Summer is here and backyard barbeques and get-togethers with family and friends are a popular and enjoyable pastime. While the main dishes and items from the grill usually get all the glory, why not wow your guests with a few other delicious and healthy summer recipes? The following salads and sides will keep your guests coming back for more.
Healthy Summer Recipe #1: Chicken-Grape Salad
1 pound skinless boneless chicken breasts, cooked
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 cup seedless grapes, chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 cup low-fat mayonnaise
1/4 teaspoon salt or salt substitute
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
8 romaine lettuce leaves
Cut cooked chicken into bite size pieces.
Mix chicken, celery, and grapes together in a large bowl.
Combine mayonnaise, thyme, salt and pepper in a small bowl and mix well. Stir into chicken mixture until moist and creamy.
Refrigerate covered for at least 1 hour before serving.
Serve on lettuce leaves.
This delicious and healthy summer recipe makes a good sandwich or wrap filling. Simply chop chicken and grapes coarsely, then proceed with recipe.
Healthy Summer Recipe Tip: Cooking Chicken
There are several ways to cook chicken breasts. Defrost (use a microwave if you’re in a hurry), then boil for about 10 minutes. Cutting chicken into smaller pieces reduces cooking time.) You can also sauté chicken in a little olive for 10-12 minutes, turning once, or cook in a George Foreman grill for 6-7 minutes, but it will be drier. Baking chicken is also an option. Preheat oven to 400 degrees, season chicken breasts with a little olive oil spray, salt or salt substitute, and pepper, and then bake for 20-22 minutes. To test for doneness, cut into the thickest area—there should be no pinkness and juices should be clear. If your recipe calls for chilled chicken, you can hasten the cooling process by placing cooked chicken in the freezer for 20-30 minutes. Cooked chicken will keep in the refrigerator for about a week, so cook an extra breast or two to use in other recipes or to eat as a snack.
Healthy Summer Recipe #2: Mediterranean Chickpea Salad
1 (15-ounce) can of chickpeas (garbanzo beans), washed and drained
1 cup tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup red onion, chopped
1 small cucumber, peeled and quartered
1 avocado, seeded and cubed
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons herbed feta cheese, crumbled
Place all ingredients in a large bowl and stir well to combine. Serve immediately or refrigerate for a minimum of 30-60 minutes if you prefer the salad chilled.
Chickpeas (also called garbanzo beans) are a great addition to any healthy summer recipe. They are loaded with protein, fiber, and potassium—all essential components of a healthy diet.
Healthy Summer Recipe #3: Luscious Layered Salad
4 cups romaine lettuce, coarsely chopped
10 ounces (1 package) frozen peas, defrosted
1/3 cup low-fat mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt or salt substitute
2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
4 green onions, thinly sliced, with green tops
1 large tomato, cut into thin wedges
2 slices turkey bacon, cooked and crumbled, or 3 tablespoons soy bacon bits
1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
Place lettuce in a medium salad bowl. Spread thawed peas evenly over lettuce. Spread mayonnaise evenly over peas, and sprinkle seasoned salt over mayonnaise.
Layer remaining ingredients evenly over peas and mayonnaise in this order: celery, onions, tomatoes (arrange wedges in a circular pattern), bacon or bacon bits, and cheese.
Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving.
You can show off this healthy summer recipe by serving it in a clear salad bowl. To serve, scoop straight down in bowl to get all layers.
Healthy Summer Recipes Recap
I hope these healthy summer recipes will inspire you to follow a nutritious and tasty meal plan all season long. Bon appétit!