3 Healthy, Low-Sugar Recipes for the Perfect Summer Cookout

healthy cookout recipes
Photo via Simply Scratch

This summer, get the grill ready and invite your friends over for a healthy seasonal cookout. Load up on these recipes which call for protein and farm-fresh ingredients, and skip the heavy carb and sugars found in traditional barbecue recipes.

For the main course, serve Pineapple Grill Pork Chops which are just a tad bit more gourmet than your average summer hot dog. This healthy grill option is very easy to prep and always a crowd pleaser.

I always find that when I have guests over they load their plates up high with pasta salads. Replace the carb and mayonnaise-heavy dish with Chickpea Pasta Salad—the noodles are made from chickpeas! Everyone will want seconds, and this recipe tastes just as good the next day, so make more than you think you need.

Buy lots of veggies at your local farm stand to grill with the pork chops. The more colorful, the better. Cook them on skewers, so they don’t fall through the cracks of the grill, and serve on a big white platter for a beautiful presentation.

Last but not least, dessert. Make a variety of our famous hint popsicles for your guests to choose from. Nothing says summer like popsicles!

Read on for the recipes.

Pineapple Grilled Pork Chops
Photo via MyRecipes, Food Styling by Marian Cooper Cairns, Prop Styling by Linda Hirst

Pineapple Grill Pork Chops

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 (8 oz.) can pineapple rings, juice drained and reserved
  • 1/4 cup pineapple hint® water
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 4 pork chops
  • 1 pinch ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Mix together the drained pineapple juice, water, soy sauce, and garlic powder together in a large plastic zipper bag, and shake.
  2. Place the pork chops into the marinade, squeeze out any air in the bag, seal it, and refrigerate overnight. Reserve the pineapple rings.
  3. Preheat an outdoor grill for medium heat, and lightly oil the grate.
  4. Remove the chops from the marinade, shaking off excess. Grill until browned, the meat is no longer pink inside, and the meat shows good grill marks, 5 to 8 minutes per side.
  5. Brush several times with marinade and let the marinade cook onto the surface of the meat. Discard excess marinade.
  6. While the meat is grilling, place 4 pineapple rings onto the grill, and allow to cook until hot and the slices show grill marks; Serve the chops topped with the grilled pineapple rings.

Recipe adapted from allrecipes.com.

Photo Courtesy of Banza

Summer Chickpea Pasta Salad

Serves 8

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces Banza macaroni pasta
  • 1 cup frozen or fresh sweet peas, thawed (do not use canned peas)
  • 1 cup arugula, chopped (fresh baby spinach is also good)
  • ¼ cup chopped red onion
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
  • ½ cup vegan (or regular) mayonnaise
  • 1½ teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon lime hint® water
  • 1½ teaspoon Dijon mustard (whole grain if possible)
  • ½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon ground sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions.
  2. Drain and rinse.
  3. In a large bowl, add all remaining ingredients and combine.
  4. Add cold pasta and stir to combine.

Recipe adapted from eatbanza.com.

Grilled Vegetable Skewers
Photo via Simply Scratch

Grilled Vegetable Skewers

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
  • 1 tablespoon fresh juice from 1 lemon
  • 2 teaspoons freshly minced garlic (about 2 medium cloves)
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon lime hint® water
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped thyme
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the skewers:

  • 1 large zucchini, ends trimmed, halved lengthwise, and cut into 3/4-inch slices
  • 1 large yellow squash, ends trimmed, halved lengthwise, and cut into 3/4-inch slices
  • 1 large red onion, cut into 1-inch cubes and separated into 3-layer segments
  • 2 medium red, yellow, or orange bell peppers, stemmed, seeded, and cut into 1-inch squares
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes

Instructions

  1. For the vinaigrette: Whisk together balsamic vinegar, oil, parsley, lemon juice, water, garlic, mustard, and thyme in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Place all vegetables in a large bowl, add vinaigrette, and toss to coat.
  3. For the skewers: Skewer vegetables, alternating between zucchini, yellow squash, red onion, bell peppers, and tomatoes. Reserve any remaining vinaigrette in bowl.
  4. Allow grill to preheat for 5 minutes. Clean and oil the grilling grate.
  5. Grill skewers, turning, until vegetables are browned around the edges and beginning to soften, 5-8 minutes total.
  6. Transfer skewers to platter and spoon on reserved vinaigrette. Serve immediately.

Recipe adapted from allrecipes.com.

What do you love to cook in the summertime?