5 Dishes to Make Memorial Day BBQ More Heart-Healthy

5 Dishes to Make Memorial Day BBQ More Heart-Healthy

Who says you have to sacrifice delicious for nutritious? Not us! We’re here to tell you, it’s possible to have the best of both worlds. Skip the guilt while still making your tastebuds happy this Memorial Day. These tasty AND healthy versions of the traditional barbecue dishes so many of us look forward to this time of year won’t let you down!

Read our favorite heart-healthy BBQ recipes below!


Get your tastebuds movin’! Skip the sauce and...pump up the spice, pump it up! Serve it up in bibb lettuce for some added crunch. Pulled pork, we choose you.


Serves: 8 
Cook time: 8 hours
Prep time: 10 minutes


1 2-4lb pork butt or pork tenderloin
1 yellow onion
3 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon paprika
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons onion salt (or 1 tsp onion powder and 1 tsp salt)
2 teaspoons dried oregano


If frozen, thaw out pork the night before
Slice onions and layer in the bottom of slow cooker
Slice pork into several large pieces
Mix all spices together and rub over pork, cover every inch
Cook on high in slowcooker for 5 hours, then turn to low for 2 (or just low for 8 hours)


Potato Salad

Say NO to Mayo! This potato salad uses none of the expected mayonnaise or sour cream swapping out oil & vinegar, mustard and garlic for an equally yummy side dish. Choose the right potatoes for a pretty pink and purple display!


Serves: 12
Prep time: 30 minutes


2 pounds baby purple, red, and Yukon gold potatoes (I get mine at Trader Joe’s)
2 teaspoons kosher salt, for the boiling water
1 cup pink and purple (Easter egg) radishes, trimmed and very thinly sliced (red or other radishes may be substituted)
2/3 cup red onion, diced small (rinse in cold water to mellow the bite)
1/3 cup olive oil
heaping 1/4 cup dijon mustard
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely minced or pressed
1 to 2 teaspoons granulated sugar, or to taste
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, or to taste
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
1/2 cup fresh parsley (regular or Italian flat-leaf), finely chopped


1. To a large pot, add the potatoes, cover with water, add 2 teaspoons salt, bring to a boil over medium-high heat, and allow potatoes to simmer for about 20 to 25 minutes, or until done and fork-tender. Drain and rinse potatoes under cold water to stop the cooking process; set aside to cool. When they’re cool, halve, quarter, or chop the potatoes into bite-sized pieces.
2. To a very large bowl, add the chopped potatoes, radishes, and red onion; set aside.
3. To a small bowl, add the olive oil, mustard, red wine vinegar, garlic, sugar, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, pepper, and whisk to combine.
4. Evenly drizzle the dressing over the potatoes in the large bowl, add the parsley, and stir to combine. Taste potato salad and make any necessary adjustments, i.e. more salt, pepper, sugar, dash of extra mustard, oil, vinegar, etc. Serve immediately if desired or cover and refrigerate until chilled. Potato salad will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Baked Beans

Turn up the heat and turn down the sweet! This recipe slashes the sugar and adds some spice with chipotles. Add in some bell peppers to boost the health factor even more.


Cook time: 55 min


3 tablespoons canola oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
4 slices bacon, chopped (optional)
3 (15 ounce) cans low-sodium navy or great northern beans, rinsed
1½ cups water
¾ cup ketchup
⅓ cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon ground pepper


1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and bacon, if using; cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, 6 to 10 minutes.
2. Add beans, water, ketchup, brown sugar, vinegar, chipotle, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the beans are very tender and the liquid has thickened, about 30 minutes.


Macaroni and Cheese

Healthy mac n cheese FTW! Butternut squash contributes to the creaminess--and health upgrade-- of this dish. You may find yourself making this guilt-free dish year-round!


Serves: 4
Cook Time: 50 minutes


2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni – whole wheat, low glycemic, gluten free… any will work!
1 tablespoon butter1 small yellow onion1 small butternut squash (4-5 cups cubed)5 cups chicken or vegetable broth
3/4 cup milk1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup shredded cheese – I like Gruyère but any kind will work
parsley for topping

salt and pepper to taste


Cook the macaroni according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
Heat the butter in a large skillet over medium low heat.
Cut the onion into thin rings and add to the butter in the pan, sauteing over low heat until fragrant and golden, about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, remove the skin and the seeds from the squash. Cut the flesh into small cubes.
Bring the broth to a boil and add the squash.
Cook for 5-7 minutes or until fork tender.
Drain, reserving 1/2 cup broth, and transfer squash to the blender.
Add the onions, milk, salt, and reserved broth and puree until completely smooth and creamy. This should yield about 4 cups sauce
Pour the pureed sauce over the cooked noodles and add the shredded cheese.
Stir to melt the cheese; add water or milk to adjust consistency as needed.
Serve with parsley, salt, and pepper to taste.


When caramelizing the onions, keep the heat low to prevent burning. The deeper the golden color, the more flavorful they will be.


Treat yourself! Always sticking to the fruit salad for dessert? Booooring! Indulge a little further with this delightful treat. You can thank us later.


Servings: 4
Cook time: 18 minutes


8 ounces mascarpone cheese, softened
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
3 tablespoons honey
1/4 cup sliced almonds
1 tablespoon granulated sugar

assorted stone fruit: peaches, plums, apricots, and pluots


1. In a small bowl, stir together the mascarpone, almond extract and 2 tablespoons of the honey. Scoop into a serving bowl.
2. In a small skillet, add the sliced almonds and granulated sugar. Cook over medium heat until the sugar caramelizes and the almonds clump together. Scrape the sticky mixture onto a non-stick sheet of parchment paper and let cool. Break into pieces when cool.
3. Meanwhile, slice the stone fruits in half, and pre-heat a grill or grill pan to high. Place the fruit cut-side down in a non-stick grill pan. If you're using a regular grill, place a sheet of non-stick foil on the surface of the grates before grilling the fruit.
4. Grill on each side until nice grill marks appear, about 2-3 minutes per side.
5. Move the fruit to a serving platter, place the dip on the plate, sprinkle with almonds and extra honey.
Original recipesPulled Pork - Potato Salad - Baked Beans - Macaroni & Cheese - Dessert

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published