It’s summertime and summertime means going to lots of BBQ’s! We all love a good BBQ and all the yummy food that is associated with a BBQ. Unfortunately, if you are trying to stick to a healthy eating plan then that is where a BBQ can really throw you off. Of course it’s OK to indulge once in a while, but all too often an occasional indulgence can turn into an all-too-often habit and those pounds that you worked so hard to lose before summer can creep back again. My strategy is to bring a healthy dish that you can eat without guilt and everyone else will love! Chances are you won’t be the only one there who wants to eat healthy too!

Chickpea Salad with Fresh Mint, Pickled Shallots, and Arugula

For the pickled shallots:
1/3 Cup red sine vinegar
2 medium shallots or one really big one, sliced thin
2 TBSP sugar (or sweetener of choice)
a pinch of salt and pepper

Place all the ingredients into a microwaveable bowl and microwave about 90 seconds. Stir to make sure the sugar is dissolved and set aside to cool. Once cooled, drain the liquid.

For the dressing:
3 TBSP Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 TBSP fresh lemon juice
1-2 tsp sweetener to taste
1 tsp Dijon mustard
pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
Whisk ingredients to emulsify and set aside.

For the salad:
2 cans chick peas, rinsed and drained
4-5 ounces of baby arugula
1 Cup fresh mint leaves
1/2 Cup frozen peas, thawed
1/2 Cup frozen shelled edamame, thawed
(you can also just use 1 Cup of edamame OR 1 Cup peas)
3 oz. crumbled Feta cheese
1/2 toasted nuts (I like pine nuts but use slivered almonds, sunflower seeds, pistachios, chopped walnuts, etc.)
1 Cup halved grape tomatoes (optional and add at the end)

Toss everything together and serve. If you are not serving right away, add the arugula and tomatoes at the last minute.

This recipe makes an excellent lunch or dinner with grilled shrimp or leftover diced chicken added on top!

Broccoli Salad with Sun Dried Tomatoes

For the dressing:
1/4 Cup EV olive oil
2 TBSP fresh lemon juice
1-2 tsp sweetener of choice
1 clove grated fresh garlic
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp Dijon mustard
salt and pepper to taste
pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)

For the salad:
1 large bunch of broccoli, flowerets only, cut into small bite sized pieces
1/4-1/2 Cup red onion, sliced thin
1/4-1/3 Cup kalamata olives, chopped
1/3-1/2 Cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
1/4 Cup toasted slivered almonds

Toss all ingredients together and let sit for at least an hour or overnight. Depending on how much broccoli you use you may need extra dressing. It all depends on how much the broccoli absorbs.

This recipe would also be delicious with leftover diced chicken or grilled shrimp mixed in!

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