More than 37 million people are expected to travel during this year’s Memorial Day holiday weekend, which many consider to be the unofficial start to summer. In addition to honoring the men and women who have sacrificed their lives while serving in the U.S. military on Memorial Day, Americans also typically look forward to backyard barbecues and celebrations with their family and friends over the long weekend.
For those of you hosting a Memorial Day weekend BBQ this year for your nearest and dearest, we have you covered with five healthy and delicious recipes – from appetizers to dessert – that everyone in attendance will be sure to love. And please make note that the National Moment of Remembrance asks Americans to pause for a moment of silence at 3 p.m. on Memorial Day, which will occur on Monday, May 31st this year.
5 Healthy Memorial Day Weekend Recipes
Southwestern Black Bean Salad
As your guests start trickling in, have this Southwestern Black Bean Salad (and some chips) ready to go as an appetizer. This black bean salad is low in saturated fat, and can be prepared in just 35 minutes. It also yields 13 servings.
The ingredients you’ll need are 15.5 ounces of black beans (rinsed and drained), nine ounces of cooked corn (fresh or frozen), one medium tomato (chopped), 1/3 cup of red onion (chopped), one scallion (chopped), the juice of 1½ to two limes, one tablespoon of olive oil, two tablespoons of fresh minced cilantro, salt and pepper, one medium avocado (diced), and one diced jalapeno (optional).
To make this Southwestern Black Bean Salad, combine the beans, corn, tomato, onion, scallion, cilantro, salt and pepper, and one diced jalapeno (optional) in a large bowl. Then squeeze fresh lime juice to taste and stir in the olive oil. Let it marinate in your refrigerator for about 30 minutes, and then add the avocado right before you’re going to serve the bean salad to your guests.
Chicken and Avocado Roll-Ups
Not only are Chicken and Avocado Roll-Ups healthy and delicious, they’re also an easy appetizer to make. This recipe yields 20 roll-ups and takes only 10 minutes to prepare, making it a perfect option when you don’t have a whole lot of time before your guests will arrive.
To make these Chicken and Avocado Roll-Ups, you’ll need one cup of cooked chicken breast (diced or shredded), one avocado (pitted and diced), ¼ cup of shredded cheese, ¼ cup of diced tomatoes, two tablespoons of minced onion (optional), two tablespoons of minced cilantro, two tablespoons of sour cream (or Greek yogurt), one tablespoon of lime juice, salt and pepper, and two 10-inch flour tortillas or three medium tortillas.
In a large bowl, add the cooked chicken, avocado, cheese, diced tomatoes, minced onion, sour cream (or Greek yogurt), and lime juice. Then season with salt and pepper and stir with a spoon until everything is fully combined and the avocado is chunky and mashed. Spread the mixture equally on each of the floured tortillas and roll them up tightly. Then cut the tortillas into slices and place them on a plate. Serve the roll-ups immediately, or refrigerate until you’re ready to serve them. You can eat these roll-ups hot or cold, depending on your personal preference.
Grilled Fish Tacos
There’s the traditional barbecue food like hot dogs, burgers, and grilled chicken, but you already know how to make that. So, if you want to mix things up a bit this Memorial Day weekend (and also eat a little healthier), try this Grilled Fish Tacos recipe with coleslaw. Instead of deep-frying the fish, you’ll be coating the fish with a flavor-packed chile rub and be grilling it instead.
The adobo rub requires four teaspoons of chili powder, two tablespoons of lime juice, two tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil, one teaspoon of ground cumin, one teaspoon of onion powder, one teaspoon of garlic powder, one teaspoon of salt, and a ½ teaspoon of freshly ground pepper.
To make the coleslaw, you’ll need ¼ cup of reduced-fat sour cream, ¼ cup of low-fat mayonnaise, two tablespoons of chopped fresh cilantro, one teaspoon of lime zest, two tablespoons of lime juice, one teaspoon of sugar, 1/8 teaspoon of salt, freshly ground pepper, and three cups of finely shredded red or green cabbage.
You’ll also need 12 corn tortillas and two pounds of mahi-mahi or Pacific halibut. The fish should be skinned, cut into four portions, and filleted about a ½-inch to ¾-inches thick so the fish can cook quickly.
