Barbecues are a great way for the food lover to indulge. Mouthwatering foods and desserts line every inch up the table waiting for people to dig in. Aromatic smells of spices and smoked meat in the ear. Barbecues are truly a place for the ones who have a serious appreciation for the finer foods in life. The normal barbecue foods litter the tables, decorating the surface, and allowing people to feast their eyes on the beauty of smoked meats, mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, French fries, beans, coleslaw, and more! The heavier the better. Barbecue foods can be healthy when you want them to be, but a lot of people normally do not choose that route. I mean if you eat healthier foods all the time at home, when you have a wonderful event of barbecuing with friends and family (something incredibly special), it normally becomes the time where people throw away their inhibitions, worries of eating healthy, diet plans, etc. out the window and really sit down to enjoy the heavy, fatty foods that barbecues can offer without the weighted guilt. Yet sometimes, the barbecue foods can become a little too much fatty, heavy, and creamy, and after chowing down on a delicious meal like that, you often feel as if your body craves the opportunity for something light, crisp, and refreshing. Here is where salads come to play. Normally salads are not the most popular dish on the menu when it comes to your average barbecue, but I think it is a wonderful addition to consider when hosting a barbecue. You will be quite enamored by the revelation of enjoying a salad as a part of your barbecue menu. Salads offer the perfect contrast to the normal barbecue go-to. We often need contrasts. They look good and they taste good. Having two opposites on the same table can make us feel a little less guilty about what we are eating and can also make us a feel a little more energetic (considering barbecue foods are so heavy and often leave you in a serious food coma). Liven yourself up and revitalize yourself by adding a wonderful homemade, fresh salad to your next barbecue event. It will surely be something you turn into a wonderful barbecue tradition!
Why a Salad?
I know for some people the idea of having a salad at a barbecue event just seems like a big waste. I mean a lot of people associate BBQs as the opportunity to fully live out the words of “carpe diem” for at least one night. I mean as busy adults with constant restrictions and responsibilities, sometimes you need a night where you aren’t having to chow down the same mundane meal plans day after day. By incorporating a salad, I get how one could see a salad as ruining a good mood. It is healthy and once placed down on the table, you feel guilty if you don’t pick up a little bit (even if you really don’t want to). But don’t worry, do not think of salads as the green party crashers to your meat feast extravaganza. Salads are actually a really great pair to a hearty barbecue meal and the salad recipes mentioned below will make you realize how easy salad eating and healthy can go hand in hand with the words meat and barbecue. So why a salad? I mean I could explain it to you, but I think letting these absolute, tasty salad recipes do all the talking is a much better option! Confused? You will see for yourself!
BBQ Chicken Salad (damndelicious.net)
This salad combines BBQ and salad together to give you the ultimate, mouthwatering BBQ salad. Why do you have to try to work a balance between both at different times when you can find that they work together great at the same time. Something healthy with something you love, can actually produce something amazing!
● 1 tablespoon olive oil
● 2 boneless, skinless, thin-sliced chicken breasts
● Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
● 6 cups of chopped romaine lettuce
● 1 roma tomato, diced
● ¾ cup of canned corn kernels, drained
● ¾ cup of canned black beans, drained and rinsed
● ¼ cup of shredded Monterey jack cheese
● ½ cup of ranch dressing
● ¼ cup of barbecue sauce
● ¼ cup of tortilla strips
1. Heat up the 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a medium skilled that over medium to high heat.
2. Use the salt and pepper to season the chicken breast to your taste preferences. Add in the chicken breast to the skillet and cook thoroughly, flipping once, about 3-4 minutes per side. Let the chicken cool before you dice them into small bite sized pieces.
3. Assemble the salad, by placing the romaine lettuce in a large bowl, top with chicken, tomato, corn, beans, onion, and cheeses. Pour both the ranch dressing and the BBQ sauce over the top of the salad and toss it up gently to combine.
4. Serve immediately and top off with some delicious tortilla strips! Enjoy (trust me when you try this recipe you will see exactly what I am talking about!)
Rainbow Salad in a Glass (tablespoon.com)
This is an incredibly fun and festive way to incorporate your salad into your barbecue party and make your food look so colorful and decorative. The array of colorful vegetables within the glass cup, allows for the salad to take on a unique look that makes it look incredibly vibrant and perfect for the summer. The best part is that the salad comes in cute little glass cups that offer you the opportunity to grab it and go while you talk amongst your friends!
● 3 cups of spinach, chopped
● 1 cup of fresh corn, sliced from the cob (about 2 cobs will yield this amount)
● 1 roasted bell pepper, diced
● 1 cup of tomatoes, diced
● 2 cans of tuna, drained
● 1 avocado, sliced
● 1 hard-boiled egg, crumbled
● ¼ cup of olive oil
● ¼ cup of lemon juice
● 1 tablespoon of sugar
● 1 clove of garlic, minced
● 1 teaspoon of salt
● Fresh ground pepper
1. Using four shot glasses or mini trifle dishes, layer the ¾ cup of chopped spinach followed by the corn
2. Mix together both the bell pepper and diced tomatoes and spoon on top of the corn layer within each cup.
3. Mix together the tuna and onion and then spoon on top of the tomato layer within each cup.
4. Top off the cup with some avocado slices and the hard-boiled egg.
5. After blend together the oil, lemon juice, sugar, salt, garlic, and fresh ground pepper. Drizzle the dressing over each glass. Enjoy this amazing citrusy and fresh veggie inspired salad. Extremely easy, tasty, and convenient to move around!
