When I think back to my most pleasant summer memories, I think about cooking outside. Most of the time that means grilling. Whether you use a traditional charcoal barbecue or a gas barbecue (my preference because you can control the heat more precisely), foods come out tasting delicious—almost magically so. And while most of us think of protein on the grill, fruits and vegetables come out brilliantly — the direct heat caramelizes whatever produce you’re grilling, deepening the flavor.
For a delicious starter, try my recipe for Grilled Artichoke with Moringa Dip. Artichokes are full of lutein (great for eye health) and fiber. The rest of the recipe calls for other grilled vegetables such as red bell peppers, zucchini, and asparagus to expand on this healthful, festive and delicious first course.
For many years, people wanted to know the ‘secret’ to my Grilled Swordfish in Secret Marinade. Well, the secret is out—oyster sauce. It really adds a unique flavor to the marinade makes the fish so tasty that it doesn’t need any extra sauce. But you can serve my Papaya Salsa on the side for a delicious, sweet contrast and more antioxidant power.
My Mexican-inspired Summertime Grilled Chicken, which you can serve with corn on the cob or tortillas, just screams “summer!” It also delivers an immunity boost, a dose of antioxidants, and detoxifying support.
And who can resist sliders (See recipe below)? I like to make them with buffalo (bison) meat because it’s almost always raised on grass and is full of lean protein. Grass-fed meat (whether it’s buffalo, steer, or lamb) is slightly higher in omega-3 fatty acids, lower in omega-6 fatty acids, and leaner overall. Dark red fruits like dried cranberries or unsweetened dried cherries are full of antioxidants and really complement red meat when worked into the burger patties. The breadcrumb mixture helps low-fat meats stay tender while cooking over high heat.
For dessert, just about any summer fruit is delicious grilled. Try peaches, nectarines or even melons. I’m partial to grilled pineapple because it’s the perfect combination of sweet and tart. Grilling releases the sugars in the fruit making it even sweeter. Pineapples are available fresh all year around and are an excellent source of Vitamin C as well as the trace mineral manganese, which is an essential cofactor in a number of enzymes important in energy production and antioxidant defenses.
So fire up the backyard or patio grill! See what a little open flame can do to make already healthy, age-defying foods even more delicious.
Note: If you can’t find bison meat, you can use any grass-fed meat or even ground turkey for this recipe. For an optional topping, you can make a goat-cheese spread to top the burgers by mixing 1/4 cup goat cheese with 1/2 tsp. of roasted garlic, 1/2 tsp. of fresh thyme, 1 tsp. of fresh parsley (minced), and 1/2 tsp. of fresh dill. To cut down on the sugar, you can replace the dried cranberries with dried, unsweetened cherries to reduce sugar.
½ cup organic dried, sweetened cranberries (or unsweetened dried cherries for less sugar)
½ cup flax meal
½ cup whole wheat or regular breadcrumbs
1 lb. ground buffalo (bison) meat
1 egg (omega-3 enriched, organic or free-range)
1 tsp. salt or salt substitute
1 tsp. crushed garlic
2 tsp. red wine vinegar
Olive oil spray as needed
8-10 whole grain slider buns or rolls
1. Pulse the cranberries together with the flax meal and breadcrumbs in a food processor or blender until you have a coarse meal, about 1-2 minutes.
2. Mix the cranberry-breadcrumb mixture into the ground buffalo meat along with the egg, spice, and vinegar. Shape into 8-10 patties (about 3 inches)
3. Spray each patty with olive oil and grill over medium-high heat (or broil under high heat on a broiler pan) for at least 4 minutes. Flip the burgers and cook another 4-5 minutes more or until they are brown throughout (no pink in the middle).
4. Place on buns and spread with mustard or goat cheese. Top with pickles.
Makes approximately 8-10 sliders