To prepare the fish, combine the chili powder, lime juice, oil, cumin, onion powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Rub the adobo rub all over the fish and then let it stand for 20 to 30 minutes so the fish can absorb the flavor. Then preheat your grill to medium-high. To prevent your fish from sticking to the grill or falling apart when you flip it, either use a grill basket that holds your fish fillets and secures the fish in the basket for easy flipping, or make sure that your grill is hot and oiled before adding the fish. To oil a grill rack, oil a paper towel, hold it with tongs, and rub it over the rack.
To prepare the coleslaw, add the sour cream, mayonnaise, cilantro, lime zest, lime juice, sugar, salt, and pepper into a medium bowl and mix until it’s smooth and creamy. Then add the red or green cabbage and toss to combine. Make sure to refrigerate the coleslaw until it’s time for everyone to make their fish tacos.
When it comes to grilling the fish, grill it for about three to five minutes per side, or until the fish is cooked through and easily flakes with a fork. Then transfer the fish to a plate and separate it into large chunks. Then serve the tacos family-style by passing the fish, tortillas, coleslaw, and taco garnishes around the table. You can also use the Southwestern black bean salad as a topping (if you have any left), too.
Balsamic Grilled Vegetables
There are your basic grilled vegetables, and then there’s this elevated Balsamic Grilled Vegetables recipe that is sure to be a crowd-pleaser. This recipe yields eight to 10 servings and will take you a little more than an hour and a half to make with 25 minutes of prep time, 45 minutes of inactive time, and 25 minutes of cooking time involved.
The ingredients you’ll need are two cups of balsamic vinegar, one tablespoon of brown sugar, two tablespoons of honey, ¼ cup of extra-virgin olive oil, one tablespoon of sea salt, one tablespoon of freshly ground black pepper, one teaspoon of granulated garlic, three carrots (nine to 12-inches that you’ll slice lengthwise ¼ of an inch thick), two celery roots (trimmed and cut into ¼-inch slices), three large red onions (cut into rounds, 3/8 of an inch thick), two zucchini (seven to eight inches, sliced ¼-inch thick lengthwise), and four crooked neck squash (four inches, sliced lengthwise ¼ of an inch thick), and oil (for brushing the grill).
To get started, place a pan over medium heat. Then add 1½ cups of balsamic vinegar, the brown sugar, and honey. Let it simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, or until reduced by half. Make sure to keep it warm for glazing on the grill. Then, in a one-gallon resealable bag, add the remaining ½ cup of balsamic vinegar, the extra-virgin olive oil, sea salt, pepper, and garlic. Mix until combined. Next, add the carrots, celery root, and onions, making sure to remove any excess air. Let it marinate for 30 minutes. After that, add the zucchini and squash. Then allow it to marinate for another ten minutes.
Preheat the grill to medium-high, and then brush it with oil. Add the onions, carrots, and celery root. Cook the vegetables on both sides for three to five minutes, brushing with balsamic glaze. Try to mark and brown the veggies evenly on both sides. Then remove to a holding pan and cover with foil. Add squash and zucchini to the grill, brush with glaze, and cook for two minutes per side, or until marked and evenly browned. Remove to a holding pan, and then cover the veggies until you serve them. You can drizzle the veggies with the remaining glaze and serve on a warm platter.
Before you say, ‘I don’t need a recipe to make fruit salad,’ give this Fruit Salad recipe a look. It’ll take your fruit salad to a whole new level just by using a simple dressing. This recipe yields eight to 10 servings and will take 20 minutes to make.
The ingredients that you’ll need for the simple dressing are ¼ cup of honey, ¼ cup of freshly squeezed orange juice, and zest of one lemon. For the fruit salad, you’ll need one pound of strawberries (hulled and quartered), six ounces of blueberries, six ounces of raspberries, three kiwis (peeled and sliced), one orange (peeled, and the wedges cut in half), two apples (peeled and chopped), one mango (peeled and chopped), and two cups of grapes. It’s important to note that you should only use fresh fruit for this fruit salad recipe. Now that you have all the necessary ingredients, whisk together the honey, orange juice and lemon zest in a small bowl. Then add fruit to a large bowl and pour the dressing over it, tossing gently to combine. Chill until you’re ready to serve. Then enjoy the sweet taste of summer with your family and friends.