Kale and Brussel Sprouts Salad with Walnuts, Parmesan & Lemon Mustard Dressing (onceuponachef.com)
This is a delicious cheesy and creamy inspired salad. Topped with bitter kale and some brussel sprouts, this salad is the perfect mix between creamy and a little hint of green and bitter, and although you would think this to be a bad idea, it actually tastes really good! The toasted walnuts taste amazing and add a good crunch, making the salad a must-have to try!
For the Salad
● 1 cup of walnuts that are chopped
● 1 pound of brussel sprouts that are trimmed, halved, and then thinly sliced
● 1 pound of tuscan or curly kale that are about 1 large bunch, with the thick center rib removed, and the leaves thinly sliced
● 1 cup of coarsely grated or chopped Parmigiano Reggiano
For the Dressing
● ¼ cup of fresh lemon juice, about two lemons
● ½ cup of extra virgin olive oil
● 1 tablespoon of dijon mustard
● 2 tablespoons of finely chopped shallots, all from one large shallot
● 1 small clove of garlic that is minced
● ½ teaspoon of salt
● ¼ teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
1. Preheat the oven to about 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Be sure to line up the baking sheet with aluminum foil so that the clean-up is very easy. Bake the walnuts for about 5-8 minutes until they are toasted and fragrant. Be sure to keep a close eye on them though since they burn easily!
2. Combine both the brussel sprouts and the kale in a large bowl.
3. In order to make the dressing, combine all the ingredients listed for the dressing together in a small bowl. Pour the dressing over the vegetables. Add in a majority of the walnuts and cheese, reserving some of them for the purpose of garnish. Toss the salad well. Allow the salad to sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes (can be refrigerated for up to a few hours). This allows the flavors to meld with the salad and allow the vegetable to soften. Be sure to taste and adjust the seasoning if you want to. Then transfer to a serving dish and scatter over the remaining walnuts and cheese for garnish. Serve the salad at room temperature and enjoy!
Cilantro Lime Chicken Salad with a Mango Avocado Salsa (cafedelites.com)
Turn up the tangy and citrusy flavors with this delicious salad. The lime flavors pair well with the chicken, but the mango and avocado offer a sweet and creamy taste that cannot be beat! This salad eaten before or after a delicious barbecue meal is absolutely perfect! It is cool, refreshing, and creamy salad that add fruit for the perfect summer BBQ salad twist!
● 3 tablespoons of olive oil
● ½ cup of freshly squeezed lime juice
● ½ cup of freshly chopped cilantro (coriander)
● 4 cloves of garlic that is crushed
● 2 teaspoons of honey
● 1 teaspoon of brown sugar
● 1 teaspoon of ground cumin
● 1 ¼ teaspoon of salt
● Use 4 chicken thigh fillets, skin removed (no bone)
● 5 cups of romaine lettuce leaves, washed and dried
● 1 red pepper (capsicum), deseeded and sliced
● 1 large mango, died
● 1 avocado, diced
● 1 green onion (shallot), peeled and thinly sliced
● Extra coriander leaves to garnish
● Red chili flakes
1. Begin the salad by whisking the marinade ingredients together. Next, pour a third of the marinade into a shallow dish to marinade the chicken fillets for at least 15 minutes (ideally one to two hours if you have the time). Refrigerate the reserved untouched marinade to use as a dressing.
2. Heat about one teaspoon of oil in a grill or skillet and heat the pan over medium-high heat, allowing the chicken fillets on each side to cook until they are golden brown, crispy, and cooked completely through. Be sure to grill the chicken in batches of two in order to prevent excess water being released out. Once the chicken is cooked, set aside and allow the chicken to rest.
3. Wipe up the pan with a paper towel; drizzle up with another teaspoon of oil and grill or fry the peppers until they are cooked to how you like them.
4. While peppers are left to cook, prepare the mango salsa. Combine the mango, avocado, and green onion in a bowl. Add in about two tablespoons of the reserved dressing to the salsa. Set aside.
5. Slice chicken into strips and prepare the rest of the salad leaves, sliced peppers and mango salsa. Top with the chicken strips. Drizzle the salad up with the rest of the dressing and serve with (optional) more coriander leaves and red chili flakes. Enjoy!
Reading through these recipes made me totally want a salad. If you are wondering how to spice up and switch up your traditional BBQ menu then seriously contemplate checking out these recipes or trying out some other new recipes that you find elsewhere. No matter what salad you choose (because let us be honest you cannot go wrong with choosing the right salad, they all will taste good), you surely will be happy that you decided to incorporate something fresh and light to your delicious and hearty barbecue dinner! Your family will surely appreciate it and it is a great way to get those daily veggies in!