5 Healthy Recipes To Master For Your Cookouts This Summer

One of the most important parts of hosting (or, let’s face it, attending) a barbecue or summer cookout is the food. It’s important to have a variety of foods to satisfy the needs—and taste buds—of all guests. While traditional barbecue foods are always a good idea, consider offering a few healthier options, as well. Registered dietitian and nutritionist, Carlene Thomas, is sharing five recipes that are not only healthy, but delicious, too, and sure to enhance your cookout this summer! Don’t forget to check out our post from Monday where we shared 10 Things You Need For An Elevated Barbecue This Summer.

Sprouted Caprese Pasta Salad

Serves 6


  • 12 ounces dry, sprouted grain whole wheat pasta
  • 1 handful fresh basil leaves, chiffonaded
  • 1 small zucchini, sliced
  • 1 small summer squash, sliced
  • 1 cup mozzarella balls, drained
  • 1 large tomato, sliced


  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2/3 cup cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 pinch salt
  • freshly ground black pepper


Cook pasta 5 to 7 minutes until tender, but firm. Drain and toss in whisked-together dressing. Add zucchini and squash, mozzarella, tomato and basil. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Butternut BBQ Chicken Skewers

Serves 6


  • 6 skinless chicken breasts or thighs, cut into cubes
  • 1 handful fresh flat leaf parsley
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme


  • 1 cup butternut squash puree
  • 2 cups tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce of choice
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons fruit jam (strawberry, raspberry or fig recommended)


To make sauce, blend sauce ingredients together until smooth. Toss chicken in half of the sauce. Skewer chicken (soak wooden skewers if using wood instead of metal). Grill until the internal temperature of the chicken is 165 F. Top with extra barbecue sauce and chopped herbs.

Summer Wedge Salad

Serves 6


  • 3 whole Bibb or Boston lettuce heads, cut in half
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced radishes


  • 1/2 teaspoon sumac
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/4 cup plain, 0% Icelandic yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard
  • 2 cloves garlic grated
  • 1/2 inch fresh ginger, grated
  • 5 grinds of freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt


Whisk dressing ingredients together. Drizzle over lettuce halves and top with fresh, thinly sliced radishes.

Ricotta Honey Figs

Ingredients (per dish)

  • 2 tablespoons ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 tablespoon chopped pistachios (roasted and salted)
  • 1-2 figs, sliced in half
  • 1 teaspoon honey


Place a dollop of ricotta on each plate. Add figs and top with chopped pistachios. Drizzle with honey. Serve immediately.

Strawberry Rose Mint Tea

Ingredients (per drink)

  • 6 ounces white tea, brewed with 5 fresh mint leaves, strained and chilled
  • 1/2 tablespoon strawberry simple syrup (adjust to preferred sweetness)
  • 3 dashes rose water
  • fresh mint for garnish
  • sliced strawberry for garnish
  • edible rose for garnish
  • ice

Strawberry simple syrup batch

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup sliced strawberries


To make simple syrup, add equal parts granulated sugar and water into a sauce pan. Heat and stir to dissolve sugar. Add sliced strawberries. Heat strawberries and simple syrup over low heat for several minutes to soften strawberries. Mash strawberries and pour through a fine mesh sieve to remove solids. Chill syrup.

To make drink, brew white tea with mint leaves. Steep, strain and chill. Add ice to a glass. For a layered effect, pour simple syrup in first. Holding the back of a spoon convex side up at the top of the glass, slowly pour iced white tea over the spoon back to gently add tea on top of simple syrup layer. Add a few dashes of rose water. Garnish with rose and mint. Stir to combine.

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Author: Caitlin Kruse

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