Barbecue recipes aren't what they used to be—though we'll always have a soft-spot for the classics, healthier alternatives are popping up more and more, and we'll all for it. Like these: If you're worried about your sodium intake (or really, overall health) you'll want to try some cookout-friendly recipes from Jess Goldman Foung of Sodium Girl. Her second cookbook, Low-So Good: A Guide to Real Food, Big Flavor, and Less Sodium, will be in stores next month and is currently available for preorder. Happy grilling season, everyone!
How do you satisfy everyone’s dietary needs without breaking the bank or a sweat? A DIY kebab bar. Let every guest design the perfect skewer (or two or three) to meet his or her needs—whether that includes vegetarian, low sodium, or green onion obsessed. Plus, only having to prep raw ingredients keeps the effort level low and the entertainment value high.
Cauliflower rice makes a great replacement for, well, rice, but you can go beyond the obvious to take your salad game to the next level. Mix the fluffy cauliflower buds with fresh corn, avocado dressing, and herbs, then serve as a side dish or as a bun-free base for burgers or hot dogs.
Skip processed, meat-free products and use Mother Nature’s answer to the vegetarian hot dog: the squash dog. It’s easy to make and fun to say! Plus, with the help of a miso marinade or a bacon spice rub, it may just end up on a carnivore’s plate too.
Throw some healthy omega-3s into the mix with this gluten-free salmon burger. While the recipe uses a hot skillet to shallow fry the patties, you can always place the cooked burgers on foil on the BBQ for a smoky finish.
Juicy pork spare ribs and a crisp, crunchy slaw are basically the peanut butter and jelly of the BBQ world—a.k.a. a perfect pair. But don’t be afraid to break with tradition by dressing them in Asian-inspired rubs and marinades. YOLO.
If you or your guests want to avoid carbs or gluten, you can still enjoy a bowl of pasta salad by replacing noodles with green or wax beans. Once washed and blanched, cut the beans to look like penne, about 2-inches long. Then finish the transformation with traditional mix-ins, like beans and corn, tomatoes and basil, and goat cheese and toasted pine nuts. Trust me, no one will miss the noodles.
Skip the bean burgers and go Mediterranean with oven-baked falafels instead. Serve with lettuce wraps and cool yogurt dressing or even on toothpicks as an appetizer. It’s the perfect dish for vegans and vegetarians, no cross-grill contamination guaranteed.
After lupus caused her kidneys to fail, Jessica Goldman Foung refocused her life and work to study food, health, and the ways they interact. She began Sodium Girl in 2009 to capture her adventures in living a low-sodium life. Jessica works closely with the National Kidney Foundation and American Heart Association on patient education and recipe development. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and/or Pinterest.
Originally published May 2016. Updated May 2017.