand proud with any barbecued meat or vegetables but works especially well with lamb.
Quinoa Vegetarian Salad
Most barbecue meals contain a grain-based salad, not just for ‘bulk’ but also because they taste great. Quinoa, (which is technically a seed not a grain), is perfect because it provides some starchy carbs, but most importantly, has a high protein content, keeping everyone fuller for longer. Plus, quinoa is a great source of fibre helping the digestive system to run smoothly. Even better, it’s got plenty of energy-boosting B-vitamins, so you can enjoy the barbecue to the full!
Quinoa can be cooked just like couscous. Indeed, if quinoa is not your bag, then couscous is fine but do remember it contains gluten and quinoa does not, which may be a consideration for some of your guests.
You can freestyle this one in terms of what goes in. However, it works really well with feta cheese, pine nuts, spring onions, chopped tomatoes, cucumber and pepper with some pesto stirred through.
Another dish with plenty of colour, loaded with nutrients, making a great addition to the barbecue feast.
Griddled courgette, basil, and chilli salad
Griddled or roasted vegetables are always welcomed in salads, and courgettes are in season right now. They are naturally low in fat but high in minerals folate, heart-loving potassium, vitamin A and vitamin C which are great for the immune system. And because you eat them with the skin left on, you’ll be getting the added benefit of soluble fibre which helps balance blood sugar levels, banishing cravings. Courgettes are in season now which generally brings higher nutrient content and better taste, especially if you buy them fresh from farmers’ markets.
Cut the courgettes into long strips, coat with chopped red chilli, salt, pepper and olive oil and then griddle in a very hot pan. Once the courgettes are cooled, they can then be tossed in some more olive oil, chopped basil and lemon. This is a dish that looks very impressive but actually takes very little time in the preparation and cooking.
So, enjoy some great barbecue salads Suzie-style this season!
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