This week I have a guest post by Joe Hughes. Also known as the Sous vide Wizard. Sous vide is a cooking technique that involves vacuum sealing food in a plastic bag and cooking in a temperature controlled water bath. Usually for a longer time than normal cooking. It is known as an excellent method to produce some the juiciest most tasty food and is a method I have wanted to try for a long time now. Joe himself is concidered a bit of an expert and runs a popular website, http://sousvidewizard.com, which provides the latest sous vide industry news, techniques, tricks, and recipes. He can be reached at Joe@SousVideWizard.com Joe can also be found on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.
3 Easy Ways to Make Your Barbecue Healthier
Grilling season is right around the corner. Where I grew up, barbecues meant messy and sticky ribs, fatty burgers, baked beans and potato salad. While I still love a good traditional barbecue (who doesn’t), these days I find myself looking for ways to make our outdoor feasts a little healthier.
Here are my three go-to tips for a delicious barbecue that’s easier on the waistline.
1. Make Veggies the Star of the Show
Meat takes the center stage at most barbecues, but with the right sauces and spices, you can grill vegetables that even picky eaters will devour.
Just about every vegetable can be grilled (fruits, too) either on a kebab or on its own, including:
- Green beans
This list is not exhaustive by any means. We’ve successfully grilled just about every vegetable you can think of – even Brussels sprouts. And yes, the kids loved them all.
But I think we can all agree (at least in my house) that you really haven’t lived until you’ve had grilled corn on the cob. The kids are especially fond of grilled corn.
The key to getting that delicious grilled taste is to cut the vegetables into small pieces. We like to toss our vegetables in lemon juice, healthy oil and our favourite spice blend to make the flavours pop. Experiment with different oils, marinades and spices. Of course, grilling creates its own flavour that’s great on its own.
Try grilling vegetables of every colourful to create a feast for both the eyes and the belly.
2. Trade in Store-Bought Sides for Homemade
Whenever we host barbecues, we tend to focus on grilling the meats (sometimes the veggies), but the sides become an after-thought. We toss a container of pre-made potato salad in our carts, pick up a few cans of baked beans and call it a day.
Trading in these store-bought items for homemade versions will instantly make your barbecue healthier. While you’re at it, you should probably trade in those store-bought desserts for your own homemade versions. These brookies are a great place to start, or these raspberry cupcakes.
It may take a little extra work, but you’ll find that your homemade baked beans, coleslaw, potato salad and whatever else you may want tastes so much better than their processed counterparts.
When you make your own sides, you’re in control of the ingredients, but you’re also in control of the flavour. Why not make a spicy potato salad, or try adding mustard to your coleslaw? The flavour combinations are endless when you make your own sides.
Plus, your homemade versions will have fewer calories and less sodium.
Don’t feel bad if you don’t make all of your sides from scratch. Just adding in a few homemade dishes will automatically make your barbecue healthier.
And if you don’t feel like cooking over a hot stove in the summer heat, you can trade in your oven for a sous vide. We’ve cooked baked beans and potatoes in our cooker, and the results were fantastic. And because you’re cooking with water and in bags, clean-up is so easy.
I don’t know about you, but I’d rather not spend the entire barbecue cleaning up in the kitchen.
3. Use Healthy Homemade Marinades and Rubs to Add Flavour
Store-bought sauces and marinades tend to have lots of sugar, unhealthy fat and sodium. Even some pre-made rubs and spice blends have preservatives.
It’s easier than you think to make your own rubs and marinades. Some of our favourite variations include:
- Soy sauce, lemon juice, olive oil and Worcestershire sauce.
- Olive oil and apple cider vinegar or balsamic vinegar.
- Chilli powder, allspice, cumin, paprika, rosemary, garlic powder and a pinch of cinnamon.
You can even make your own barbecue sauce with just a few staple ingredients. And you can top off those burgers with Hubby’s burger relish.
Most people have all the ingredients for a delicious marinade right in their pantry or refrigerator. Experiment with different flavour combinations to make your taste buds happy. If you’re not sure where to start, there are dozens of tried-and-true recipes online. Pick one, and give it a whirl.
It’s hard to beat the flavour of grilled foods, and at the heart of it all, grilling really is a healthy way to cook. By adding vegetables to the menu and taking the time to make homemade versions of your favourite not-so-healthy foods can help you enjoy grilling season without the guilt.
Do you have any tips for healthier barbecues?