BBQ MAKEOVER

Finally, summer has hit British Columbia. It’s time to dust off the BBQ and get grilling. However, before you reach for your usual BBQ fare of cheeseburgers, potato salad and lemonade, I have some suggestions on how to keep your BBQ meal light and delicious with a couple of culinary twists.

CHEESEBURGER TO LEANBURGER

First step in the BBQ makeover is to transform your greasy cheeseburger into a leaner, meaner bison burger.

Bison has less total fat and less saturated fat than its beef equivalent.  For a 3 ounce patty, a regular lean hamburger contains 279 calories with 25 grams of fat. A bison burger, by comparison, contains 190 calories and only 14 grams of fat. Bison also contains more iron and zinc, but less cholesterol than a beef burger.

We know that “fat = flavour” so to ensure that your bison burger does not turn out to be a dry, tasteless version of its more popular cousin, here are a few tricks to keep the burger moist and tasty.

  1. Seasoning. Add some of your favourite spices like paprika & cumin or hamburger spice rubs or Hye’s MSG-free Seasoning Salt to the ground meat.
  2. Worcestershire or BBQ sauce. Adding a dash of Worcestershire sauce or a tablespoon of your favourite BBQ sauce into the mix will also add some moistness and added flavour.
  3. Cheese. Incorporate the cheese INTO the burger by grating sharp cheddar, fontina, or pepper jack straight into the mince. Use about half an ounce of cheese per patty. Form the beef into patties and place on the grill. The cheese melts inside as the burger cooks making it ooey-gooey good.

One final tip – watch the serving size. Most burgers are an average 5-8 ounces. One serving of meat should max out at 3 ounces. Think slider size and add tomatoes, lettuce,  sprouts or  avocado to “beef up” the burger.  Fill the rest of your plate with Summer Quinoa Salad.

MAYO POTATOES TO KEEN ON QUINOA

Ditch the heavy mayonnaise- based potato salad and lighten up with a nutritious Summer Quinoa Salad. 

By now you have likely heard about the benefits of this super-food. In fact, the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations has officially declared 2013 as “The International Year of the Quinoa”. Yes, really.  The Organization wanted to recognize the exceptional nutritional qualities of quinoa, its adaptability to different agro-ecological floors and its potential contribution in the fight against hunger and malnutrition.

Unlike most grains quinoa provides a complete source of protein as well as small amounts of the anti-inflammatory omega 3 fatty acids. It has twice the amount of calcium than wheat and is a rich source of antioxidants.

Along with all this great news is that it is fast and easy to prepare making it an ideal go-to staple in a busy household.  Follow the recipe below to add a nutritious, light salad to your BBQ menu.

 

Summer Quinoa Salad

1 cup quinoa, rinsed

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1 clove crushed garlic

2 large tomatoes – chopped

1 cup chopped cucumber

1 cup chopped red or yellow sweet bell peppers

8 mint leaves, ripped

½  cup crumbled feta

8-10 Kalamata or Nicoise olives pitted & sliced

Combine tomatoes, garlic, oil and vinegar in a large bowl; let stand while you cook the quinoa.  Boil 2 cups of water and add rinsed quinoa. Cover, and reduce heat to low. Simmer gently until all of liquid absorbed, about 12-15 minutes. You will know when the quinoa is done as it becomes translucent and the germ partially detaches from the seed.  Fluff quinoa with fork and cool to room temperature (or rinse under cold water).  Place in large salad bowl, add tomato mixture and remaining ingredients. Serve on own or on bed of lightly dressed mixed salad greens.  Serves  4-6.

 

SUGARY LEMONADE TO REFRESHING BERRY COOLER

If you are thirsty for a cool drink but don’t want the added calories of a sugary punch or lemonade, try a Berry Cooler. Simply blend together ½ cup berries of your choice and 1 cup sparkling water (make sure lid is on tight) then pour over a tall glass with ice and finish with a squirt of lime. This refreshing drink is packed full of vitamins and anti-oxidants and will leave you feeling revived and refreshed.

Happy Barbecuing!

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