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Healthy "sides" for your next cookout
By Carol LeBeau
9/10/2013 11:01:27 AM


You all know I’m no Martha Stewart, so there’s no use pretending.   When asked recently to bring a side dish to a backyard barbecue, I admit…I picked up some potato salad at a grocery store deli. 

Carol LeBeau's Health JournalWhile transferring my store-bought salad to a plastic serving bowl, I couldn’t help but notice the little chunks of potato literally swimming in gooey dressing.  Yuk!  Not very healthy (and probably not very tasty either.)

I debated getting out my Mom’s famous potato salad recipe and whipping up a batch.  But while her famous recipe is delicious, it, too, is loaded with rich, heavy dressing.  

Growing up in the Midwest, summers meant burgers on the grill and classic cookout favorites like coleslaw, bean salad and, of course, potato salad.  I still love a traditional barbecue buffet! 

I just need some updated recipes with fewer calories, less fat…AND plenty of flavor.

My search led me to several classic cookout side dishes that have undergone healthy makeovers and they’re delicious! (Easy, too!)  Next time you’re asked to bring a “side,” give one of these a try.  (Beats the grocery deli every time!)

Bean Salad

6 Tbsp chopped red onion
4 Tbsp wine vinegar
4 oz. thin green beans, trimmed
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 c shelled, cooked edamame (about 10oz), thawed, if frozen
1 can (15 oz) dark kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (15 oz) chickpeas, rinsed and drained

1. Combine onion with 3 Tbsp of the vinegar in small bowl and let stand 15 minutes to pickle.  Cook green beans in boiling, salted water until tender, 3 minutes.  Drain, rinse under cold water and cut into thirds.

2. Whisk together mustard, honey, oil and remaining 1 Tbsp vinegar in large bowl.  Stir in pickled onion mixture.

3. Add cooked green beans, edamame, kidney beans and chickpeas.  Toss together until well combined.  Season to taste.

New Potato Salad

1½ lb. new potatoes
3 ½ Tbsp white wine or cider vinegar
2 tsp Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 Tbsp finely chopped shallot or onion
3 Tbsp finely chopped fresh tarragon.
2 lg. hard-boiled eggs, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces
1 lg. rib celery, chopped

1. Cook potatoes in boiling, salted water until fork-tender, about 15 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water. When potatoes are just cool enough to handle (but still warm) cut into quarters.

2. Whisk together vinegar and mustard in large bowl while potatoes are cooling. Add oil in slow stream, whisking until well combined.  Stir in shallot and tarragon.  Immediately add warm potatoes, tossing to combine.

3. Add eggs and celery and season to taste with salt and pepper. (Makes 4 cups.)

Tri-color Slaw

3 Tbsp cider vinegar
3 Tbsp fresh lime juice
2 Tbsp honey
3 Tbsp olive oil
8 oz. fresh coleslaw mix (about 3 cups)
2 cups shredded red cabbage
1 cup shredded carrot
1 bell pepper, sliced (optional)
1 Tbsp poppy seed, toasted (optional)

1. Whisk together vinegar, lime juice and honey in large bowl.  Add oil in slow stream, whisking to combine.

2. Add remaining ingredients, season with salt and pepper to taste and toss to combine. Cover and chill at least 1 hour to let flavors develop. (Makes about 6 cups.)