Summertime is in full swing and you’ve most likely had your fair share of grilling and backyard barbecues by now. Barbecues are a great opportunity to unwind with friends and enjoy your favorite foods. By now you’ve probably made all the tried and true barbecue fare, and you may feel like you’ve exhausted all the healthy recipes in your repertoire. Another challenge is finding recipes that are suitable to eat after having bariatric surgery. Since portion sizes are much smaller after undergoing bariatric surgery, it’s important to have food that is not only nutritional but flavorful as well.
One of the best ways to add intense flavor to food without sabotaging your diet is to use spices; spices amp up the flavor profile of any food without adding unnecessary fats or salt. Spices have impressive nutritional benefits; they’re packed with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Spices are also known to help with inflammation, and promote normal digestion and blood flow. Some great spices to consider are cinnamon, saffron, cumin, curry, tamarind, allspice, paprika, and coriander. Check out the Chicken Tandoori recipe below which incorporates many different spices into a marinade for flavor packed grilled chicken.
For those vegetarians out there looking for a healthy and protein packed meal, look no further than tofu. Tofu is a great source of protein, calcium, antioxidants, and vitamin E and it has been shown to lower cholesterol, lower cancer risk, and strengthen bones. Tofu is extremely absorbent so take care when cooking that you don’t use too much oil. Tofu is a blank canvas; on its own it has very little flavor but it quickly absorbs the flavors of whatever it is cooked with. In the barbecued tofu recipe below feel free to use your favorite store bought barbecue sauce or even make your own! Take care to look at the nutrition label before you buy, as many barbecue sauces are loaded with sugar.
For flavorful side dish that won’t weigh you down, try a grilled vegetable salad with feta and mint instead. Grilling vegetables adds a warm smokiness to them while enhancing their natural flavors and sweetness. The feta is a healthy and tangy alternative to mayonnaise or sour cream and the cool and refreshing mint balances out the rich smokiness of the vegetables. If you desire something milder than feta, try substituting crème fraîche or goat cheese. If you want to make this salad heartier, you could always add quinoa, orzo, farro, couscous, wheatberries, or any other grain of your choice.
Happy and healthy summer eating!
• 8 skinless, boneless chicken thighs (about 2 1/2 pounds)
• Juice of 1 lemon
• Kosher salt
• 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons plain yogurt
• 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
• 1/2 small red onion, roughly chopped
• 3 cloves garlic, smashed
• 1 2-inch piece ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
• 4 teaspoons tomato paste
• 2 teaspoons ground coriander
• 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
• 1 3/4 teaspoons hot paprika
• 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
• Cooked rice, for serving (optional)
Preheat the broiler. Make shallow cuts in the chicken thighs with a sharp knife. Toss the chicken with the lemon juice and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt in a large bowl.
Pulse 2 tablespoons yogurt, the vegetable oil, onion, garlic, ginger, tomato paste, coriander, cumin, 11/2 teaspoons paprika and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a food processor to make a paste. Toss the chicken in the mixture and let marinate 15 minutes.
Place the chicken on a foil-lined broiler pan. Broil, turning once, until slightly charred and a thermometer inserted into the center registers 165 degrees F, 5 to 6 minutes per side.
Meanwhile, combine the remaining 1/2 cup yogurt and 1/4 teaspoon paprika, the cilantro and a pinch of salt in a bowl. Top the chicken with the yogurt sauce and serve with rice, if desired.
Per serving: Calories 237; Fat 9 g (Saturated 2 g); Cholesterol 115 mg; Sodium 1,266 mg; Carbohydrate 8 g; Fiber 2 g; Protein 30 g
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 4 cloves fresh chopped garlic
• 1/2 red onion, chopped
• 1/2 white onion, chopped
• 1/2 bell pepper, chopped
• 1 celery stick, chopped
• Pinch curry
• 2 packages medium firm tofu, diced
• Barbeque sauce
Preheat grill to medium. Heat up a pan over the grill and add olive oil. In pan, combine the garlic, onions, bell pepper and celery. Add salt and a pinch of curry. Add tofu to the saucepan and cook for 12 minutes. Add barbecue sauce to tofu, cover the grill and let the tofu simmer for 15 minutes. Serve immediately.
Grilled Vegetable Salad with Feta and Mint
• 1 red bell pepper cored and cut into 4 pieces
• 1 eggplant (about 1 pound), cut across into 1/4-inch rounds
• 1 medium onion, cut into 1/4-inch slices
• 2 medium zucchini (about 8 ounces each), cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch slices
• Olive oil cooking spray
• 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
• 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
• 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
• Salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
• 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
• 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
Arrange the vegetables in a single layer on a tray or work surface. Lightly spray both sides with olive oil cooking spray. Preheat a grill or grill pan over a medium-high heat. Grill the vegetables in batches until both sides are nicely charred and the vegetables are just tender, about 10 minutes for the pepper, about 8 minutes for the eggplant and onion, and about 6 minutes for the zucchini. When the vegetables are cool enough to handle, cut into 1/2-inch pieces and transfer to a large bowl.
In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar and oregano. Pour over the vegetables and toss. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Gently stir in the tomatoes and mint. Divide the salad between 4 plates and sprinkle with the feta.
Per Serving: Calories 275; Total Fat 22 g; (Sat Fat 5 g, Mono Fat 13 g, Poly Fat 2 g) ; Protein 6 g; Carb 18 g; Fiber 7.5 g; Cholesterol 17 mg; Sodium 230 mg
Excellent source of: Fiber, Vitamin A, Riboflavin, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, Folate, Manganese, Potassium
Good source of: Protein, Thiamin, Vitamin K, Calcium, Copper, Magnesium, Phosphorus