Healthy BBQ recipes for a sizzling summer

Man and child cooking on a BBQ

Sidonie Sakula-BarryA big part of British summer culture is the beloved barbecue. But eating outdoors doesn’t have to mean lots of red meat. Sidonie Sakula-Barry’s healthier recipes will help you wow your friends and family with vibrant veggies – and we’ve even included an option for dessert, too!

Having a barbecue is one of people’s joys of the summer – including mine! But barbecue culture is often associated with lots of red meat. The main options are often burgers or hot dogs, and we can end up consuming more red and processed meat than we should. This is especially important because eating processed meat, or having a diet high in red meat, increases the risk of bowel cancer.

If you’re looking for healthy alternatives to your usual barbecue menu, look no further – we’ve put together delicious recipes with plenty of veggies and no red meat, which will give your barbecue a colourful twist. It’s best to not let your meat or veggies get too charred or burnt, as cooking meat at high temperatures, or prolonged exposure to heat, can create heterocyclic amines and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. These have been linked to DNA damage in a way that could lead to cancer, although the evidence in humans is limited. Most of these recipes can also be cooked under a grill.

Zesty turkey and courgette burgers

I discovered this recipe when needing to use up some courgettes I had and now can’t get enough of it. Using turkey mince is a great, healthier alternative to beef mince – and the lemon zest and juice adds a freshness to a usually heavy barbecue meal.

Turkey and courgette burgers

Barbecue warm veg salad

This salad – full of summer flavours such as courgettes and asparagus, balsamic tomatoes, halloumi and a pesto dressing – is absolutely delicious and easy to make. You can either cook the vegetables on a barbecue or under a grill.

Warm spring veg BBQ salad

Spicy Mexican grilled corn

At barbecues, I always wanted my corn on the cob with lots of butter, because I didn’t know any other way. Traditionally this is a Mexican snack with mayo, cheese and spice, but this is a healthier version while still having all the flavour. You’ll never eat corn the same way again!

Spicy Mexican grilled corn

Warm gooey banana split with chocolate

It’s often difficult to think of a dessert that will hit the spot while sticking to the barbecue theme. These cooked bananas tick all the boxes by being quick, easy and making the most of your barbecue at the end of its embers.

BBQ banana split with chocolate

> Check out more healthy summer recipes

Blogpost updated May 2021